2020 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley CA, 94704 (510) 926.6300
Sunday thru Thursday 5:30-10pm
Friday & Saturday 5:30-11pm
Front bar opens at 5pm nightly
Sunday thru Thursday 5:30-10pm
Friday & Saturday 5:30-11pm
Front bar opens at 5pm nightly

Special NYE Punch: Medianoche

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

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“Punch Royal dates back to the end of the 17th century,” says cocktail historian David Wondrich in his book Punch, or the Delights and Dangers of the Flowing Bowl. “It was drunk by courtiers, pirates and everyone in between.”

Punch in general has a long and storied place in the annals of festive gatherings.  As self-proclaimed “Georgian Junkie” Emery Lee points out, “The Georgian era is widely known for its excesses, the least of which was heavy drinking. A typical Georgian gentleman of leisure would spend his days frequenting one of the myriad coffee rooms and his evenings, many times into the wee hours, in a gaming house, tavern, or gentleman’s club roistering with his cronies over a brimming punch bowl.”

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Painting by William Hogarth from the mid-1700s

While I don’t expect our NYE party to have a Georgian theme, and we may not have a lot of courtiers or pirates in attendance, I do like the idea of “roistering with … cronies over a brimming punch bowl.”

Barman Matthew Campbell has crafted his take on the classic Punch Royal with winter in mind.  It’s called Medianoche, and according to an email from Matthew it goes like this:

Bubbles are a given since it’s NYE.  Add Matusalem rum because it’s delicious and clean.  The classic recipe calls for raspberry syrup but I made a more seasonally appropriate spiced huckleberry compote. It also calls for orange juice, as many punches do, so blood orange makes perfect sense for the winter – and it adds dramatic color.  Passion fruit purée & a bit of mango tea for a slight island kick and also to provide tartness in lieu of lemon or lime.  Definitely more fruit forward than winter spiced.  Ladle into a flute and start dancing…

JP (with input from MC)

Ring in the New Year at Comal!

Friday, November 22nd, 2013


This New Year’s Eve, Comal will once again clear out the tables, turn up the volume on our Meyer sound system and transform into a swingin’ dancehall. Doors will open at 9pm and longtime Bay Area DJ Jose Ruiz (KPFA, KPOO), who has an ongoing residency at Comal on Thursday nights, will spin his infectious mix of Latin and funk into the wee hours. Last year’s event sold out and was a spirited affair to say the least!

Chef Matt Gandin and his team will keep a steady stream of antojitos (little snacks) flowing throughout the night – expect some familiar items from Comal’s menu along with a few wild cards, with an emphasis on Oaxacan-style street snacks like quesadillas, de eses and flautas.

Matt Campbell, Comal’s lead bartender and one of the SF Chronicle’s 2013 Bar Stars, will be twisting up an original NYE cocktail for the occasion. This, along with Comal’s current list of craft cocktails, draft beer, wine and extensive selection of tequila and mezcal, will be on offer.

Tickets are $40 and are on sale at http://www.ticketfly.com/event/421561. All food offerings are included in ticket purchase.

Please make special note: BART is open until 3am on NYE and Comal is less than a block from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Also, Comal’s large beer garden is uncovered, so use of this space is weather dependent. Additional tickets may be released December 30th if weather permits the use of the beer garden for the occasion.