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Pack A Punch

Pack A Punch

This season, serve festive, large-format offerings certain to put customers in a cheerful mood

A beautiful bowl of punch not only entices your customers with merriment, it also provides an efficient way to navigate service during the season of busy holiday banquets and gatherings.

“The origins of punch date back to a time when drinking in public was centered around an occasion; for example, a town meeting at the public house,” says Patrick Williams, national beverage director for Punch Bowl Social, whose nearly 20 locations nationwide boast a winning concoction of music, food, games and punch. “[Our] concept has always focused on bringing people together and a bowl of punch is the perfect way to do that.”

To be clear, a classic punch is strong and spirit-based, and not to be confused with the neon-hued wapatui of frat parties or wine-based sangrias. 

“Good punch is all about balancing the classic elements of punch: sweet, sour, strong and weak,” explains Williams. “It should be refreshing, delicious and keep you coming back for more.”

In his award-winning book, “Punch,” renowned cocktail historian David Wondrich writes that for some 200 years punch was “the reigning monarch of the kingdom of mixed drinks.” But do punch bowls really have a place on the modern-day craft cocktail menu? 

“Punches are great drink menu applications,” continues Williams, “ ... because as a large-format drink, it gives you the opportunity to layer multiple flavors in a way that you simply cannot in a smaller,
one-off cocktail.”

That’s not to say making a delicious punch is as easy as throwing things together in a bowl. There are important nuances to consider when it comes to dilution (“Know your ice,” Williams suggests), building complexity with homemade oleo-saccharum (Blood orange is his favorite) and keeping balance if using acidic, vinegar-based shrubs. His number one tip, however, is to start small. 

“Don’t go experimenting with a full bottle of whiskey, rum or other spirit until you’ve built a single to which you really like,” he recommends.

Photos by Amber Boutwell, Punch Bowl Social 

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