What is Jamaican Strongback Punch?

When you think of Jamaica, you probably imagine a beautiful beach with a warm sun, where you may see yourself walking, enjoying “the good life.” But this country is also known for a variety of dishes like ackee, saltfish and jerk chicken as well as drinks, which include rum and Red Stripe beer. But if you are a local or have visited before, you may also know about the Jamaican Strongback Punch. If not, here’s where it comes from and how it is prepared.

Strongback Punch History

This drink was named to illustrate the expression “to have a strong back”, which means someone who is strong physically, mentally and can support a lot of pressure. But regarding this Jamaican punch, it also has other meanings. People say that it has an aphrodisiac effect, when someone drinks it, and that it can also cure various ailments.

It is, therefore, no surprise to see this drink being associated to sexual prowess in the bedroom for a man. In fact, the expression “strong back” in Jamaica is associated to male stereotypes, regarding one’s vitality and vigour. Some men say that drinking Strongback punch boosts stamina and helps overcome impotency. It is even believed to have restored youth in older men, as it enhanced their libidos.

There are no scientific evidences for any of these pretences, nor of its health-enhancing properties regarding ailments. However, it does taste great, and it is filled with proteins, which could explain why people think of it as an energy drink. If you are not afraid of novelty, and you are curious about Caribbean specialties, here is the recipe that will send you all the way to the island of Bob Marley.

What are the Ingredients of Jamaican Strongback Punch?

Its core is actually quite British, since it is usually starts by pouring Guinness stout into a bowl. If you want more kick and flavour, try the Foreign Extra Stout instead of the creamy variety, and use three instead of just one. As of now, this is still a conservative drink, but here comes the stranger parts:

One day before you start preparing the mixture, you will need to leave one cup of raw porridge oats, soaking into the beer. Only 24 hours later will you be able to add these elements to the brew: One can of condensed milk, one tablespoon of vanilla essence, half a tablespoon of grated nutmeg and half a pound of natural peanuts.

No, we are not going to put the mixture into an oven and cook it. This is meant to be drank… Keep going. The final piece is made of organic snack bars containing organic almond butter and tapioca syrup amongst other things.

How to Prepare the Mixture

First, you have to break the bars into pieces. You can do it by hands or using a rolling pin. This should then go into a blender where you will add the other ingredients: unsalted peanuts, condensed milk, vanilla, nutmeg with the stout and oats mix.

Start the blender and mix until the mixture becomes smooth. In the end, it should be quite similar to a milkshake, but with a little more consistency. Put it in the refrigerator to cool it or serve it over ice, if you prefer to drink it right away.

Various Alternatives

Those who don’t tolerate lactose often use the energy meal Supligen instead of condensed milk. It’s also possible to have a non-alcoholic version by adding the soft drink Malta, instead of stout beer. In the end, the mix will be sweeter but still similar in terms of flavour. And if you don’t like Malta either, you can always choose a blend of water and soursop juice. The Rastafarian community often goes for this version, as they don’t drink alcohol and prefer a plant-based diet.

You can also remove the peanuts and add spirulina or Irish Moss instead. Variations are quite frequent in the Strongback punch. In fact, it is a mixture that is brewed differently from one house to another. Some drink it like tea, others as a tonic. According to this, ingredients will vary greatly. However, it will normally contain a mixture of herbs, milky elements and a tonic part to it.

Here are the ingredients most likely to be inserted in it:

  • Irish moss
  • Okra
  • Peanut
  • Oats
  • A tonic drink: Baba Roots, Magnum, Dragon Stout, Guinness
  • A milk additive: Lasco, Supligen, condensed milk
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla
  • Rum

Once you’ll try Jamaican Strongback punch, you will never forget it. Whether you will like it or not, greatly depends upon your taste, but it might also be influenced by who prepared it and the people you are drinking it with. It will, however, leave you with an everlasting memory of the Jamaican island, which you can now recall at home, by brewing it yourself, using the ingredients and preparation found above.






Adrian F.

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