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July’s Best Reads on Drinks and Drinking

This month, Armenia's rich history of toast-making, the boom in arcade bars, the story of the Michelada and more.

Bitter Aperitivo Cocktail Recipe

Welcome to The PUNCHbowl, a monthly installment where we share our favorite long reads on all things drinks and nightlife.

Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, of Louis Roderer Champagne, has been tasked with production during a particularly unpredictable period in the history of the sparkling wine. In response to climate change and fluctuating agricultural techniques, Lécaillon has experimented with new production methods, including organic and biodynamic farming. Here, Eric Asimov looks at the recent evolution of one of the most significant large-scale Champagne producers in the world. [The New York Times]

Armenians have developed a unique way of toasting over the last few centuries. It’s a custom that persists to this day, making the ritual that can last for hours one of the world’s most elaborate drinking traditions. Benjamin Kemper explores how toasting became a big part of Armenian heritage. [Smithsonian]

In San Francisco’s Richmond District, the spritz-focused Orson’s Belly, where the owners know the locals by name and the door is marked with the heights of the growing neighborhood kids, has become a gathering place for the community. Maggie Hoffman profiles Cigdem Onat-Salur and Cem Salur, the owners of the popular bar. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Across the country, arcade-bar hybrids are rising in popularity. From Ground Kontrol in Portland, Oregon, to Barcade in Brooklyn, New York, bar owners are tapping into the appeal of nostalgia. [Imbibe]

Since 2015, fraudulent wine sellers have been turning a profit by passing off Spanish wine as more expensive French rosé. Fraud investigators have estimated that about 10 million bottles have played a part in this extensive deception, which persists, in part, due to America’s insatiable thirst for pink wine. [The Washington Post]

The Michelada, in its simplest form, calls for Mexican beer, lime and ice. But there are as many Michelada recipes as there are Michelada drinkers. Here, David Wondrich catalogs the ambiguous history of this cocktail and offers a few pointers for how to make it yourself. [The Daily Beast]

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Tagged: Champagne, longreads