Thanks to New Orleans, a city know for the debauchery that is Mardi Gras and its amazing cocktail scene, we have yet another rendition of the classic planters punch. This time, we throw rum aside for some good ol’ american bourbon and a bit of french brandy. Although it differs considerably from the original punch recipe, this Mississippi Planter’s Punch is a wonderful chance to explore a tiki cocktail with an old school New Orleans twist.
Mississippi Planter’s Punch
- 1½ ounces Rum
- 1½ ounces Brandy (preferably Cognac)
- ¾ ounce Bourbon
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ ounce water
- garnish with fruit and a straw
First things first, you are going to need a lot of crushed ice. If you don’t have a machine that can do the work for you, the easiest way to crush ice is to wrap several cubes in a clean dish towel and hit them with a mallet until they are the right size. It take some time and effort, but you will eventually get a consistent size. Fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice and pour in the rum, brandy, bourbon, and lemon juice. Next add the sugar, and water (or sub in simple syrup). Shake till chilled and mixed. Pour the cocktail directly into a pint or highball glass. Do not strain. The crushed ice is part of the cocktail. Finally garnish with fruit and a straw and serve. Sip away the hours and make like it is summer with this New Orleans rendition of planter’s punch.
What Rum Should I Use in this Mississippi Planter’s?
Rum is an amazing spirit to buy cheap! Hence why I love tiki cocktails like the royal bermuda yacht club. You can get very serviceable budget rums like Castillo for as cheap as $6 a fifth. While Castillo isn’t the best rum you’ve ever had, it’s better than Bacardi Gold (and you won’t pay for the label). Castillo performs best in punches where strong flavors are present, so it is perfectly suited to be a superb choice for this planter’s punch.
Another favorite cheap rum of mine is Cruzan ($10-12 per fifth). I have never had a bad Cruzan Rum, and their aged gold rum is no exception. Another slightly more premium option is El Dorado 5 Year which will set you back about $20/fifth. While this cocktail will be great no matter what rum you choose (within reason), the more nuanced the rum the more interesting the resulting cocktail will become. Check out this list of the best and worst cheap rums and comment with your favorite budget pick!
What Brandy Should I Use in this Mississippi Planter’s?
When it comes to brandies and their more exclusive cousin, cognac, I admit to be less of an expert than most other liquors. I have tried a variety of different brandies and cognac and while price does very much make a differences, there are several cheap brandy options which offer excellent bang for the buck. Paul Masson Grand Amber VSOP is one such brandy which tallies in below $15 per fifth, yet offers excellent taste with a surprising amount of depth. Another excellent and even cheaper option is Rémy Martin St. Rémy Napoleon Brandy. At only about $10 a fifth, this french brandy is a sure favorite to set a lovely flavor profile
If you prefer cognac, I would recommend staying away from the cheaper bottles by Hennessey and Courvoisier. Those brands make superb premium cognac but overcharge based on their labels for cheaper options. Go for a less known brand like Jacques Cardin VSOP Cognac which offers excellent ratings at only $20 a fifth. A premium option to be sure, but far cheaper than most competitors. And if you want to make the most authentic sidecar you can, I suppose you do need to use cognac. But for the cost and not much of a difference in taste, I would go with a good brandy every time in this classic sidecar.
What Bourbon is the Best in this Planter’s Punch?
There are so many great bourbons at affordable prices, even with the bourbon industry booming. Evan Williams Black Label is always a great option for around $20 per handle. The notes of caramel, spice and oak perfectly compliment the flavors in this planter’s punch. There are plenty of other great cheap bourbons that are even more cost-effective. If you are making big batches for a lot of people, getting a couple handles of Old Crow or my personal cheap favorite McAfee’s Benchmark Old No. 8 is definitely the way to go to make this Mississippi planter’s punch.
Total cost per drink? ~$1.85