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Planter's Punch

Talking of drink (acoustic booze??) and as Christmas is not too far away, here is a recipe for a traditional punch. Collected by Marion Brown from the South Carolina coast and published in her Southern Cook Book in 1951, this is a "recipe for the "original" Cape Fear punch…" for generations a guarded secret" ("Southern Food" by John Egerton, published by Alfred A Knopf, New York 1987). This punch included, "in addition to sugar and lemon juice, 1 quart of tea, 4 quarts of rye or bourbon, 1 quart of rum, and 1 quart of brandy. The mixture was aged for 30 - 90 days, and then sparkling water, champagne, and fresh oranges and lemons were added before serving."

The author adds that "the potency of that concoction is enough to suggest that the Fear in its name may have had less to do with geography than with a state of mind. The recipe is an ironically sobering reminder of how heavily our ancestors imbibed the spirits of the day"

However, there is another Southern rum drink, "less excessively overpowering" known as 'Planter's Punch', for which there are a dozen recipes going back to the early 19th. Century. This recipe for Mississippi Planter's Punch takes its inspiration from several planter classics of the past half-century.

Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar with 2 ounces of water in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Add 2 ounces of fresh lime juice, 1/2 jigger of rum, 1/2 jigger of bourbon, and 1/2 jigger of brandy. Add plenty of finely crushed or shaved ice, cover and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is heavily frosted. Pour into a tall glass.

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