If you’ve seen (or like me, binged) everything Gilmore Girlsthere’s the recurring theme of Miss Patty’s “Founder’s Day Punch,” a concoction that packs a big punch for the citizens of Stars Hollow.
Served at events ranging from bacchanalian frat and sorority parties to quiet family gatherings, punches are classically served in a bowl with a ladle to dredge libations, ice and pieces of fruit in plastic cups Solo stadium reds.
“A real punch is about the community, getting together and drinking at the same time,” said MOMO bar manager Ricky Dunn.
Dunn knows a thing or two about punches, as concoctions have always been in his plans since opening and curating the cocktail program at MOMO.
On the second floor of MOMO, also known as Dunn’s “drinks lab,” the space is typically used more for dining experiences and crazier cocktails like the Caprese Martini, made with Tito’s vodka washed down with the burrata, a white balsamic shrub with tomato, basil and a rim of olive oil and salt. But it’s also where Dunn plans his punch bowls for private events, from bachelorette parties to birthday parties. A future happy hour punch bowl is also on the mind, for those who want to enjoy waterfront views on the terrace with a handful of friends.
Traditionally, spiked punch bowls, especially the lowbrow versions found at college parties, are a mixture of vodka or Mad Dog 20/20 (or, in my experience, Four Loko) mixed with a few liters of fruit juice or Sprite.
To create something a little more sophisticated, use quality juices, fresh fruit like blueberries or strawberries, or fruit puree to really pack a sweet and sour flavor. Add a few mint leaves to further brighten up the bowl with flair and flavor. When it comes to alcohol, Dunn says it’s actually important not to overindulge.
“Usually with a punch, you want to keep it light,” he said. “You want to go with rum, gin, vodka or tequila. Bourbon punches aren’t bad, but they’re not for everyone. Vodka is just nice and easy to start with. »
Of course, punches don’t necessarily need alcohol. For the teetotalers among us, southern life prepare a guide to refreshing non-alcoholic punches to serve at those small family gatherings or religious functions. They include cherry lemonade fizzies with lemon-lime soda, lime juice, and grenadine; fizzy punches with chilled pink lemonade or cranberry juice and club soda. Even something as simple as a lemonade iced tea can liven up the party.
city paper Editor-in-chief Chris Dixon grew up with this kind of non-alcoholic punches at meetings and after-church buffets from southern Georgia to South Carolina. “My grandmother had a very specific recipe,” he said. “I remember her stirring a big bowl of Hawaiian punch, ginger ale and pineapple juice. Then she would sometimes add green food coloring to make it exotic. It was actually delicious. I don’t remember not that my Southern Baptist relatives spiked the bowl, though I’m sure a few hip flasks did the job for the individual Dixie Cups Just because the punch wasn’t alcoholic doesn’t mean people l ‘were.
“There’s so much more to do and so many different ways to make a punch taste great,” Dunn said. One of his suggested methods is to infuse a variety of flavored liquors into the mix, such as the jalapeño-infused tequila that MOMO uses internally for spicy margaritas, or a fruit-infused liquor like 6 O’Clock Damson or Sloe Gin. . These lend a natural, rich acidity to the punch.
If you’re not using an infused or flavored liqueur, Dunn said, start with something really concentrated in flavor. “One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was, ‘The first thing you put in a recipe is the last thing you’ll taste,'” he said, suggesting a flavorful fruit puree to give the right background.
Shrubs and bitters are good too, he added. “They add another level of flavor and depth, especially when it comes to smells. The sense of smell is very, very important.
You can’t talk about punch in Charleston without mentioning longtime fan-favorite punches at Royal American on Morrison Drive and their brand new Bounty Bar on Folly Beach. The bars bear three different hallmarks: a bourbon hallmark, which owner John Kenney describes as an Arnold Palmer; a Kool-Aid lemon-lime and pineapple flavored vodka punch; and the rum punch, meant to make you feel like you’ve traveled to the Bahamas.
“I used to spend a lot of time in the mid to late 90s on a little island in Abaco called Hope Town,” Kenney said. “I would go there three or four times a year for a month or two at a time and there was this little rum punch shack and I really fell in love with it. So I got the recipe from them and thought, “If I ever got into the bar business –” which wasn’t my plan at the time – “that I would feature this punch at the rum”. ”
At the new Bounty Bar, former tenants Wiki Wiki Sandbar and Taco Boy had left behind an ice-cold drink machine. Instead of throwing it away, Kenney and his team did the next best thing to bring the beach vibe: freeze the shots! Thus, the three punches are available frozen at the Bounty Bar. And of course they come in a stadium cut.
Help City Paper continue to deliver excellence
Winner of the 2021 State Journalism Top Honors (Best Editorial and Best Cartoon), the Charleston City Paper brings you the best of Charleston every day. Support our fearless journalism with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.