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Boat Drinks: Ti’ Punch of Martinique

The national cocktail of Martinique, Ti’ Punch (“ti” meaning the Creole word for little, as in petite),  is often served “deconstructed.On a tray of your choosing, serve these goodies to your friends:

  • a bottle of rhum agricole    
  • a bottle of sugarcane syrup
  • a bowl of limes
  • a bowl of crushed ice
  • a bois lélè swizzle stick

Then, as they cheerfully say in Martinique, “Each prepares their own death.” We prefer to prepare choose our own adventure – and this drink certainly is an adventure!

So what’s the difference between rhum and rum? Isn’t one just a pretentious spelling of our favorite tropical liquor? Turns out it’s a totally different spirit! Rum is made from molasses, but rhum agricole is made from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice. Be sure to explain this to your guests while setting out the tray. We’re sure they’ll be impressed.

Roll the limes on the table and slice them along the edge to create that limey, aromatic smell for your Ti’.  And buy authentic syrup like Petite Canne Traditional Martinique Sugar Cane Syrup. It really does make a difference.

But where do you find a bois lélè swizzlestick? Try buying one from a Martinique bartender and they’ll look at you cross-eyed: their bois léle swizzle sticks are treasured. Bois léle carvers who know where to locate the rare tree won’t tell anyone: it’s a sacred secret. You might have to go without this one if you’re mixing up this drink at home!

While natives of Martinique often concoct their own special versions Ti’, this is the official Rhum Clément Ti’ Punch recipe:

2 oz Rhum Clement Premiere Canne White Rhum Agricole
1/2 oz sugarcane syrup
1 sliver of lime
Crushed ice

In a glass, squeeze the lime sliver, then drop it in and pour the sugarcane syrup over it. Add the rhum and stir the drink until the syrup is dissolved. Add a tablespoon of crushed ice and briefly stir again to chill.

There you have it! Traditionally, you’re supposed to toss your Ti’ back in one shot. In the morning. We tend to be a little less strict with our serving times. But then again, it is five o’clock somewhere, right?