Q • Absolutely LOVE the Tang Punch at Tim’s Chrome Bar. Any chance I could get the recipe? — Jane Ward, Edwardsville, Illinois
A • One of the more unusual drink offerings at the recently reopened Tim’s Chrome Bar in the Bevo neighborhood isn’t a cocktail, a mocktail or a new beer — it’s an old-fashioned punch bowl to share with friends.
The Tang punch especially fits bill in this colorful art bar with a 1960s vibe. The design and the art comes from artists and owners Pat Schuchard and Carol Crouppen Schuchard with a big assist from Pat’s daughter, Anne Schuchard, artist, interior designer and manager. Bar manager Chelsea Pfister contributes to the mix with her special mojo and love of cocktail history. The development of the punch was an inspired collaboration between Anne Schuchard and Pfister.
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“There was a hotel I went to in Los Angeles that had this really cool rooftop bar,” Anne Schuchard says. “They served punch in really great vintage punch bowls. It was a fun way to celebrate with a group of people, so we thought it would good here at Tim’s.” The hunt for vintage punch bowls began.
“Any time we went shopping for things for the bar, we collected punch bowls as we went at open air markets, at thrift stores. A few people gifted us with hand-me-down punch bowls they didn’t want,” Schuchard says.
Pfister creates the recipes for the punch drinks at Tim’s, which rotate during the month. “’We’ve done some fun Kool Aid punches, also with a vodka base. I’m working on a Tiki style rum punch now,” she says. “We’re going to have a lot of fun with these punches.”
Pfister, an aficionado of all things cocktail, especially likes punches for their place in the history the bar drinks. “Back in the day, nobody made themselves a cocktail, they made a punch bowl,” she says.
Tim’s Chrome Bar serves plenty of alcoholic and nonalcoholic cocktails as well. Punchbowls and cocktails alike get garnished with edible flowers, fresh herbs, citrus wheels and wedges, fresh and dehydrated, and even edible glitter. Pfister and her crew grow the edible flowers and herbs in the garden at Majorette in Maplewood, a sister property of Tim’s.
The punches have definitely been a hit at Tim’s, but the top-selling cocktail has been a classic gin gimlet. “For the alcoholic version we start with gin from Lifted Spirits distillery in Kansas City. The nonalcoholic gimlet starts with Bare zero-proof gin, both served in the proper barware,” Pfister says.
The bar hosts musicians and musical groups and holds special events regularly, such as the weekly bingo games on Sunday afternoons. The punch bowl is a popular drink shared with friends at bingo, a throwback to the 1950s and ‘60s that perfectly fits the vintage feel of this colorful bar. “They’ve been hugely popular so far,” Schuchard says.
Just how popular are the punch bowls? “We definitely need to find more punch bowls,” Schuchard says.