Martinique's most celebrating "national" cocktail
A delicious and simplistic cocktail – the ‘Ti Punch (pronounced Tee Paunch) is without debate the “national” cocktail of Martinique and prevalent throughout the French West Indies. “’Ti” is abbreviated Créole version for “petite”; however there is nothing tiny about this drink. It is an effortless cocktail to make as it has only a few ingredients (Rhum, lime and Sirop de Canne), but its potent and refreshingly dry grassy vegetal flavor and grilled fruit aroma make you feel like you’re drinking a multi-layered libation that is remarkable simple and fun to put together.
The recipe for ‘Ti Punch varies based on where you are in French West Indies and even which home you are visiting. Wherever this cocktail is made, and more specifically, how it is created aside; what goes unchallenged is that this cocktail can only be made properly with a true Rhum Agricole. If you dare substitute industrial rum (which is made from Molasses – a by-product of processed sugarcane rather than from freshly-pressed sugarcane juice) or a Cachaca (which is made from any variety of sugarcane, has a sharper more industrial flavor and can contain additives such as corn meal, corn flour or rice bran), you might as well be drinking fortified lime/sugar water.
- Take a lime and gently roll it on the table to soften the lime and bring the oils to the surface of the lime. Cut the lime in quarters and discard the core.
- In a rocks or old-fashioned glass, squeeze the lime disk and pour a heaping bar spoon of Sirop de Canne over the squeezed lime.
- Add Rhum Agricole and use a Bois Lélé (i.e. pronged wooden swizzle stick usually plucked from a tree native to Martinique) or a simple bar spoon to stir and gently muddle for a few seconds the lime to blend the aromatic oils from the peel until the Sirop de Canne is well integrated. If desired, add a tablespoon of crushed ice or one ice cube - but it is not traditional - and briefly stir again to chill the drink.
For an authentic flavour, try Clement rum, one of the most renowned rum distilleries in Martinique since 1887. Pair it with the newly released Sirop de Canne by Clement rum made from a time-honored family recipe by slowly reducing natural fresh pressed sugarcane juice over a low temperature with a maceration of broken rolls of cinnamon, pulverized cloves and cracked vanilla beans.
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