By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Nov 21, 2023 at 12:03 PM

Get a sip of history this week by being among the first to taste the 2023 batch of Bryant's famous Holiday Punch.

For more than 60 years, Bryant's Cocktail Lounge, 1579 S. 9th St., has served up its inaugural batch of holiday punch on the eve before Thanksgiving. And the time-honored tradition will kick off this year with a very special Holiday Punch Release Party on Nov. 22

Doors open at 5 p.m. with festivities kicking off with a 6 p.m. introduction to the history of Bryant's and the story of the holiday punch that has enchanted guests for over 60 years.  

At 6:15 p.m. guests will witness the ceremonial first tasting of the punch, a practice that ensures the drink measures up to the standards set for the punch over six decades ago.

For years, it was customary for Shirley Lafferty – a 45 year alum of Bryant's Cocktail Lounge – to sample the very first glass of punch and approve it for public consumption. However, in memory of Lafferty who passed away in May of 2023, the inaugural tasting will be done by Bryant's alums Linda Scherlie and Kim Rohde, a mother-daughter team who also have a long, storied history of employment at the cocktail bar.

Tickets for the Holiday Punch Release are $24 per person and can be purchased online. Each ticket includes admission to the event, exclusive access to one of the inaugural glasses of Holiday Punch (gratuity of 20% included) and a charming commemorative Holiday Punch glass designed by Pete Klockau of The Black Lagoon Room.

Stop back in for a sip

Following the official Holiday Punch launch on Nov. 22, Bryant's Holiday Punch will remain available throughout the holiday season (with the last glasses of punch served on New Year's Eve) for $12 per glass.  Commemorative Bryant's Holiday Punch glass will also be available for $12 each (until sold out).

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.