2 oz Rhum Agricole [Clement VSOP]
1/4 oz Cane Syrup [Lyle’s]
Healthy squeeze of lime
Build in a rocks glass. Stir to combine, add ice if desired. Garnish with lime coin. Recipe adapted from Esquire
So the #tikithesnowaway instagram campaign came to an end last yesterday, but I’m gonna get one last post in. As a casual Tiki drinker, I really learned a lot this month about blending rums, outlandish garnishes, and sweet old-school mugs, but it’s time to simplify things as we bid this campaign farewell.
Tiki doesn’t get much simpler than the Ti’Punch. The national drink of Martinique only has three ingredients. As long as you have a bottle of Rhum Agricole, lime and sugar, you’re good to go.
Most rums you’re likely to encounter are made from molasses, which itself is a byproduct sugar manufacturing. Rhum Agricole, however, is made from fermented sugar cane juice, and is very popular in the French West Indies. This method lends more earthy notes to the flavor profile. If a rum can capture terroir, this category will do it.
While any simple syrup will do, if you want to be ultra-traditional, you’ll need pure cane syrup. The stalks of the sugarcane themselves (the very same used to make Rhum Agricole) are smashed and their juices are cooked down low and slow to concentrate their unique sweetness. You’re more likely to see it in a bakery or baking aisle than a bar or liquor store. Lucky for me, Mrs. Muddle often gets her baking on, so there was already a bottle of Lyle’s cane syrup in the cabinet. This stuff is pretty well known among bakers.
Once you have everything, assemble in a glass and stir. Add ice if you want to dilute it a bit and make it more refreshing. You’ll find a special kind of grassy funk in the drink, thanks to the agricole. The cane syrup highlights the sweet notes in the rhum, especially if you’re using an aged one like I did. Finally, the lime cuts through everything and lends some much needed balance to the glass.
So next time you think Tiki, remember you don’t always have to subscribe to the “go big or go home” mantra many of those drinks follow. Simplicity can also capture the Tiki spirit.