Rhum Clément is a brand of rhum agricole produced in Martinique. They organise the ‘Ti Punch Cup, in which participants are required to submit a twist on the classic ‘Ti Punch. Not an easy feat, seeing that the charm of the ‘Ti Punch is in its simplicity.
The competition runs in the 10 countries, including the US and the UK. There were two final rounds in Switzerland, one for the German-speaking and one for the French-speaking part; so Switzerland is sending two participants to the global final in Martinique (9th to 14th of March 2016).
Simon Schmidlin, who works for Charles Hofer SA, the Swiss importer of Rhum Clément, explained:
The variety of creations revolving around the same drink was impressive. Funnily, German and French speaking parts of Switzerland were completely different. In the German speaking part we had various good ‘Ti Punches and only about two drinks missed the point. In the French speaking part about half of the drinks had nothing to do with the ‘Ti Punch, but they were still very, very, very good drinks. The level of for these drinks wasn’t as high as in Zurich – except for the winning three drinks, which were only 2 points apart from each other in Lausanne.
‘Ti Punch Cup: Swiss Final in Lausanne
Took place on 3rd of September 2015 in Le Barock. The winner was Cassandra Droz from L’Apothicaire Cocktail Club in Geneva. Her drink was called ‘Ti Swiss, using fresh sugar cane juice and majoram flowers.
‘Ti Punch Cup: Swiss Final in Zurich
Took place on the 2nd September 2015 in Raygrodski. There were some 12 participants, and the winner was Dirk Hany from Widder Bar. His drink was simple rhum agricole sour, using an orange liqueur as a sweetener and finished off with a red wine float.
I think the main challenge of this competition was to create something new that still shows strong links to the ‘Ti Punch. Most drinks though, in my opinion, failed to do that: raspberries, watermelons, and Mezcal were thrown at the ‘Ti Punch without much reasoning.
All the more interesting were the recipes that showed some understanding of the culture that surrounds the ‘Ti Punch and Martinique. In particular, I remember two recipes that used ingredients that grow on Martinique (like turmeric and some passion fruit relative, the sweet granadilla), which were playful but still authentic. Definitely looking forward to seeing more recipes like this at the final in Martinique.