Reunion 2011: Heed the Call to the Punch Crawl
By Liesel Nowak Crosier
What do you get when you blend peach schnapps, amaretto, ginger ale, orange juice, and cranberry juice? The perfect excuse to mingle with friends during Mary Baldwin College Reunion Weekend.
Thanks to prompting and planning by Class of 1972 alumna Susan Myers, four local restaurants will offer original and mouth-watering punches, including the one described above, to welcome out-of-town Reunion revelers and locals from 6:30 to 11 p.m. for the first-ever punch crawl in downtown Staunton.
Mixologists at Staunton Grocery, Pompeii Lounge at Emilio’s, Zynodoa, and Sorrel’s restaurant at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel will offer punches that merge fresh ingredients, fruit, and fizz.
Staunton Grocery’s Mary Baldwin Punch features a New Zealand sauvignon blanc, prosecco, fresh-squeezed blood oranges, orange liquor, rum, and house-made blood orange sorbet.
“We’re participating, first and foremost, because it is fun,” said Christopher Croxton, general manager and wine director at Staunton Grocery. “I love to put a challenge before our head mixologist to see what we can create. Also, we have had so much support from Mary Baldwin alumni that it only felt right to be part of this celebration.”
A little further down West Beverley Street at Zynodoa, sparkling cava will be mixed with house-made raspberry lemongrass puree to make a Mary Baldwin cocktail “perfect for spring,” said Jill Claffey, assistant manager at the Staunton hot spot.
The return of an old beverage marks the best combination of economics and entertaining, according to Myers.
“Friends sitting around a punch bowl is anything but humdrum,” she said. “And way more affordable.”
Myers, who lives in New York, realized that the communal cocktail could prove popular in tough economic times after serving punch at a holiday party as an alternative to a pricier open bar. She established Put Some Punch in that Bowl , a blog that documents punch crawls, provides punch recipes, and builds interest in and awareness of the punch comeback.
Her retail-focused sister venture, Bowls of Art, launches this spring with a selection of “unique and affordably upscale” punch bowls. Two are inspired by Mary Baldwin , one Myers described as “traditionally elegant” and the other, “whimsically squirrelly,” a nod, of course, to the lively and ubiquitous MBC mascot.
The punch bowls and other wares will be available for purchase from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the inaugural Alumnae/i Bazaar in MBC’s Lyda B. Hunt Dining Hall where 10 entrepreneurial alums will be selling items — antiques, jewelry, pottery, hair accessories, and more — to promote their business ventures.
“It’s the first time we’ve given our alums the chance to showcase their businesses and talents,” said Jennifer Brillhart Kibler ’91, executive director of alumnae/i and parent relations.
Friday’s punch crawl will serve as a launching point for similar events Myers has planned in Atlanta, Philadelphia and New York.
“The idea for a Staunton crawl was a natural for Reunion Weekend,” Myers said. “It’s a way to introduce a new event and a new concept for returning alums and friends and especially to show them that Staunton is — who would have imagined it? — hip. I’m hoping that the local community will come out as well, to see what all the fuss is about, and help support their restaurateurs who are comfortably perched on the cutting edge.”
Punch Crawl Schedule
Friday, April 8
6:30–7:30 p.m. Staunton Grocery, 105 E. Beverley St.
7:45–8:45 p.m. Pompeii Lounge at Emilio’s, 23 E. Beverley St.
9–10 p.m. Zynodoa, 115 E. Beverley St.
10:15–11 p.m. Sorrel’s at Stonewall Jackson Hotel, 24 S. Market St.