Latin Twist: Planter’s Punch


We’ve all been looking for spring this year…maybe more than most. Well, mis queridos amigos, it’s here! And what better way to celebrate than with fabulous food and colorful cocktails? On this sunny Sunday, I’m sharing a recipe for a dark rum and pineapple sip, an old-time classic, Planter’s Punch.

According to legend, this is a Jamaican-born drink. Though I don’t think I enjoyed it in the West Indies, I have served it, along with one of my favorites, Jamaican Banana Fritters (recipe to come!) and dreamed of a being.

Tropical and breezy, one sip of  Planter’s Punch will transport you to the Caribbean. ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!

Planters Punch
Planter’s Punch
From Calypso Coolers, Arlen Gargagliano © 2006,
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
Photograph by Ellie Miller


Peanut and Lime Chicken Curry

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

A soulful nourishing pot of shredded chicken, black beans and vegetables in a deeply flavored peanut and coconut sauce.


  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 2 medium sized onions, diced
  • 11/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 3 pods of garlic, minced
  • 3 pounds of skinless bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons soy or fish sauce
  • 11/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • 11/2 cups (about 1 15 oz can) of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cups water
  • ½ cup of pre-soaked black beans
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup of chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup of chopped cilantro


  1. Heat the oil in the base of a pressure cooker and add in the onions and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add in the ginger and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.
  2. Add in the chicken and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the soy or fish sauce,sugar and the red cayenne pepper and mix well.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk, peanut butter, water and the black beans cover and cook under pressure for about 20 minutes.
  5. Cool and remove the lid, remove the bones from the chicken and return the shredded chicken to the stew and stir well.
  6. Add in the mushrooms and the red bell pepper to the stew and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly.
  7. Stir in the lime juice and stir in the basil and the chopped cilantro and serve.

Serves 2

Ice cubes4 ounces dark rum (I’m a big Meyers fan…but Mount Gay is nice with this one!)

5 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice1 ounce fresh lime juice

2 dashes grenadine
superfine sugar, to taste
club soda
Cherries (for garnish)

In a shaker filled with ice, combine the rum, the juice, and the grenadine. Shake briskly. Pour without straining into two glasses. Top with club soda, garnish with the cherries and serve.


About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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