Olly Pluck, representing Roadhouse Flair in Leeds, and his friend Ross Millar who works at Shears Yard in Leeds, have won a day trip to Paris for themselves and two colleagues, courtesy of syrup brand Monin.
They were among 12 teams of two bartenders from across the UK and Ireland who competed at the final at the Arts Theatre in London’s West End on the first day of London Cocktail Week on Monday.
The runners-up were Sophie Mackay and Matt Fleming from House of Wolf in Islington, London.
The UPPL was created by JJ Goodman, co-founder of London Cocktail Club bars, and sponsored by Monin and Plantation Rum. It is based on the classic drinking game of “beer pong” but, while beer pong sees teams trying to get ping pong balls into cups of beer, for punch pong, 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 punch recipe.
James Coston, Monin’s UK brand ambassador, said: “The Monin Bartenders’ Challenge Cup has been a marvellous opportunity for bartenders to have fun and show how creative they can be with their punch recipes, and Olly and Ross are a good example of that.
“For us it’s been a great way to get the message out to bartenders about the wide variety of syrups we have in our range, and I look forward to seeing some exciting drinks using more niche flavours such as Tarragon, Rosemary and Lavender when we go on tour next year.
“Not only has it been great sampling some fantastic punches over the past six weeks, it has also been a brilliant way of growing the bartending community. I was overwhelmed in each city with the amount of support we received and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part and supported the competition.”
JJ added: “It’s been a whirlwind of emotions over the past six weeks and the reception we received across the UK and Ireland when we rolled into each city was phenomenal.
“Many thanks to all the bars that hosted each of the heats: their hospitality was amazing and the efforts they put into getting people down to each event was really appreciated.
“I’d also like to thank Monin and Plantation Rum for backing the tour. There was no better way to kick off London Cocktail Week than with a few rounds of Punch Pong on a West End stage.”
Punch and Glory by Olly Pluck and Ross Millar
100ml Monin Lemon Pie Syrup
150ml Plantation 5 Year Old
75ml Licor 43
75ml Grapefruit juice