Cocktail stories: Caribbean Queen Punch
Paris’s La Commune takes the classic rum drink to the next level by hotting things up.
*This feature was originally published in the June 2022 issue of The Spirits Business magazine.
The convivial jungle-style Paris bar La Commune is demonstrating that there is more to Punch than just being a venue’s answer to the mass catering of thirsty party-goers.
The naturally lit, inside-outside bar, clad with cascading plants and corrugated iron walls is where ‘the young and beautiful’ of Paris go to drink high-quality cocktails as they let loose; a reputation head bartender Adama Ballo is very proud of.
La Commune is a bar that seeks to focus on a different way of enjoying cocktails, casting its net wider than its French-spirit-championing sister venue, Le Syndicat, when it comes to its bottle selection.
“Most people think Punch is just a rum drink,” admits Ballo, “but here we make Punch with vodkas, gins, Tequilas, piscos, and mezcals. When people ask us, ‘why is there gin in your punch?’, it gives us the opportunity to explain the story of Punch from around the world.”
Ballo and his team aren’t sticklers for the rulebook.
He says: “I go with my feelings. I want our customers to feel a bit like they’re on holiday.”
And it’s mission accomplished with one particular Punch on his seasonally changing menu.
“I discovered one pimento rum liqueur and I liked it, so after that I decided I wanted to do something with it,” he tells us as we delve into the origin story of his Caribbean Queen Punch, a fiery concoction presented in an ornate copper bowl – a move that makes people on adjacent tables crane their necks for a glimpse of the spectacle.
It’s a Punch that nips at the tongue with snaps of vibrant red chilli pepper, before caressing it with tropical notes of pineapple juice.
Mouths water as the tang of lime hits before being warmed by the wash of ginger beer, and at its heart, it is a complex, considered, and harmonious blend of what La Commune does best: conviviality and fun vibes.
Caribbean Queen Punch
20ml Homemade pineapple syrup
20ml Lime juice
15ml Pimento liqueur
45ml Dark rum
3 Dashes of pimento
50ml Ginger beer
Put all the ingredients in a shaker. Add some ice and shake for 10 seconds. Serve on shards of clear ice, and complete with ginger beer. To finish, garnish with a sprig of mint, bird’s eye chilis and grated nutmeg.
For more cocktail stories, check out US-based Wood Chicago’s Party in the Back.