Planter’s Style: Dark Isles Punch

Alot of people I talk to, particularly those in the classic cocktail world, believe most all Tiki drinks have sprung from the daiquiri. While it’s true many did there’s one old rhyme out there that’s probably Tiki’s true grandaddy more than any daiquiri. I am of course talking about the Planter’s Punch, which is a topic I’ll be focusing on quite abit for the next month. For now lets break the basics down and give the rhyme itself which is a snippet from a letter giving advice on how to beat the island heat colonial style.


One of Sour

Two of Sweet

Three of Strong

and Four of Weak


Now as most early drinks this was probably a punch receipt meant for a large form bowl. Fresh limes to match with the plentiful sugar on Caribbean plantations. Combine with a hearty pour of kill devil and dilute it all down with water. And this is how it was in colonial days up until one ex rum runner decided to open up a bar. Donn Beach was a smart man, he knew he could add dimension. For the sour why just limes? White grapefruit, orange, lemons, and combinations of the citruses would add more flavor than just one type. Why not use spiced syrups instead of plain sugar? But the real genius was letting the ice act as his weak, particularly crushed ice for some added dilution. For more history on the Planter’s Punch and Donn Beach, check out the works of Jeff Berry, particularly Remixed.

Dark Isles Punch 1

Tiki planter’s punches usually equal out the sour and sweet, as no true tiki drink is sickly sweet. This classic drink provides the four pillars of flavor present in the greatest tiki drinks. Sour, Sweet, Spice, and Strong are necessary parts in making a layered and balanced tiki tipple. Below is one of my most balanced offerings when it comes to planters style. I first came upon it when working on the June MxMo, but decided to save it to explore the larger topic of planters punches.


In this drink the Cherry Heering, honey, and cinnamon make up the sweet, sometimes a liqueur can take over for a portion of syrup. This also features one of the more interesting rums in my collection from India, Old Monk is startling smooth and deep. More on these rums later, but if you can’t get them I recommend Blackwell’s Dark Jamaican rum to substitute.

Dark Isles Punch3

Dark Isles Planters Punch

¼ oz cinnamon syrup

¼ oz double strength honey mix

½ oz Cherry Heering

¾ oz fresh Lime

¼ oz white grapefruit

1 oz Cruzan Gold

1 oz Old Monk 7 year

1 dash Elemakule Bitters

Shake with ice and pour into a chimney glass. Garnish with a cherry and a mint sprig. Add more ice to fill.

Rusty red in color with a nose of sweet cherry, lime, dark molasses, and warming spices. The taste starts full of citrus and honey with a twang of apricots and rummy goodness. Cherries begin to fill the middle and marry with cinnamon, cloves, and more rum on the finish. This drink is a nice balance of tart and sweet with wafting hints of spice. Everything a good planter’s punch is meant to be.

Dark Isles Punch4

So join us for more fun as we explore original and classic Planter’s Punches throughout the month of July. Do you have a favorite incarnation? Tell us in the comments below. And until next time…

You Get Hammered America” – JFL

About JFL

Joey or JFL as he is known by friends is a culinary trained mixologist from the Heart of Dixie Birmingham, Alabama. From a weekly column in the St. Clair News Aegis to his own experiments online JFL never stops doing work on Tiki and Cocktails. When he's not studying all things spirit, wine, and beer he's pursuing his own odd interests such as cartoons, cheesy old horror movies, horror punk, hair metal, and hockey
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4 Responses to Planter’s Style: Dark Isles Punch

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