Bartenders prepare for Punch Pong final

upplBartenders from across the UK and Ireland are preparing for the grand final of the Underground Punch Pong League (UPPL) Monin Bartenders’ Challenge Cup tonight (October 7).

The grand final will take place at the “London Punch Pong Arena” – better known as the Arts Theatre in London’s West End – on the opening night of London Cocktail Week 2013.

Fourteen teams of two bartenders from around the country will fight it out to win a trip to Paris – and the organisers want to fill the venue with supporters to cheer them on.

The Covent Garden Cocktail Club, in the basement of the theatre, will be serving the top three punches all night long, at £4 per cup of punch, to anyone with a London Cocktail Week wristband.

The UPPL was created by JJ Goodman, co-founder of London Cocktail Club bars, and is sponsored by Monin and Plantation Rum.

The Punch Pong craze has taken the UK and Irish bar scene by storm over the past six weeks, with bartenders competing against each other in a tournament in the style of the classic drinking game of “beer pong”.

While beer pong sees teams trying to get ping pong balls into cups of beer, for the Underground Punch Pong League the beer is replaced with a punch.

At each of the 12 regional heats, every team drew a Monin syrup flavour at random which was then used as the foundation for creating a signature recipe.

James Coston, Monin’s UK brand ambassador, said: “Over the past few weeks it’s been great to see bartenders around the country, from Bristol to Edinburgh, really rise to the challenge and take the UPPL into their hearts.

“There’s been some fierce competition, but there’s no telling who will take the Monin Bartenders’ Challenge Cup at the grand final. With Punch Pong, anything can happen!”

JJ added: “Our Punch Pong finalists represent the best of the best, but there can only be one winning team. We want as big and raucous a crowd possible to cheer on the finalists so come down to the Arts Theatre on October 7 and support your bartending brethren.”

The grand final kicks off at the Arts Theatre London at 5pm tonight. Entry is free of charge.

UPPL Finalists

Bristol: Colin Macy Nick Jones from The Big Chill
Central London: James Hopkins and Kate Sharpe from London Cocktail Club
West London: Thomas Ward and Al McMurdo from The Rum Kitchen
Birmingham: Mike Beedon and Ed Shawcross from Island Bar
Liverpool: Gwen Prior and Tony Ynot Roland from El Bandito
Manchester: Danny Bigg-Wither and Andrew Knapper from The Liquor Store
Leeds: Oliver Pluck and Ross Millar from Roadhouse Flair
Edinburgh: Scott Belcher and Duncan Robb from Missoula
Belfast: Patrick Logue and Matt Knight from Love & Death Inc
Dublin: Cian Connellan and Sean Allen from The Gibson Hotel

Wild card finalists
Cardiff: David Whitford and Bret Sullivan-Bissett from Pourfection
West London: Adam McLeen and Michael Koechlin from Portobello Star
Liverpool: Ryan Mcmahon and Simon Taylor from Aloha
Manchester: Chris Mosey and Paul Hutton from Hula

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