Like other Caribbean islands, Martinique is home to Rhum Agricole, which is made from locally grown sugarcane. However unlike other Caribbean islands, cane juice rums from Martinique are labeled "AOC Martinique Rhum Agricole." Similar to the European Union's "Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)," French law allows a designation called "Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC)," which translates to 'controlled destination of origination.'
This is a French designation given to all of their wines, cheeses and other agricultural products, so it's a big deal for Martinican rhum to be labeled as such. I'll explain more about Rhum Agricole later.
While there are 10 rhum distilleries on the island, there are three cocktails you must have when in Martinique.
Literally translating to 'small punch,' Ti Punch is Martinique's cocktail heavyweight champion. If you order a ti punch, be prepared to sip slow and enjoy your buzz. Whether you're looking to turn up with your friends or enjoy a night on the town with your significant other, Ti Punch will take you there...fast.
- 2 ounces of Rhum Agricole
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar cane syrup
Pour rhum agricole in an old-fashioned glass, squeeze all the juice out of the lime into the glass, and add the cane syrup to taste. This recipe makes one cocktail.
Note: Other fruits can be added in addition to the lime and sugar can be used instead of cane syrup. Be sure to add one or two ice cubes to make cold and sip.
Planteur Punch is a typical rum punch you'd find on any island, except it's made with Rhum Agricole in Martinique. While you can make it from scratch, many rhum companies also make a bottled version of Planteur Punch. It's light and makes a great cocktail for sipping.
- 1/2 liter of white rhum agricole
- 1 liter of orange juice
- 1 liter of guava juice (pineapple will also work)
- 1-2 cups of sugar cane syrup
- Other fruit as desired (pineapples, oranges, limes) to garnish
Pour all ingredients in a bowl and mix. If possible, let rest in the refrigerator for one day. After refrigeration, taste and adjust ingredients based on preferences. This recipe makes about 12 servings.
This cocktail is typically enjoyed during the holiday season in Martinique. It's a light cocktail and made with Creole Shrubb, a blend of white rhum agricole married with bitter orange peels and Creole spices.
- 1 oz. of Creole Shrubb
- 4 oz. of Brut champagne
- 1 dash of Angostura bitters
In a chilled champagne glass, add Creole Shrubb and pour the champagne to top. Then add the bitters, stir and serve. This recipe makes one cocktail.
You'll definitely taste the difference between rum and Martinican rhums. And if you order one of these cocktails during your Martinican vacation, you'll fit right in with the locals. Cheers!