Cesar’s Rum Punch: a 1930s era cocktail is the escape we all need right now

We’ve been going through a time. The effects of the coronavirus shutdown will be felt for a long time, in ways that we probably don’t appreciate just yet.

When it comes to how we drink, however, some drinks and some themes are eternal and likely to return.

The rise of tiki drinks came after Prohibition in the US, and on the heels of the Great Depression. The idea of escaping one’s day to day and embracing a fantasy vision of another life is what tiki really is all about.

And it’s what this drink conjures up. Cesar’s Rum Punch is a famous rum punch from way back in the day.



The Grand Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has long been a destination for writers and artists — it was once dubbed the Greenwich Village of the Tropics — and it has served as the inspiration for the Graham Greene novel, The Comedians.

Part of the Hotel Oloffson’s fame, however, is thanks to this rum punch. Created by the hotel’s bartender, Joseph Cesar in the 1930s, the exact recipe is known only at the hotel, so we’ve taken our spec from legendary tiki man Jeff Beachbum Berry.

Cesar’s Rum Punch

  • 60 ml gold rum
  • 60 ml lime juice
  • 20 ml Monin Grenadine
  • 5 ml sugar syrup
  • 3 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  1. Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice.
  2. Garnish to your heart’s content with pineapple, mint, cherry.

Adapted from a recipe by Joseph Cesar circa 1930’s in Jeff Berry’s Intoxica.