The Appeal of the Blue Drink, Balkan Moonshine, How to Woo a Millennial: The Best Drink Reads of the Week

Welcome to The PUNCHbowl, a weekly installment where we share our favorite longreads on all things drinks and nightlife.

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This week, we learned how to make Balkan moonshine, reminisced on the appeal of blue and red drinks, navigated selling weed tea in DC, and more.

Blue Flower Power
Bartenders are harnessing the properties of the butterfly pea flower to naturally color drinks blue. The buds of the violet-hued plant can be used to dye liquids a deep blue, but the magic doesn’t stop there: Slight adjustments to acid levels can change the shade from Atlantic Ocean blue to royal purple to carnation pink right before your eyes. Sarah Baird on the appeal of the blue drink, and how this flower is helping drink-makers craft them without resorting to the blue curaçao of yore. [Eater]

How to Woo a Millennial
From Tic-Tac to Whole Foods to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, brands across industries are expending resources and finances to figure out how to market to the specific tastes of that elusive individual known as The Millennial. The New York Times looks at how companies are falling over themselves to woo Gen Y. [New York Times]

Some Weed With Your Tea?
As marijuana laws around the country relax, entrepreneurs and activists are coming up with innovative forms of delivering weed to the hungry masses, including via coffee and tea. But differing, and often vague state laws can complicate the process. The Atlantic spends a night with the founders and fans of Jane’s Brews, which makes award-winning, weed-infused coffees and teas, as they navigate DC’s rules for selling and enjoying it. [The Atlantic]

One Drink, Two Drinks, Red Drink … and More Red Drink
In other stories on beloved colorful drinks, Food Republic delves into the history and significance of “red drink,” one of soul food’s most iconic beverages. Its origins trace back as far as the 1700s, and it’s become a staple not just because it’s delicious, but also because it has “liquid soul.” [First We Feast]

One Hooch to Rule Them All
Many cultures around the world have some version of a moonshine that’s been brewed for generations; in the Balkans, it’s a brandy-like spirit called palinka. Munchies illustrates the cultural significance of both the making of palinka and the liquor itself, which Hungary’s Agriculture Minister has praised as the country’s “national drink.” [Munchies]