All of these amazing photos are by Jessica Jo Photography.
Summa summa summa tiiiimmmee! Sorry, had to! The sun is out, and I’ve got the perfect place for you to head for all your summer vices: Punch Bowl Social.
I’m gonna tell you right off the bat: this place has a lot going on. Two levels, many rooms, food, drinks, games. It’s everything your heart desires on a warm summer day. Punch Bowl Social-Denver is the first of four restaurants that promises to give you that feel-good vibe (Denver is the home base with others in Detroit, Portland and Austin). They invite you to bring your favorite people together and pick the ingredients for your perfect Denver evening. You show up with a good attitude; they’ll do the rest.
That’s exactly what I did when I stopped by to chat with Bar Manager Tico Burgos. He asked if I’d like to help him whip up some house favorites from the Summer Menu, and I was behind the bar before I knew it.
First we went to work on the unbelievably simple “Pegu Club”. We threw together a mix of gin, orange juice, and two dashes of orange bitters, and gave it all a good shake.
Tico helped me perfect my presentation technique…
…before moving on to a couple of “Higher Fashion”s. Grapefruit is the star in this one, perfectly paired with the bitter orange flavor of the Aperol, which also adds color. Sparkling wine adds lightness and bubbles.
Notice how the 2nd and 4th ones are darker than the 1st and 3rd? Those were mine! Good shaking blends the flavors, and the darker drinks betray my lack of skill. I’ll get there though! For the next one, we gave the shakers a rest, and went for another Punch Bowl favorite: an adult milkshake.
A “Milk-Xologist #2″ whips mint liqueur, espresso syrup, and vanilla ice cream in a thick, creamy taste of heaven.
Again, there was a new technique to master. This time, it was the perfect whipped cream swirl, topped with a sprig of mint. This milkshake is a snapshot of Americana served up in a mason jar.
Now if you’re following along, you might be thinking, “Three drinks in, how is this girl surviving?” I fueled up on some of Punch Bowl’s delicious small plates. Everything here is geared toward a group, so all of these are meant to be mixed and shared.
I went big, as always, and opted for a spread. The Farmer’s Board of hearty roasted root veggies, Deviled Eggs (the secret is bacon jam), Chesapeake Chips with creme fraiche, and the Mixed Nut Brittle.
Here’s that Brittle again, because seriously, get you some.
All of these dishes can be made gluten free and vegetarian so everybody in your party gets to fill up on the goodness. Is your diet REALLY restricted? Like, “summer body” talk got you worried, and you’re trying some crazy juice cleanse you read about on the internet? Well, that’s silly, but if you must, Punch Bowl’s got you covered. Go for one of the fresh pressed juices like “The Sharpest”, which is a refreshing blend of apple, cucumber, and lime juice.
From shuffle board to arcade games, this place is sure to entertain your kid, your bros, or your grandparents. My fellow Colorado College alums will be especially delighted, since the dart boards are sure remind you of backyard darties.
I teamed up with the girls at the Highland boutique Ily| Iley to suggest some fun, cute fashions for your visit. Bailey Lemak & Ilyse Mark stock eclectic, contemporary clothing and homeware that you’ll love. Their pieces, like this amazing floral romper, are comfortable and on trend.
I paired a For Love & Lemons Skivvies bralette from their shop to match the pretty lace on the hem of this romper. The result is a a perfect weekend date night outfit that is cute and functional.
For an evening with family and friends, this casual look does the trick. The drop hem on this mustard colored dress adds fun detail to a simple shape, and allows you to bowl to your heart’s content.
How could I resist this amazing kimono?! I plucked it from Ily|Iley’s selection of amazing vintage wear. It’s light fabric and mix of colors is perfect to throw on every outfit this summer.
But Tico’s & my work was not finished. We switched to the second bar, and ended with the restaurant’s real crowd pleaser, THE Punch Bowl.
Batches of punch are made from scratch every 4 days and allowed to marinate so the flavors really party. Just because it’s pre-batch doesn’t mean it isn’t great. With tea from Teakoe and herbs from Artemisia & Rue just across the street, this punch is far from ready-made.
The “Bachelors Bowl” mixes bourbon, pineapple guava yerba, and hibiscus lemon teas for a sweet and sour flavor. Elderflower might be my favorite cocktail ingredient and the Pimm’s blackberry elderflower liqueur brings flavor and color. Slap sage on your wrist to release the oils so that when you bring the drink to your mouth, your nose gets a lovely whiff of what’s to come.
Whether it’s a punch bowl on Friday night or 90s house music at the bloody mary bar for Sunday brunch, get together your crew, and head over to Punch Bowl Social. They’ll make sure you have a good time!