National Punch Day: Where to Celebrate in LondonBy Angelica Malin
20th September marks National Punch Day, a day to celebrate American fraternity favourite and all-round party must have, punch.
Punch was believed to have been introduced by sailors to England via India in the early seventeenth century. The word punch is a loanword from Hindi panch (meaning five) – and the drink was originally made with five ingredients: alcohol, sugar, lemon, water and tea or spices. Today, you can get your hands on a variety of fun and unconventional punches in bars across the capital. Here’s our top picks:
Order: Sorrel Wine – a fragrant and tropical punch made using hibiscus-infused Banks 5 Island rum, mango and pineapple shrub, lime juice, lemongrass tea and banana liqueur.
The Run-Down: The London EDITION is a modern reincarnation of London’s 19th-century private clubs. Designed to be an intimate space away from the Soho crowds, the Punch Bar boasts 30 specialty punches (look out for the signature gin-infused EDITION house punch), as well as a curated soundtrack of soul, blues, ragtime and doo-wop, complemented by impromptu live performances.
Where: 10 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NP
Order: Emptying the Banks Punch – Banks 5 & 7 Island rums, Amaro di Angostura, absinthe, lemon sherbet, apple juice and ginger.
The Run-Down: Situated on Regent Street away from the throngs of tourists, The Wigmore is a plush take on the classic British pub. Acknowledging that the average Londoner’s lifestyle doesn’t always permit time to languish beside a full punch bowl, delicious punch serves are presented in Pewter cups spritzed with their Tavern soda.
Where: 15 Langham Pl, Marylebone, London W1B 3DE
Order: The Hurricane – The New Orleans favourite is the perfect long and strong, fruity rum punch. Made with Real McCoy 3-year-old Rum, mixed with Trailer’s house made Fassionola Syrup and fresh lemon juice.
The Run-Down: This vintage kitsch mid-century lounge and tiki bar is today celebrating its 15th year at the heart of Notting Hill, serving quirky tiki cocktails and yes, you guessed it, punch. Their new Escapism Menu transports you to your own version of paradise with its tropical variation of classic and original cocktails and punches.
Where: 177 Portobello Rd, London W11 2DY
Order: Rhubarb and Custard Milk Punch – a dessert-esque drink, which is deliciously smooth and fruity. A muddle of Calvados, rhubarb, custard and clarified lemon.
The-Run Down: By a team who earns their stripes at the likes of Dead Rabbit, Milk & Honey and Callooh Callay, Swift is a spilt levelled bar in Soho featuring a concise and inventive cocktail menu. The basement speakeasy bar features low lights and dark wooden features, whilst the upper floor – where you can order the Rhubarb and Custard Punch – is lighter, brighter and hella sexy.
Where: 12 Old Compton St, Soho, London W1D 4TQ
Order: Back to Black – An homage to Amy Winehouse, Scarfe Bar’s quirky and dark take on a Milk Punch blends Amy’s cuppa love with smoke and spiced Piloncillo.
The-Run Down: Scarfes Bar, found inside the Rosewood London, is inspired by the atmosphere of a drawing room and the sophistication of a gentleman’s club, features a roaring fire, a collection of cosy velvet armchairs and shelves filled with over 1,000 antique books hand-picked by a Portobello antiques dealer. Grab a seat at the solid oak bar, or lounge on the large studded leather armchairs: Scarfes Bar is an elegant and refined watering hole.
Where: Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN