Mixology guru Derek Brown is the punch-obsessed genius behind some of Washington, DC’s most exciting cocktail destinations—including Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich and Southern Efficiency. His newest spot, Columbia Room, has three distinct spaces to suit drinkers’ moods. The bookcase-lined spirits library serves a whole menu of variations on the old-fashioned; the tasting room features multicourse cocktail tastings paired with snacks like pickled oysters and uni toast; and the outdoor punch garden serves refreshers like the citrusy Gin Punch à Ia Terrington, below. Here, he shares five tips to making the perfect punch at home:
1. Keep it light. Punches may have originated with sailors, but they're meant to be light and refreshing, so skip the heavy pours and round them out with sparkling water or sparkling wine.
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2. Learn a little Latin. Repeat after me: oleo saccharum. It means "sweet oil.” Combine lemon peels and sugar together and either let sit overnight or muddle together until they become a paste. This combination works wonders in punches.