Pasadena: Drinks at Punch
A party happens every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Pasadena. Located around the back and upstairs from the new Picnik is Punch. The not-so-secret but reservations-recommended bar features boozy punches. Robin and Darwin are your bartenders. They also run the bar at Corazon y Miel and were excited about their side project. Darwin told me he didn’t think there was another punch bar like theirs.
What is punch? We’re not talking about the stuff you used to drink in elementary school. True cocktails are spirits-forward. Punch is entirely balanced between the spirits/liqueurs, citrus and sweet elements.
My friends and I decided to try all four punches available that evening. My favorite was the Royal Vice City with both gin and pisco. I loved the slight spice from the pink peppercorn. And I am a big fan of grapefruit. It is my favorite citrus. Don’t be afraid of caster sugar. That’s just super fine sugar that melts quickly in drinks. Our other favorite that night was the Ponche la Diosa. The mezcal and tequila (bold!) punch also featured Italian amaro, Cardamaro as well as lavender hibiscus tea.
Caribbean Rhapsody – rum, dark rum, rhum agricole, triple sec, pineapple, orange, lime, lemon, brown sugar, mint, nutmeg, soda
Royal Vice City – gin, pisco, pink grapefruit cordial, cucumber, lemon, caster sugar, sweet basil, pink peppercorn
Tea with Lola – applejack, cognac, Chardonnay, ginger black tea, lemon, orange, brown sugar, cinnamon, mint
Ponche la Diosa – Ilegal mezcal, reposado tequila, Cardamaro, lavender hibiscus tea, blackberry, lemon, caster sugar, citrus zest, lime
You’re encouraged to order from the server but are allowed to gather around the small bar to watch the magic.
While the focus is on punch, there are a few cocktails. Or try spirits neat or on the rocks. The smoked El Bombero is a showy number and perfect for those who enjoy boozy drinks.
El Bombero – mezcal joven, Cherry Herring, French vermouth, cinnamon smoke
Another great sipper is the Mucho Gusto with tequila. This was my favorite of the drinks we tried.
Mucho Gusto – anejo tequila, Cocchi Americano, Breckenridge bitters
The Domo was my next favorite of the cocktails. I love China China Amer, a close approximation of the Amer Picon, an orange flavored liqueur.
The Domo – cognac, China China Amer, sherry, orange bitters
Whether you go for punch, cocktails or just neat spirits, Old Town Pasadena needed a bar like this.
Punch168 W Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105 — (626) 639-8169 © The Minty 2014
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