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Kelly Magyarics | Photo: Scott Suchman | May 1, 2014
Why sip wine or beer when you can get potables with punch? Forego your singular drink this summer for a shareable punch bowl at one of these five convivial cocktail bars.
Bar manager Jon Harris salutes the arrival of spring with his Tradewinds Punch, an homage to the time of the spice trade, when Europeans happily stumbled upon a beverage native to India—punch. He mixes IPA (which the British created to withstand long voyages to Asia and Northern Africa) and rum (used as currency at the time) with Boudier saffron gin, vanilla beans, grapefruit zest, guavas, Chinese five spice powder, lime and lemongrass, ladled out to a table of thirsty imbibers. “The whole experience is meant to be a bit exotic and tropical,” says Harris. $50 for 4 servings, 1310 New Hampshire Ave. NW, 202.861.1310
2. Eat the Rich
Punch is the perfect accompaniment to slurping freshly shucked oysters and picking crabs on newspaper-topped tables at Derek Brown’s casual Shaw hot spot. The heady Wildflower Punch, created by Head Bartender Rob Tinney, mingles Tanqueray 10 gin with grapefruit, lemon and chamomile-infused syrup. “Punch itself can be a little daunting, especially with those tiny knuckle buster cups,” admits Brown, who serves his concoction in a pitcher instead of a punch bowl. “We just wanted to have something incredibly well made with as little pretense as possible.” $38 for 4-5 servings, 1839 Seventh St. NW, 202.316.9396
3. Teddy & the Bully Bar
Roosevelt Island Punch is named for the spot in DC that’s home to a statue of the bar’s adventure-seeking namesake. The popular potable combines pisco, lime juice, jasmine and Rooibos teas, housemade pineapple gomme syrup and Peruvian bitters. Its ingredients are a nod to Teddy’s pivotal role in the Monroe Doctrine that fostered better trade relations with South America, says Bar Manager Marc Zahorchak. $48 for 2-4 servings, 1200 19th St. NW, 202.872.8700
The authentic tiki temple offers “found art, the sense of the exotic and rum,” says owner Tom Brown. Tropical tipples are served in scorpion bowls, often ignited, and garnished with lots of straws. For the Bob Marley-inspired Three Little Birds Punch, Brown mixes blanco tequila with orange liqueur, housemade Flernum, orange and lime juices, and Ting (a Jamaican grapefruit soda). $25 for 4-6 servings, 1017 Seventh St. NW, 202.393.1313
The late-night hot spot has four seasonal punches. Each features housemade syrups and locally sourced produce. For spring, try A Rosie Glow, with Bluecoat American Dry gin, green team and rose-petal syrup. Cheers! $28 for a jug, 1323 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202.524.5210