Over 50 bartenders participated in the bartenders’ competition at Cochon 555 events throughout the year for the chance to show off their skills at the final competition on Sunday, June 29 at the Curtis Hotel in Denver. Punch Kings, in its second year, is a competition within the Cochon 555 competition. Cochon 555 is a celebration of heritage breed hogs. In each city (LA and Chicago, to name a few), five chefs are given a whole heritage breed pig. Each chef is tasked with creating nose to tail dishes for a panel of judges. The winner in each city goes to the Grand Cochon competition at the Aspen Food & Wine Festival every year.
At Sunday’s event, Chefs Rich Byers (The Corner Office), Jeff Bolton (Kachina), Jason Brumm (Second Home) and Jae Lee (The Curtis) will also prepare 500+ pounds of heritage pigs — so show up hungry.
Punch Kings will showcase the 10 winning bartenders including Denver’s own Justin Lloyd of Star Bar. Each contestant will create their own punch using a bottle of Breckenridge Bourbon.
Before single-serve cocktails became popular, mixed drinks were made in large-format style, called punch and served in bowls. The classic version of a punch contains a variation of: spirits, sugar, water, spice, and citrus.
The winner will serve their punch at a Heritage BBQ event later this year. The event, modeled after the World’s BBQ Fair is a tasting where five chefs will prepare barbecue pork in their favorite style — Hibachi (Japan), Braai (Africa), Asado (Argentina), Char Siu (China), Satay (Southeast Asia), Mangal (Central Asia), Luau (Islands), Regional American (Kansas City to Lexington to Lousisiana), and Barbacoa (Mexico).
“This will be the most notable punch-themed celebration to hit the country since prohibition was lifted in 1933,” said Cochon 555 founder Brady Lowe. “I’ve always wanted to host a national event that celebrates the barkeeps that keep the boom of the cocktail culture alive and vibrant. There’s nothing better than a fine punch made with a whole bottle of bourbon to complement the philosophy of whole animal utilization and the flavor packed benefits of eating heritage pork. And, who better to bring the Punch Kings Competition to life than our great friend Bryan Nolt, founder of Breckenridge Distillery!”
Tickets are still available at http://events.cochon555.com/punch_kings.
Photo used with permission from Cochon 555.