Planter’s Punch can be traced back to a time when the West Indies were considered exotic, and recipes were written in verse. “Two of sour, one and a half of sweet, three of strong and four of weak,” directed one description from a 1908 article in the New York Times.
Ingredient ratios vary from account to account as does the drink’s name—it’s been known as Jamaican Rum Punch (Savoy Cocktail Book) and Creole Punch (British novelist Alec Waugh)—but it almost always contains rum, lime, sugar and water. More modern versions like the one from tiki stalwart Trader Vic might include grenadine or curaçao. Really, it’s up to the drinker when it comes to additions beyond the nursery rhyme specs, just as long as they’re added to base of good, dark Caribbean rum.