Planter’s punch: a celebration of Black History Month.

Planter’s punch: a celebration of Black History Month.

I realized the coincidence yesterday. I borrowed Toni Tipton-Martin’s Jubilee (Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking) from the library at the beginning of Black History Month.

Now there are lots of ways that I strive to be an ally. But celebrating the accomplishments of Black people through food? So perfect. All this month I’m putting aside other cookbooks and using Jubilee for inspiration. Well, except for this next week’s reddit 52 week baking challenge. The intersection between Chinese New Year and African American cooking is likely an empty set.

And the best way to start a celebration? A cocktail, of course.

My first inclination was to make a mint julep. However, mint juleps will be forever associated with a college roommate from Louisville and the Kentucky Derby. Instead, I reached for Jubilee’s Planter’s Punch.

The International Bartender’s Association (the people who know cocktails) categorizes Planter’s Punch as an “unforgettable” classic cocktail made of 1.5oz Jamaican Rum, 1oz sugar cane juice, and 0.5oz lime juice, diluted with water or ice. It dates back to at least the 1800s and seems most reasonably Jamaican in origin. But I’m no scholar on the subject.

Like most recipes, Planter’s Punch has taken on a life of its own in its travels. Most popular recipes seem to have turned it into a fruity drink – the recipe in one of my cocktail books includes pineapple, orange, and lime juices and an orange slice and cherry garnish.

Jubilee’s Planter’s Punch, though still a variation, is tamer, calling for equal amounts of rum, bourbon or whiskey, brandy, lemon juice, and simple syrup, topped off with club soda. One of these days I need to figure out how to do a twist.

Alright. Now that the glass has been raised, let’s get cooking.

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