Sips: Local Star-tender Represents Denver in National Cocktail Competition

Ten bartenders from across the country descend on Denver with boozy punch creations.

June 26 2014, 10:30 AM

This is not the spiked punch bowl at your high school prom. On Sunday, June 29, bar brilliance will be on full display as 10 of the country’s best bartenders showcase their skills in the second annual Punch Kings Competition, presented by Cochon 555 and Breckenridge Bourbon.

The event is the culmination of 10 competitions across the country, with more than 50 bartenders participating, each with their own recipe of boozy punch. The large-format cocktail competition gives each bartender 30 minutes to make one bowl of punch using a bottle of Breckenridge Bourbon and their own special ingredients.

“This will be the most notable punch-themed celebration to hit the country since Prohibition was lifted in 1933,” Brady Lowe, founder of Cochon 555, says.

The champion of Sunday night’s affair wins a trophy, national bragging rights, and a three-day trip to a Cochon barbecue festival of their choosing to feature their winning boozy punch.

The real champions, however, are the lucky Denverites who get to wallow in the spoils of the cocktail battle.

The hometown hero in this fight is Justin Lloyd of Star Bar in the Ballpark neighborhood. Lloyd’s very Colorado concoction blends Breckenridge Bourbon with an oleo saccharum-based mix that highlights the Centennial State’s affinity for spice by using an ancho-chile liqueur. He even gives love to the state’s craft brewing scene by using Durango-based Ska Brewing’s Modus Hoperandi in the whipped cream atop the punch.

“I’m really proud to be representing Denver and the whole state of Colorado, especially with those ingredients,” Lloyd says.

The competition takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Curtis Hotel; food is provided in conjunction with Sage Restaurant Group. Celebrated Denver chefs, including Rich Byers of the Corner Office, Jeff Bolton of Kachina, Jason Brumm of Second Home, and Jae Lee of the Curtis, will be on-site preparing more than 500 pounds of pig as well as more than 150 pounds of roasted bone marrow provided by Creekstone Farms. General admission tickets are $55 and include access to competition punch and food.

1405 Curtis St., 303-571-0300

—Image via Shutterstock