In 2020, Micklefield Hall introduced Punchy Drinks to their bar as fun, stylish and contemporary non-alcoholic alternatives. In this blog we meet Charlie Hobhouse, Punchy Partner, and hear about the development and essence of the new drinks on the block!
About Punchy Drinks
Most bars are rammed full of alcoholic options, the stars of the drinking scene, displayed like trophies on shelves and in the glass fronted fridges. Their non-alcoholic ugly sisters are usually hidden away, only to emerge on an infrequent request. But with the necessary tight restrictions on driving and alcohol limits, the current attention to the health implications of alcohol and the ever increasing, cleverly named months of each year when alcohol is rebuked, non-alcoholic alternatives are starting to be upgraded from the cheap seats.
Taken straight from their website ‘In a world of sugary, eco-destructive and unadventurous drinks, we thought it was time for something better. So, we began our mission to make better drinks, mixing concoctions at home that reminded us of good times with friends.’
Making promises never to use ‘weird stuff’ in their ingredients, donating money to charity and using plastic-free packaging, Punchy are rising as the drink eco warriors. The labels on the Punchy cans are contemporary, with matt, almost paper-like finishes that are full of texture and make you want to feel it longer than is normal! The art work on the cans is well branded, giving each one a personality but still suggesting that it belongs to its siblings.
When poured over crisp, cold ice cubes, into nice glasses and adorned with fruit or herbs, these drinks rival the look of any dramatic cocktail. Banishing the driver’s shame that they feel when they order a coca cola with ice and a slice, reminiscent of children who were given a pint of cola and a packet of crisps by their parents in a desperate attempt to keep them entertained in the pub on a Sunday afternoon.
Charlie is a colourful character, energetic and full of life. On his Linkedin profile he calls himself the ‘head sipper at Punchy Drinks’. As a partner of Punchy Drinks, he popped into Micklefield and provided the team with a full Punchy briefing.
Without fail, the last thing thought of, but, on occasion, most needed, is a great adult soft drink option. If your family and friends are anything like mine then your they are as diverse in taste as they are colourful in character. For me, the colourful characters (lets call them ‘John’) are the issue, John is too close to a bar to behave, he has little time or thought for intaking his daily water requirements, and has far too much opportunity to make mischief, an adult soft drink is what John needs come late in the day! Luckily, there are only a few Johns, and lots more reasons to need soft drinks.
Typically, there are three reasons to need a delicious grown up soft option at any event;
Firstly: For those who, for whatever reason, are not drinking alcohol on your big day. Whether they are the designated drivers needing something refreshing, or pregnant and just bored of water, elderflower and juice.
Secondly: The day is a long one, boozy drinks on tap can get to anyone and having a soft option throughout the day enables your guests to switch easily between hard and soft, as an when the quality of their conversation starts to flow, or take a turn for the worse.
Thirdly; for younger guests and non-drinkers it isn’t much fun to watch their neighbour supping on sparkling flutes, delicious cocktails and a full bodied wine, whilst being able to choose from only juice or water.
This is where Punchy comes in, we have a Great Taste award winning range of drinks; the refreshing ‘Frist Dip’ (cucumber, yuzu and rosemary), the fiery ‘Holiday Romance’ (peach, ginger and chai), and the classic Golden Hour (blood orange, bitters and cardamom). All are light, vegan, very swigable, low sugar and sourced naturally.
Served beautifully with a garnish over ice, these drinks serve to provide a very accessible, but incredibly classy range of softs for all your guests.
Peach, ginger & chai
A glorious art deco, peach sunset adorns the front of this slim can, evoking memories of holiday evenings abroad by the sea, complete with obligatory palm trees. It’s nickname or the destination that it is supposed to take you to, is ‘holiday romance’. Upon supping, it evokes memories of ‘furtive glances, the heat of the moment and sandy beaches’.
The Punchy taste of HOLIDAY ROMANCE
The peach notes come through straight away, with the tickle of ginger coming shortly after at the back of the throat and even up into the nose. The chia tea flavours are subtle but add a base note to this refreshing drink. When served with lime, as recommended, the citrus adds a new top note taking the refreshment and pallet cleanse to new heights.
Cucumber, yuzu & rosemary
The art for this can shows a cool corner of a swimming pool. You can almost hear the pool’s whispers, tempting swimmers in to recover from the hazy sun that sits in the background. Cool cucumber shades of green tie in with the potted palm.
Named the ‘first dip’, the flavours reminisce around cool dips in crystal waters or according to the Punchy leaflet, a commuter train from Woking?
The Punchy taste of FIRST DIP
Sometimes cucumber drinks can be be over powering, almost nausea evoking, but this one nails the cucumber taste. Perhaps due to the natural flavourings of this Punchy drink you don’t get that chemical aftertaste that other cucumber imitators leave behind. After the initial cucumber wave, the bubbles of the carbonation fizz on the tongue’s surface. After the fizz dies a bit, the tangy notes of the yuzu, that resembles grapefruit, start to jump around and then right at the end, the rosemary echoes around the back of the mouth.
A really elegant drink that would pair brilliantly with a gin, perhaps not a dry gin as there are no sweet notes to this Punchy drink, but perhaps a flavoured gin. When poured over ice and allowed to mingle in the glass with tickled mint sprigs, this drink would indeed be great served on a hot day by a shimmering pool.
Blood orange , bitters and cardamom
A spectrum of oranges and reds sit over a silver sky in this can’s art work. By the looks of it, another sun set depiction, however, this one is over hills and by woodland. It captures well the golden, warm orange that spills over the landscape, just as the sun retires for the day.
Punchy have aptly nicknamed this drink the ‘golden hour’ and recommended it for ‘copper afternoons, vast silver horizons, and photographs taken as the sun turns the world gold’. Très romantique!
The Punchy taste of GOLDEN HOUR
Now this drink appears to be the most complicated and bold of the three. All the flavours seem to overlap and dance with each other so it’s difficult to work out which one is doing what to the taste buds, who are desperately trying to keep up with the sudden flurry of activity! Not a criticism of this drink, but just quite a contrast to the gradual and gentle characters of its siblings.
The blood orange kicks off the show, with its familiar flavours. Shortly after the bitters play their tricks across the tongue and then slowly, the shy cardamom peeps out from behind to round off the oral firework display.
Recommended to be served with a slice of orange, almost plays it too safe. But, with so much going on in this drink already, just a few clinks of ice are all this drink needs.
Congratulations to the Blood Orange ‘Golden Hour’ drink for winning a Great Taste star this year.
In 2019, the Punchy spiced rum punch concoction won the World Beverage Innovation Awards in the Best Beverage Concept category. Punchy were also nominated for Start Up of the Year in The Grocer Gold Awards.