LuxeGetaways - - Feature Hospitality Profile - STORY BY DAMON M. BANKS | PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY GREG POW­ERS

Step out of your com­fort zone for an un­for­get­table

cock­tail ex­pe­ri­ence at Punch Room.

Ifirst met Bob Peters (known at Bob The

Bar­tender) about a year ago while sa­vor­ing the Punch Room ex­pe­ri­ence with sev­eral friends. Lo­cated on the 15th floor of The Ritz-Carl­ton Char­lotte, Punch Room is sim­ply un­ex­pected. The 37-seat lounge pro­vides guests with an in­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence, and the per­son­al­ized at­ten­tion you would ex­pect while sit­ting back in one of the over­sized couches and wing­back chairs. While I was not around at the time of the in­fa­mous “speakeasies,” if I had to imag­ine how a posh and exclusive speakeasy would look, feel, sound and smell, this would be it.

You do not visit Punch Room for a beer or glass of wine (though both are avail­able); you come here to have Bob The Bar­tender dis­cover what it is that you want to en­joy that par­tic­u­lar evening. Upon our first meet­ing (af­ter he got past the fact that most of my drinks of choice in­cluded ei­ther a bold red wine or some­thing with an um­brella in it), he fur­ther ex­plored my likes and dis­likes. The re­sult was some kind of con­coc­tion that in­cluded espresso, bour­bon and smoke; and while it was some­thing that I would never or­der my­self, it was not only de­li­cious, but also a true cock­tail ex­pe­ri­ence that I would not soon for­get. With a loyal fol­low­ing, Bob has won nu­mer­ous awards over the years, and has been fea­tured in a num­ber of na­tional culi­nary and in­dus­try mag­a­zines. And let us just say that there is not an­other bar­tender in Char­lotte with his rep­u­ta­tion. He was jet­ting down to the Cay­man Is­lands just af­ter I saw him again dur­ing this visit to be the fea­tured mixol­o­gist at the ac­claimed Cay­man Cook­out Food Fes­ti­val hosted by Eric Ripert, Jose An­dres, and An­thony Bour­dain. Hav­ing Bob at Punch Room makes the al­ready lux­u­ri­ously hip ho­tel that much more of an exclusive fea­tured des­ti­na­tion, and just one more rea­son to visit The Ritz-Carl­ton Char­lotte.

Look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion when pre­par­ing a fea­tured spring cock­tail for us at Lux­eGet­aways, Bob de­cided that the Car­bon­ated Avi­a­tion was a per­fect (and de­li­cious) so­lu­tion. This drink has been a cult fa­vorite since it ap­peared in “Recipes for Mixed Drinks” by Hugo Ensslin in 1916. Though there have been slight vari­a­tions of this drink over the years with some omit­ting the Crème de Vi­o­let Liqueur and oth­ers try­ing to make it their own, we love that Bob added the el­e­ment of car­bon­a­tion – cre­at­ing a re­fresh­ing and light cock­tail that is full of fla­vor.

Photo: Justin Driscoll

The Ritz-Carl­ton Char­lotte 201 East Trade Street Char­lotte, NC 28202 lux­eget­ Punch Room 201 E Trade St. Char­lotte, NC 28202 lux­eget­­room Bob Peters

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