Long before central air conditioning, Southerners were coming up with ways to take the edge off the heat. Not surprisingly a few of these tactics included cocktails. Planter’s Punch—a classic pre-Prohibition libation typically made with dark rum, a combination of citrus and pineapple juices, and a splash of grenadine—may be the ultimate relief for a sultry day. And it’s a breeze to make.
Though the punch is rumored to have originated in Charleston, South Carolina, at the Planter’s Hotel, a nineteenth-century retreat for wealthy rice planters, cocktail historians agree it’s more likely that it was invented in the British West Indies, accounting for its rum base and tropical flavor. No matter its origins, Planter’s Punch—equal parts strong and sweet—makes the perfect antidote to a hot summer day and can be served by the glass or by the bowl. Umbrella optional.
While the Holy City can’t definitively claim the cocktail as its own, Charleston’s Peninsula Grill makes a standout version. Serving a crowd? Try a variation of the classic from Denise Gee, author of Southern Cocktails: Dixie Drinks, Party Potions, & Classic Libations, and share with friends.