Another rum distillery we visited in Martinique was Rhum JM. Located on the very northern end of the island, Rhum JM does not see as many visitors as the other distilleries.
Rhum JM’s operation did not seem as advanced, nor its capacity as large as some of the other distilleries on the island such as St. James, which we also visited.
When we arrived the first thing we noticed was the smell. Whatever they were pumping into that pond was bad, really bad. We hurried into their air conditioned and smell proof museum/tasting room. All of the signage on the displays was in French and tours were not available. So, that only left tasting.
In French with limited English, our hostess recommended we try the national drink of Martinique, a Ti Punch, pronounced “tea pauncchh.” Ti Punch is short for “Petit Punch,” meaning a “small punch.” Because the drink is strongly alcoholic, I question whether they are talking about its size or effect.
“Chacun prepare sa proper”
(Each prepares his own death)
Traditionally, instead of serving a mixed drink the bartender or host will place out the ingredients, and everyone will prepare the drink to his or her own taste. Let’s begin.
Pour a small amount (about 2 tablespoons) of cane syrup into a small tumbler. Sugar can be used, but the syrup makes for a better drink.
Two ounces of rhum agricole are added to the glass. Rhum agricole is rum made from squeezed sugar cane instead of molasses. White rum is traditional, but many of us less indoctrinated prefer rum that has been aged a little. White rum can be a bit rough around the edges.
Roll a fresh lime around on a hard surface to release the juice, cut in half and squeeze into the glass.
Next, using your “Bois Lele,” a multipronged swizzle stick, mix the ingredients. Using a spoon is not acceptable.
Traditionally, Ti Punch is consumed neat (sans ice), but we Americans have to have ice in everything.
This posting dedicated to Rahel, a true Ti Punch aficionado.