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Behind The Bar: Punches

Large-format drinks like punches are a great way to serve a big crowd.

A classic punch recipe includes strong, weak, sour, sweet, and bitter components.


Bar Business Magazine

in Providence, RI. It is a huge event where restaurants, bars, farms, and people all gather together to celebrate what makes our state great. When we were deciding what cocktails we would feature, an obvious choice was to make a punch. I always like to challenge people to come out of their comfort zone a bit, and so we decided to go with a gin-based punch, which would give people an entryway into gin and would make it much more palatable for them. We infused the gin with some passionfruit tea, added some lemon juice, a rich basil simple syrup, Aperol (an Italian bitter liqueur made from an infusion of selected herbs and roots), as well as a locally made sparkling white wine similar to Prosecco. The results were everything that we had hoped for, and they ticked off all of the boxes of a classic punch recipe. Those components are strong, weak, sour, sweet, and bitter. The strong in this case would be the passionfruit tea-infused gin. The weak is the Aperol, which also helps cover the bitter. Sour is from the fresh-pressed lemon juice. The sweetness comes from the rich basil simple syrup and sparkling white wine. The feedback that we received was tremendous. People who swore they would never drink gin were asking for the recipe and technique so that they

could make it at home or for their next party. Also, people who were gin drinkers were able to appreciate the subtle flavors of the punch. Check out our recipe for yourself on the next page, which will fill one standard size punch bowl. To give you options, we figured we should also bring in some experts in the art of punch making, and there is no better place to go to than our friends over at Punch House in Chicago, Illinois. Located in the basement of historic Thalia Hall on W. 18th Street, they have been cranking out rifts on classic punches for some time now. Founder Will Duncan definitely has his staff focused on the five tenants of a good punch, and they skillfully incorporate each of those elements into the venue’s cocktail menu. Punch House has a mid-century modern, wood-paneled aesthetic that is accented by retro pendant lamps and furniture out of a 1960’s finished basement. Will was kind enough to send us over one of his favorite punch recipes currently being featured on their menu. Space Juice is a delightful blend of Blanco Tequila, Luxardo bitter liqueur, sparkling wine, black pepper tea, fresh grapefruit juice, and sage for an aromatic garnish. This recipe was influenced by some of the opening staff of Punch House and refined

August 2018

Photo: Shutterstock/ nd3000.

Punch dates all the way back to the 17th Century.

Profile for Bar Business Magazine

Bar Business August 2018