Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What The Heck is a Tposh aka 'Ti Punch

Allow me to set the scene. I just got on duty and replaced Lady Alice behind the bar. I have Jaclyn ordering drinks for the dart league players. I have the channels set to Game One of the Devils vs. Rangers Eastern Conference Finals with blaring audio. People look like hockey players bumping and crashing into each other trying to find their best seats at the bar. And in all that chaos is a pretty woman who is going to make the most chaos for me in the early hours of my shift. I approach her and ask her what she wants. She asks for a cocktail list in her cute French accent. Before I go on, allow me to take a quick tangent.

If you know it or not, The Bleecker Street Bar can be considered to be your basic beer and shot bar. Its not to say that cocktails can't and won't be made. Far from it. But there are certain ingredients and spirits that are found in certain cocktails that we don't stock. So in certain cases it makes it difficult to make a proper cocktail. For example, a woman came in last night and asked for a Moscow Mule. We don't carry any Ginger beer so I couldn't make it for her, Plus we don't look like a cocktail bar. I feel that sometimes people need to realize where they are when they ask for a drink. What the hell do I know, maybe cocktail bars in France look just like the Bleecker Street Bar. Anyway, back to the story at hand.

So I tell her that we don't have a list but I can make her a cocktail of her choice (depending as I stated above if I have the proper ingredients). So she asked for two cocktails: A Cosmo and one that I couldn't understand. The Cosmo is no sweat but I finally was able to understand the other one as being a Tposh (sic) and that it consisted of Rum, Sugar and Limes. On a slower night I would go online and check out how to make this drink, but with the bar being busy with the Devils vs. Rangers game I couldn't justify stopping to research a drink. So I asked her how to make it. Here is how she described the process:


Muddle the Lime. Add Sugar and Remuddle. Add the rum and ice. Shake and pour in a glass.
Simple enough, right? But definitely time consuming. Apparently, I didn't make it sweet enough since the person who I made it for wanted more sugar. My teeth started to hurt thinking of how much sugar that drink had. I made about 5 of them over the course of the night. At one point the woman asked me to make it stronger. Not sure how stronger I could make it without it being a double with no ice. Its all booze with the exception of the water melted from the ice to chill the drink. Fast forward to this afternoon and the historian, researcher and all around nosy guy that I am is thinking where the hell did that drink come from. Let's take a trip to the Caribbean for that answer.

According to Matt Robold in his article 'Ti Punch from the Rumdood blogsite, the Ti Punch is the national drink of the Caribbean island of Martinique in the French Caribbean. The name comes from an abbreviated version of "petite punch" and literally means "small punch". Here is his listed recipe for the drink:

‘Ti Punch
2 oz Rhum Agricole
.25 oz Lime Juice
1 tsp cane syrup

Mix all ingredients in a glass with ice (1 or 2 cubes) and either stir or swizzle with a bois lele (aka Swizzle Stick)

‘Ti Punch (pronounced “tee paunch” or with the anglicized “tee punch” if you must) is a simple drink. The recipe I’ve provided here is not the official recipe for Ti’ Punch. That’s because there is no official recipe. The drink is casual and laid-back and supposed to be tailored to the taste of the drinker. There are no rules set in stone. A combination of rum, sugar, and lime juice, the ‘Ti Punch largely follows the blueprint of the quintessential cane spirit cocktail. PICTURE CREDIT: From the Rumdood website.

Matt also has a few variations on the recipe in terms of ingredients listed on his post and some of the comments have suggestions on how to make it, so I suggest you go check it out.

I also found an article that was published on the Esquire website called the Ti'Punch. Here is what they list as the recipe:
2 ounces Rhum Agricole
cane syrup

Glass Type: old-fashioned glass

Mix rhum agricole,* a good squeeze of lime,** and cane syrup to taste*** in an Old-Fashioned glass or smallish tumbler. Stir until the syrup is dissolved and add 1 or 2 ice cubes, if you're going to sip it.

Cane syrup, familiar to residents of the Caribbean or Deep South, can be hard to find elsewhere; about the only thing we can suggest is to try boiling up a cup of unrefined sugar -- that "Sugar in the Raw" stuff -- with 1/2 cup water. Let us know. (By the way -- Lyle's Golden Syrup, the canned stuff prized by bakers and British expats? Cane syrup.)

* White rum is traditional, but it can be on the nasty side. As profligate Americans, we use the dark, aged stuff in ours; among the brands one comes across Stateside are Neisson, La Favorite, Clement, Saint-James, J. Bally, and Kaniche.

** Roll the lime firmly on a hard surface, cut it in two, and squeeze one of the halves over the glass.

*** Anything from a teaspoon to a tablespoon; the traditional proportion is 3 to 4 parts rum to 1 part syrup, but we find this too sweet.
PICTURE CREDIT: From the Esquire website.

I don't think that I'll be having one of these anytime soon. Way too sweet for my blood. Maybe I can make it with granulated Splenda. Hmmmm....But hey, if I'm ever in the French Caribbean who knows. When in Martinique...

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla