Ti’ Punch


 Ti’ punch is a staple drink served throughout the French portion of the West Indies, which is quite simply rather similar to that of a Daiquiri or Caipirinha.

A favorite of the Minister of Rum, Ed Hamilton, the petit punch is a fantastic quick cocktail, or rather a very a la minute and individually sized punch.  Made of lime, sugar, and rum, it resembles both a Daiquiri and a Caipirinha, yet, the between those two, the cocktail is more similar to a Caipirinha, specifically because of the type of rum which is utilized in a Ti’ Punch.  A petit punch, as a drink from the French West Indies, calls for the French rum, or rhum agricole, which differs from the other versions made by the English and Spanish since it does not use molasses in the distillation process, but rather sugarcane distillate, a substance that would make rhum agricole much more similar to the cachaça of Brazil (Curtis 268). 

Since the only prerequisite to making a Ti’ punch is the use of rhum agricole, the cocktail can be varied in quite a number of ways, especially based upon the preference of the imbiber.  Oftentimes made in home for private consumption, it is a quick way to create a short drink that polishes off and rounds out the generally strong and in some cases, harsh, notes of the rhum agricole through the use of sweet and sour flavors.  The use of sweet, sour, as well as strong, is in many ways reminiscent of the overall recipe of punch; in the case of the Ti’ punch, all that is missing is the weak, which in many cases is the water contributed by the melting ice commonly added to the drink.

The version of the Ti’ Punch known among the natives who consume it is dubbed chacun prépare sa propre mort, or each prepares his own death, in which the ingredients are set forth an the imbiber prepares it to their own specifications and maximum pleasure.  Oftentimes, this style of presentation is before a meal, in order to create a short aperitif, in order to stimulate the appetite.  In many cases, native imbibers drink the cocktail without ice; the use of ice, or not, is really a personal choice, and in one case it very well creates a short aperitif, a bracer of sorts, while in the other, the drink can be served as a sipping drink.  In the case of the lime, in many cases, the lime used to flavor the drink comes from a slice of lime that includes the pith and peel, and is oftentimes dropped into the drink, provided the imbiber desires it that way.

As is the case of the drink, preparing it allows you to work with many types of rhum agricoles: the choice between aged or blanc, is one that befits the creator and ultimately the consumer of the drink.  The change of the rhum agricole ultimately defines the drink in different ways, providing less or more harshness, more rounded notes or other aromas that contribute ultimately to the flavor and ethos of teh cocktail.

Many cocktails are in their ways a short version of a classic punch: the sour as a whole is a category that befits the overall old school classification of Punch.  A sour is generally an individually sized punch, as are many cocktails, seeing as how each consists of the ingredients of sweet, sour, strong and weak, through the use of a citrus, sweetener, spirit and quite often water (created through the dilution of chilling).  A Ti’ Punch is just one example of such a miniaturized version of punch, but is not the only version, and in many cases is just one expression of a style of drink that floods the bars and liquor houses throughout the world.

Ti’ Punch:

2 ounces rhum agricole
Wedge of lime
Simple or cane syrup

In a glass, add a cub of ice, if a chilled punch is desired; otherwise, combine the rhum agricole and with lime juice and cane syrup, both to taste, and stir briefly.  Add the squeezed lime wedge if desired.