Many people will have a negative preconception when they hear the word ‘punch’ – usually recoiling at the memory of drinking something really strong, immensely sweet, and with no real regard towards any balance of flavour.
That’s because a punch is usually just a melting pot of disasters thrown together at a house party with whatever is lying around – half a bottle (box) of red wine, the last bit of that old bottle of Baileys, some tequila, maybe a bit of whiskey.
Punch in the UK, however, has a very different meaning, complete with set guidelines on how they are prepared. Punches are a style of mixed drink that actually predate ‘cocktails’ by nearly two centuries.
The House Punch at Cartel Members Club is one of these traditional punches, prepared by London’s own Andrew Copsey, the Director of Food and Beverage at Ideas Cartel, and also the genius behind Frontier, a members-only lounge and bar located at The Foundry on Sand Hill Road in Green Point.
That’s a picture of the exclusive lounge and bar up top, and you can find more info here.
Back to the punch. In short, it’s glorious, but let’s go into a little more detail.
Actually a type of Clarified English Milk Punch, this drink has a bizarre production method that incorporates adding hot milk and tea into the mix of alcohols, citrus juices, and tropical fruits and spices. The milk curdles with the citrus, separating the curds from the whey, and is then very slowly filtered through cheesecloths.
As if by magic, the curds act as a natural filtration system and produce a completely clear liquid at the end, which has a beautifully soft and delicate taste, and also an immensely buttery mouthfeel as the whey proteins are still present.
Look at this clarity:
Can you believe that came from a mix that includes hot milk and tea? Now for a little history lesson…
Seventeenth-century England was rife with harsh liquors and devoid of refrigerators. Tropical fruits and exotic spices also came very seldom into the country and would spoil quickly. Clarification solved all these problems by preserving all the beautiful flavours and toning down the harsher qualities of the alcohol, in a resulting liquid that does not spoil.
Benjamin Franklin was a notable fan of clarified milk punch. He enclosed his own recipe in a letter to the governor of Massachusetts in 1763. Over a century later, bottles of the stuff were discovered in Charles Dickens’ wine cellar. Dickens had died, but the milk punch was still good.
Andrew’s current clarified House Punch contains his own blend of nine rums, fresh pineapple and papaya, mixed citrus fruits, three different styles of tea, six fresh spices and, of course, the milk that gets extracted later.
He makes this in large batches ahead of time, but the process can take him up to three days to complete.
The good news is that the juice is worth the squeeze, and it’s impossible not to feel classy when your drink comes served on a hand-carved clear ice block.
You will also receive 50% off boardrooms and meeting rooms and attend Cartel Connect events free of charge, as well as receiving preferential booking and discounted rates across all of their boutique hotels.
Booking meeting rooms, ordering coffee and food to your desk, and requesting assistance from staff with the tap of a button are just some of the functions that the app takes care of.
To find out more about Ideas Cartel and its four pillars – Inner City (Coworking and Office Space), Cartel Members Club, Cartel Hotels, and Cartel Connect (Events and Venue Hire) – visit their site.
If you do join the Cartel Members Club, Andrew and his world-famous House Punch will be there to welcome you.
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