It’s my guess that most of the elaborate alcoholic punches that played such an important role at lavish social gatherings on the eighteenth-century rice plantations of the Carolina Lowcountry and on sugarcane and cotton plantations along the Mississippi River in Louisiana were imported from West Indian sugar plantations. Whatever their origin, the drink that evolved as planter’s punch may not be as popular today in and around Charleston and Georgetown, South Carolina, as it was two hundred years ago, but in New Orleans and along the stretch of old plantations called River Road from the Crescent City to Baton Rouge, you can still encounter every version of this potent libation imaginable. Typically, a cook or hostess will keep a large pitcher of fruit mixture in the refrigerator (as I often do during the summer months), ready to be spiked with rum when drinks are called for. Ideally, a planter’s punch should be made with three different styles of rum for optimal flavor (and buzz), but this is not absolutely necessary. What is obligatory (for sweetness and color) is the grenadine.
Pour 1 ounce of each type of rum into each of four tall, narrow highball glasses and fill each glass with ice cubes. In a large pitcher, combine the three fruit juices, add the grenadine, stir well, fill each glass to the top with the fruit juice mixture, and stir well.
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