Peanut Punch: The Nutty Caribbean Cocktail You Should Know

When one thinks of tropical cocktails, what generally comes to mind are alcoholic beverages that are sweet, fruity, maybe a touch spicy, and fortified with dark or light rum — or both. Winnow this down further to the cocktails of the Caribbean and what do you have? Daiquiris, mojitos, Cuba libres, and Bahama mamas, lists Forbes.

Of course, the above profile of tropical cocktails is technically correct, if a bit reductive. The flavor and complexity of these cocktails is greatly affected by the quality of spirits used, the freshness of the juices employed, and the skill of the bartender in maintaining the proper balance of flavors. 

What one generally isn't expecting in a drink from warmer climes is peanuts, much less milk, but then one would be missing out on a beverage that is enjoyed across the islands of the Caribbean.

There is no irony or misdirection in the name peanut punch; this beverage is indeed a star turn for the legume, and usually also sweetened with condensed milk or coconut milk and glucose powder, notes Delighted Cooking. But it is no monolith, as there are almost as many recipes for peanut punch as there are islands in the Caribbean.

Variations abound

Much like there isn't one chili con carne in Texas, individual islands can host multiple versions of peanut punch. For example, Jamaican Food and Drinks offers a few different preparations. Adults can enjoy peanut punch plussed up with Guinness Irish Stout, which gives cocoa notes and contributes to the creamy mouth feel, and Supligen, a vitamin-fortified meal replacement drink available in the Caribbean. Swap out the Supligen with oat milk and omit the Guinness, and children can join in the fun. Both of the recipes call for vanilla, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, condensed milk, and raw peanuts.

Trinidad is another peanut punch hotspot. We Trini Food describes how residents of Port of Spain, the capital of Trindad and Tobago, have a fierce allegiance to their favorite vendor. The recipe they offer is, at its base, similar to the Jamaican recipe above, save for the addition of banana to the blend and peanut butter over raw peanuts. Where it differs is the host of optional ingredients they suggest to customize your peanut punch. Those include spirits, bitters, ginger, cardamom, and even chia seeds or granola.

Beyond the appeal of what the above sources liken to a peanut butter milkshake, there are some other purported benefits to peanut punch. Guyana is another peanut punch capital, and Things Guyana breaks down a few claimed benefits that come with each sip. The ingredients contribute to elevated energy levels, boosted mood and memory, lowered cholesterol, and even offer aphrodisiacal qualities.