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Ti Punch


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#1 slkinsey

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 08:04 AM

Looking for something new? Try a Ti Punch. I'm sure Ed Hamilton will have something to add with respect to the history and provenance of this drink, but it couldn't be more simple or more delicious. All it takes is a quarter-sized puddle of sugar cane syrup*, a few ounces of white rhum agricole and a half-dollar sized slice of lime peel off the side of a lime (which will have a tiny bit of fruit on the back side). Mix in a rocks glass and fill with crushed ice. As the ice melts, the wonderful flavor of the rhum agricole, lime and cane syrup evolves, becoming more delicious and refreshing with every sip.

* Sugar cane syrup is easily made by making a very rich simple syrup with dehydrated sugar cane juice from the health food store.

A great rhum drink for the summer, and a lot less fuss than making a mojito. Here's a picture of some Ti Punch we made a few days ago. The rhum agricole is La Favorite, my favorite among the several Ed is bringing into the country from Martinique. It's 100 proof, full of flavor and a bargain at around $30 a liter.

Posted Image


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#2 bergerka

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 11:55 AM

Hate to do a "me too" post, but I just have to agree wholeheartedly - this is the best hot-weather drink I've had yet. Very cooling and refreshing.

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#3 Jason Perlow

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 12:15 PM

They key to this drink is getting the Sirop de Canne to have with the Rhum Agricole. If you can't find Sirop de Canne (the two prominent Antillean brands are Dormoy and Clement) or the stuff from the health food store that Sam mentions, use Sugar in the Raw (or any raw turbinado) instead. Its not the exact same taste, but I had it that way on St. Martin in a number of bars and I found it just as enjoyable.

In addition to white rhum agricole I also like to make it with Rhum Vieux Agricole (aged agricultural rum).

Rhum Agricole is essential for the flavor of the drink. You can certainly make it with regular white industrial rum with regular white sugar, but at that point, it essentially becomes a Caipirinha.
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#4 trillium

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 02:40 PM

So if one lives in a state still in the dark ages when it comes to alcohol consumption and one wanted to mail order some rhum agricole, what and where would be the best bet?

regards,
trillium

#5 Jason Perlow

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 03:07 PM

Sam's Wine, in Chicago mail orders.

http://www.samswine....px?SKU=10029279
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#6 BTR

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 04:31 PM

What's the difference between white rhum agricole and ordinary white rum (and should there be an "h" there too)? I gather that ordinary white rum isn't suitable for this drink, but can the rhum agricole be used in drinks for which "ordinary" rum is appropriate? Or is the flavor significantly different?

#7 Jason Perlow

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 04:40 PM

Rhum Agricole, or Agricultural Rum, tastes very different from Industrial rum (Rhum Industriel) because it is made from fermented cane juice rather than the fermentation of molasses, which is a byproduct of sugar refining and is how 90 percent of most rums are made. Thus Rhum Agricole has a very fermented "caney" kind of flavor.

It's spelled "Rhum" because most agricultural rum is produced on the French East Indies island of Martinique, and thus has a French spelling. Some is also produced on Guadeloupe.

You definitely should not try to make regular rum drinks with white rum agricole or rhum vieux for that matter. I once tried to make a Mojito with it and it was pretty disgusting. Ti Punch is pretty much the single application for Rhum Agricole Blanc, although if you add grapefruit and orange juice it becomes a "Island Planter"

When Rhum Agricole Blanc is left to age in the barrel (which are used Cognac or Armagnac barrels) from anywhere from 3 to 20 years, you get Rhum Vieux. Rhum Vieux is pretty much drank neat or with a teeny bit of water added to release the flavors, like you do with a fine whiskey.

http://www.caribbean...humagricole.htm
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#8 slkinsey

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 05:11 PM

So if one lives in a state still in the dark ages when it comes to alcohol consumption and one wanted to mail order some rhum agricole, what and where would be the best bet?

I think Ed's rhums are finding their way over to the West Coast, or to California at least.

If you can't find any rhum agricole blanc, Barbancourt white from Haiti has many rhum agricole-like qualities and much better availability.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#9 Jason Perlow

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 05:16 PM

Barbancourt doesn't "taste" like Rhum Agricole, though.

The White Rhum St. James, which has fairly decent US distribution, can be used for a Ti Punch.
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#10 bigbear

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 06:27 PM

How does the Caipirinha's alcohol ingredient, Cachaca, get classified in here? Is it something completely different? What about Aguardiente?

-- Jeff

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#11 Jason Perlow

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 09:50 AM

Cachaca is also a cane spirit similar to rum.
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#12 slkinsey

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 11:01 AM

How does the Caipirinha's alcohol ingredient, Cachaca, get classified in here? Is it something completely different? What about Aguardiente?

It's hard to say what the difference is, exactly, other than style of fermentation and distillation.

Despite what importers and makers may want you to believe, cachaça, strictly speaking, is rum. After all, what is "rum?" Rum is a distilled spirit derived from sugar cane. It is most often made from molasses, a by-product of the sugar refining process, but is also made from sugar cane juice. The rum that is made from sugar cane juice in the French-speaking Caribbean islands is called "rhum agricole" (agricultural rum). The rum that is made from sugar cane juice in Brazil is called "Aguardiente." To my taste, cachaça and rhum agricole have different characteristic qualities that distinguish them, most likely due to different production methods and goals. Then again, Jamacian rum is different from Cuban rum -- but they're still both rum.

Aguardiente is a little more complicated. The word means simply "firey water" and it is apparently made and understood differently depending on where it is made. In Mexico it can include agave, and in Columbia it is flavored with anise, etc. In the case where it is made from sugar cane, and possibly flavored, it would seem appropriate to call it rum or flavored rum. If the wash contains agave or other fermentables, I'm not sure it would be entirely accurate to call it rum.

For sure there is no substituting aguardiente, cachaça and rhum agricole for one another. Strangely, I've found that the closest thing to cachaça in flavor is a rough pisco, which is made from an entirely different fermentable (grapes).
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#13 trillium

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 11:37 AM

So if one lives in a state still in the dark ages when it comes to alcohol consumption and one wanted to mail order some rhum agricole, what and where would be the best bet?

I think Ed's rhums are finding their way over to the West Coast, or to California at least.

If you can't find any rhum agricole blanc, Barbancourt white from Haiti has many rhum agricole-like qualities and much better availability.

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There's Washington, Oregon and California. Of the three, only Cali is enlightened enough to let you buy your booze where ever you want, and you can pretty much choose from what ever gets imported to the US. OR and WA still like to tell people what they can drink and where they can buy it. At least in WA you can special order stuff, but not here! It could be a local demand thing too I guess, when I asked about Italian bitters at one place they pointed out the Amaretto to me! Noilly Pratt is just now showing up in some stores, and they want $12 a bottle for it! That's why I mail order from Sam's Wine most of the time. Last time I checked they didn't have any rhum agricole, so I'm happy to see they do now.

regards,
trillium

#14 slkinsey

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 01:39 PM

Hey, if the establishment in Oregon won't provide the people with freedom of booze, I say stick it to the Man and order from out of state!
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#15 ned

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 02:54 PM

I wonder if 10 Cane Rum from Trinidad is actually a rhum agricole? Here's a little info about it that doesn't answer the question.

http://www.hardbeatn.....e=Top Stories

Regardless, it is pretty tasty. Very light in color, unctuous.
You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

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#16 bigbear

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 04:56 PM

I wonder if 10 Cane Rum from Trinidad is actually a rhum agricole?....

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I just picked up a bottle of 10 Cane and a box of Rapaduro "organic, whole, unrefined, evaporated sugar cane juice" for this weekend. The rum bottle says that it is double distilled from the first pressing of virigin cane. It doesn't mention aging.

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#17 slkinsey

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 06:01 PM

Ten Cane is very good, and has some rhum agricole character (although, for my money, La Favorite is better and has a more assertive "agricole-ness" to it). Ten Cane makes a damn good drink, I know that. For the money, though, Favorite or Niesson are my choices -- higher proof and lower cost.
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#18 ned

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 08:24 PM

Here's a thread on 10 Cane from just next door:
http://forums.egulle...showtopic=66221
You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

#19 Ed Hamilton

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 06:22 PM

Ten Cane isn't considered rum agricole because even though the label says distilled from sugar cane juice, it is double distilled to a high proof.
On the other hand the French islands have a very strict protocol for making what can be called Rhum Agricole and recognize the distiller's efforts with an Appelation d'Origine Controllee seal.
Among other things, only about five of the nine species of sugar cane grown on Martinique can be used to make AOC rhum agricole. Distillation can only be about 70% and only freshly squeezed sugar cane juice can be used for fermentation.

Cachaca on the other hand is generally distilled to less than 50% alcohol from sugar cane juice and contains more congeners than rhum agricole. There is a lot of work being done to try and settle on some standards to raise the quality of the cachaca being distilled in Brazil, but this may take some time. I don't think anyone would be offended, except the French distillers, if you called cachaca rhum agricole, since it is made from fresh sugar cane juice, but the only AOC rhum agricoles come from the French Caribbean and South Pacific islands. French Guyana also produces rhum agricole but those rhums are considerably different from what is distilled further north.
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#20 mbanu

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 08:20 PM

We've got Cachaça down here, but sadly no Rhum Agricole. :) I'd be interested in doing a side by side taste test.

Edited by mbanu, 04 July 2005 - 08:31 PM.


#21 Ajl92

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 06:43 PM

Looking for something new?  Try a Ti Punch.  ...  Mix in a rocks glass and fill with crushed ice.  As the ice melts, the wonderful flavor of the rhum agricole, lime and cane syrup evolves, becoming more delicious and refreshing with every sip.

-snip-

I will begin by agreeing that Ti Punch on ice is a great drink, but I do have one question. While in Paris this past month I saw Ti Punch available at a couple of places and tried it twice, and neither time did it include ice; this definitely changes the refreshing dynamic of the drink. The first time I had it, I had ordered a Caiparhina and a friend ordered Ti Punch, and was surprised to have received it without ice; I had a taste, it was good but without ice I found it a little rough. At another bar I ordered it again, but this time it was a clear gomme sirop instead of the demarera sirop, but still no ice. From a quick google search, the recipes I have found (all in french) make no mention of glacons (ice). I definitely agree that the addition of ice would make this a terrific, refreshing drink, but what do all of you think, would you enjoy this as a straight up, unchilled mix of sugar, lime and rhum?

cheers

#22 Ed Hamilton

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 03:54 PM

You're right Ajl92, the French don't often include ice in a ti punch, unless you ask. Some French West Indians consider the addition of ice to be sacrilege but ice is becoming more accepted, especially as ice is becoming more available in the islands, though even traditionalists will add a little water to this strong drink, or have a glass of water on the side.
It should also be noted that in Martinique, many people drink rhum which is 110 proof, 55% abv. I add ice to a ti punch on my boat in the islands, until my daily supply runs out, and invariably my French friends will ask for ice when visiting my bar at the end of another day in paradise.
It is easy to dilute this drink too much with ice, but since we are starting with a 100 proof spirit and not adding a lot of other dilutants, a little ice certainly will allow you to enjoy a ti punch a little longer.
Sunday I'll be at Bistro 60 in New York where ti punches made with La Favorite will be offered. If you are in the area, stop by and introduce yourself.
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#23 KOK

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 06:52 AM

Are there great differences between the La Favorite and Neisson Rhum Agricole Blancs?

I was going to order a bottle of the La Favorite ($27.99/Litre from Sam's Wines) but they (Sam's) don't ship to Maryland or Virginia. By the time I squared away a Wash., D.C. address with a friend, the La Favorite was no longer showing and I ordered the Neisson ($30.49/Litre) from Sam's.

I'm picking up the bottle this weekend and look forward to trying the Ti Punch, though it seems I'll have to substitute some simple syrup made with regular sugar as I haven't been able to get any cane juice syrup yet.

Thanks very much,

Kevin
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#24 Ed Hamilton

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 08:09 AM

The most prominent difference between La Favorite and Neisson is that Neisson has more fresh sugar cane grass in the aroma and finish while the coconut and pear flavors in the La Favorite are more pronounced.

When ordering liquor from any of the online stores, if you don't see what you want, it is usually worth the time to send an email and ask if other products are available. Most stores are quick to respond and often have many products which aren't always on the website due to inventory updates which don't always accurately reflect what is at the store.
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#25 KOK

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 11:58 AM

The rhum agricole is La Favorite, my favorite among the several Ed is bringing into the country from Martinique.  It's 100 proof, full of flavor and a bargain at around $30 a liter.

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slkinsey: Have you tried Neisson's Rhum Agricole Blanc? I picked up my bottle last night and only had time for a little sip. It was very strong and firery (100 proof) and had an excellent powerful but smooth flavor. I think a little similar to the white Cane rum from New Orleans Rum.

While no two rums are alike, I'm wondering if the La Favorite is fairly similar in general taste (I did read Ed's descriptions above) to the Neisson's.

I hope to make a bona fide Ti punch this weekend.

Thanks,

Kevin
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#26 JAZ

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 12:42 PM

While no two rums are alike, I'm wondering if the La Favorite is fairly similar in general taste (I did read Ed's descriptions above) to the Neisson's.

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It's been a while since I tasted them side by side, but overall, they have a similar flavor profile. I preferred the white La Favorite slightly -- I think it was a little smoother -- but both are very good. They certainly both work well in a Ti punch.

#27 slkinsey

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 12:59 PM

slkinsey:  Have you tried Neisson's Rhum Agricole Blanc?  I picked up my bottle last night and only had time for a little sip.  It was very strong and firery (100 proof) and had an excellent powerful but smooth flavor.  I think a little similar to the white Cane rum from New Orleans Rum.

While no two rums are alike, I'm wondering if the La Favorite is fairly similar in general taste (I did read Ed's descriptions above) to the Neisson's.

I tried all of Ed's rhums in one night several months ago. For reasons you will understand, I don't have entirely clear memories of each one. There are differences, of course, but they both have that distinctive rhum agricole character, and both are 100 proof.
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#28 Pan

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 12:30 AM

[...]French Guyana also produces rhum agricole but those rhums are considerably different from what is distilled further north.

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How so, Ed?

Also, what's the derivation of the name "Ti Punch"?

I was at Bistro 60 on Sunday and discussed my reactions to the Ti Punch in this post in my foodblog. I'm no big drinker, but I've had a lot of cocktails with rum over the years, and that rhum agricole sure is different and better, as far as I'm concerned. Though it has its uses, to my palate (for whatever it's worth), garden-variety rum is a rough spirit and the rhum agricole is a fine liqueur comparable to calvados, etc. I could imagine sipping pure rhum agricole on the rocks, though it's quite strong. And as far as Ti Punch is concerned, now that I've tried it, I'm an enthusiast.

#29 the queneau

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 05:21 AM

Also, what's the derivation of the name "Ti Punch"?


Quite simply, it translates as "Lil' Punch", punch as in a generic term for a rum-based drink. The "ti" is a créole diminutive of the French "petit" - a meta-diminutive, if ewe will.

Most of the talk here has been of rums from the western French DOM-TOMs (Martinique, Guadaloupe and French Guyane). Let's not forget wee La Réunion in the Indian Ocean which also produces a vast amount of amazing rhums agricoles and where wee Queneau had the pleasure of living for 3 years. Yum.
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#30 Pan

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 02:16 PM

I envy you for having had the chance to live in La Reunion. The first summer I spent in Nice (1992), I went a few times to a classy La Reunion-style restaurant that served a unique and fantastic type of fusion cuisine.

Can you compare the taste of the rhums agricoles from La Reunion to those from the Caribbean?