Punch on the Road touched down recently in California for the first leg of the US West Coast edition.
Watch the highlights from the trip in our video above.
The team from The London EDITION's Punch Room (Davide Segat, Lance Perkins, Andy Shannon) and the good folk from Brown-Forman (Nidal Ramini and Tom Vernon) were in the US to deliver a series of inspirational bartender education seminars and bar takeovers as part of their collaborative knowledge sharing program... Punch on the Road.
Established two years ago as a way to take the work of the award winning Punch Room team to other bars around the world, much of its original concept can be attributed to the creative influence of Rebekkah Dooley, (formerly Punch Room and now at the Dead Rabbit). Over time it's evolved from a simple guest bartender shift which showcased the variety of Punch serves found on the menu at the Punch Room, to a multi-faceted city visit incorporating both an education session and a bar takeover. The team have already made a mark on the US East Coast, Spain, Germany and Scandinavia - the US West Coast edition would see them run sessions with bartenders in LA, San Francisco and the home of Woodford Reserve, Louisville.
The Punch on the Road seminar journeys through a history of Punch, from its time as the original mixed drink, to the sophisticated and thoughtful modern day Punch and communal serve rituals. While sharing a few fine examples of the drink (recipes below) Davide and Andy also shared some insights into the Punch Room menu concept and service ethos for those looking to emulate the Punch experience for their own guests.
It's a concept supported by Brown-Forman who saw potential for a partnership early on. As Nidal Ramini (Head of Advocacy at Brown-Forman) explains "The Brown-Forman Advocacy ethos is all about supporting who we call "The Modern Bartender" - and the Modern Bartender isn't just the guy or girl at the top of the tree, we define this person as someone who takes what they do seriously and wants to grow with the industry. We want to help these guys to achieve their goals and to take that next step on their career journey. For Punch on the Road, the Punch Room team are looking to grow global awareness of their brand as well as championing the Punch category, that's the next step of their journey and therefore it perfectly fits in with our overall Advocacy ethos."
Woodford Reserve was the chosen partner brand as it has a strong alignment to the Punch Room and their style of drinks. Global Brand Ambassador, Tom Vernon, describes it as an ideal partner thanks to its similarities in complexity, flavour profile and versatility to the drinks to be enjoyed at the Punch Room. However, other than Woodford being the predominant spirit on the menu there's not an obvious brand presence, despite the financial and logistical support provided behind the scenes. Nidal explains "People love the fact that we're spending time and money on giving them the chance to learn and be inspired by people like Davide and Andy without pushing the brand down their throats. We have done a bit of research recently, we wanted to know what the industry thought about us as a brand and we kept hearing that "Woodford is clearly a brand that cares about bartenders". I LOVE that! We have always strived to support the industry, that's how we've grown the brand and how how we will continue grow it."
So, the collaboration between the Punch Room and Brown-Forman looks set to grow. Punch on the Road will be back on tour again soon with plans to go to key cities in the UK as well as new markets in South America such as Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. We'll be letting you know when dates get released!
The London EDITION's Punch Room
Glass: Punch bowl
Garnish: Edible flowers and pineapple leaf
Method: Add first 12 ingredients (all but boiling water and milk) to a pan. Add the boiling water, cover and let rest for at least 6 hours. On the side simmer the milk. It's very important the milk is hot at this point as the protein in the milk (usually they repel each other but the increased acidity of the 'punch base' allows them to attract each other and curdle when warm they move 'around' faster and it becomes easier to achieve).
Add the milk to the rested batch and let it curdle. It doesn't look good or appetising but it's worth it. Filter through a super-bag to eliminate most of the solids. Refrigerate and then filter it with a coffee filter, if possible twice. It's now ready to be served, store it in a glass bottle and keep it in the fridge.
Following recipe makes a batch 5 litres (34 drinks)
600 gram Pineapple
20 Coriander seeds
20 Angelica spice
1 Star Anis
400 ml Lemon sherbet*
300 ml Batavia Arrack
300 ml Applejack
400 ml Woodford Reserve
200 ml Raretea Green Tea
50 ml Lemon juice
800 ml Boiling water
800 ml Full fat milk
*To make Lemon sherbet = 200g of lemon zest, 1KG of caster white sugar, 1 litre of lemon juice. Carefully put the lemon zests in a vacuum pack with the sugar and let them infuse for 6 hours. At that point add the lemon juice and strain the zest out. Keep it in the fridge.
Glass: Punch bowl
Garnish: Redcurrant & nutmeg
35ml Woodford Reserve
25ml Pineapple Juice
25ml Lemon + Vanilla Sherbet*
5 Drops Ambergris
15ml Lemon Juice
* To make the Lemon + Vanilla sherbet = 100g of lemon zest, 4 vanilla pod 2kg of caster white sugar, 1 litre of lemon juice. Carefully put the lemon zests and vanilla pod in a vacuum pack with the sugar and let them infuse for 6 hours. At that point add the lemon juice and strain the zest out. Keep it in the fridge.
Punch a la Diable
Glass: Punch bowl
Garnish: Grated tonka beans
50ml Woodford Reserve
50ml Edition Blend
3 dash 3 Chilli Bitter*
20ml Orange Sherbet*
3 dash saline solution*
15 ml lemon juice
* To make saline solution = 6g of rock salt & 100ml still water
* To make chilli bitter = 1 habanero, 2 thai chilli, 2 jalapeno pepper & 500ml evergreen
* To make orange sherbet = 200g of orange zest, 1kg of caster white sugar, 1 litre of orange juice. Carefully put the orange zests in a vacuum pack with the sugar and let them infuse for 6 hours. At that point add the lemon juice and strain the zest out. Keep it in the fridge.
Glass: Punch bowl
Garnish: Nutmeg, fresh lemon wheels dehyrated, orange wheels
20ml Woodford Reserve
20ml LBV port
60ml Oolong Sunset tea
20ml Capillaire syrup*
15ml Lemon sherbet
15ml Orange sherbet
15ml Lemon juice
*To make capillaire syrup = 100ml Dry Curacao, 100ml water, 500ml sugar syrup. Add ingredients to a pan, heat and stir gently until the sugar dissolves.