Jim Meehan was in London this week with Banks Rum to launch a new book, Punch: A Voyage of Discovery, and we have a couple of signed copies to give away.
Jim Meehan is a man with more hats than Mr Benn, the man behind the famous Please Don’t Tell in New York is equally at home writing award winning books, creating drinks, promoting his rum brand Banks or generally chatting away to rooms full of engrossed bartenders.
Last night at the Punch Room he managed to combine all those things together in one event.
Before we get into what he was here to talk about it’s time to explain recent news regarding his rum brand Banks. It involves buyouts, money and big drinks companies which is a complicated area of our industry which can get very involved.
Bacardi bought Banks. Oh wait, look it isn’t complicated.
Amongst many things, this means that Jim has a lot more money to put behind his ideas for the brand and last night was the first example of what a great partnership this could end up being. Chatting to him at the bar afterwards this is certainly a prospect that excites him.
Right with that bit out of the way, back to the night.
The Punch Room was packed with the great and the good of the UK bar industry (and Stuart Hudson) all holding pewter punch cups overflowing with one of the four punch options being served by Davide Segat and his team.
Of the four punchbowls on offer, two had been created by Jim, one by Davide and one by drinks historian and punch fan David Wondrich. We were just about to get our hands-on the fourth option when Shev did her customary room silencing clinking and Jim was introduced.
Jim believes one of the next big drinks trends will be the return of the punchbowl serve. It is always difficult to disagree with Jim especially when you are standing in the hugely successful Punch Rooms at the time, so we were into the concept.
To help bartenders gain access to this area Banks are launching a couple of things. First up is a new book on punch. Anyone who is familiar with David Wondrich’s book, Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl, will know it is both excellent and wordy. It’s one of those books you have to really want to read, it’s worth it but you’ve got to give yourself over to it.
Jim worked with David & Jacob Briars to create a more approachable version of the book. An intro by David on the history of the punch is followed by Jim’s take on the drink in the more modern era. The book is finished off with a punch how to by David before a series of punch recipes to inspire from the likes of Davide, Jack McGarry, Ryan Chetiyawardana, Joel Fraser and more.
It is a great introduction to the category and a very handy tool to refer bank to if you ever need an extra bit of inspiration. It is also nice and compact which is refreshing for a modern cocktail book.
It was then time to reveal, with the help of Davide and Nick Strangeway the other reason we were there, and it had been in front of us all night. Those natty punch cups and bowls we mentioned earlier are actually being produced by Banks for certain bars who want to get involved in the punch revival (soon to be joined by a ladle being designed by David).
Having Nick on hand to talk about launching Hawksmoor 10 years ago and the punch concept they had there, and later at Hix, which was brought around as much by necessity as design was fascinating, and unsurprisingly entertaining. It also reminded us of the beauty of the punch concept which we had been discussing earlier in the week at the Rookie Programme.
A well made punch is not only a lovely drink but has many more advantages besides. It can provide relief for your bartenders in a busy bar, can give an alternative for those penis impaired folk who love bottle service, creates an immediate sense of community amongst guests and looks awesome.
We are working on getting our hands on one of those Banks Punchbowl sets to give away to you, our lovely readers, but in the meantime we do have two copies of Jim’s new book, Punch: A Voyage of Discovery, signed by the man himself to offer. If you fancy being in with a shout of getting your hands on one then simply fill in the form below.
In the meantime here is a recipe from the book we think you might enjoy:
Swedish Punch by Jim Meehan
1 litre Banks 7 Golden Age Rum
750ml English Breakfast Tea
300ml lemon juice
250g demerara sugar
1 tsp Regan’s Orange Bitters
Preparation: Brew the tea, then stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Add four cups of ice to chill and dilute the mixture, then add bitters, lemon juice and rum. Chill before serving.
Service: Add to a punchbowl filled with one large block of ice.
Glassware: Punch cups filled with ice.
Garnish: Grated nutmeg.