This year was a big one in drinks. We tackled questions concerning the state of wine service, and analyzed shifts in the craft beer world as it balances innovation with a return to pared-down styles. We searched for the most ideal versions of classic cocktails—the pinnacles of the craft—and witnessed the meteoric rise of the retro seltzer, LaCroix. We continued to escape into tiki, and delved deep into the underground worlds of whiskey obsessives. Needless to say, we had plenty of fun along the way.

To close out the year, here are the PUNCH stories that resonated most with our readers in 2017, from investigations into big-box-store spirits pricing to a deep-dive on an obscure Christmastime specialty called boilo.

How the Infinity Bottle Became a Whiskey Nerd Obsession

In recent years, the at-home, ever-changing “infinity bottle” has become a phenomenon among whiskey nerds.

The World’s 15 Most Important Tiki Bars

Today’s top tiki experts, among them, Martin Cate and Sven Kirsten, name the most notable tiki bars across the globe—and explain what makes them destination-worthy.

 

How a Homemade Blend Became One of America’s Most Coveted Bourbons

One of the hottest bourbons of the year is a secret, homemade blend that can only be acquired via Facebook.

In Search of the Ultimate Negroni

We asked 20 of America’s best bartenders to submit their finest recipe for the Negroni—then blind-tasted them all to find the best of the best.

How Does Costco Sell 18-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch for $38?

There’s been a recent groundswell of support among whiskey geeks for Costco’s Kirkland Signature whiskies. We have just two questions: Where do they come from, and why are they so cheap?

 

How Boilo Became a Coal Country Obsession

Two hours north of Philadelphia, this potent, homespun punch is a Christmastime imperative.

Ten Essential Bitters and How to Use Them

Creole bitters, burdock bitters, five-spice bitters—if you can think of a flavor, it probably exists in bitters form. But how many of them deserve a spot behind the bar? Brad Thomas Parsons outlines the ten bottles that every home bar needs.

 

What Does Great Wine Service Look Like Today?

What are our expectations for wine service amid huge shifts in restaurant and sommelier culture? Jon Bonné looks at three New York sommeliers who are confronting the question in all its complexity.

Build a Cocktail in Your LaCroix

LaCroix sparkling water has inspired countless pop culture tributes. Here is ours: five built-in-can LaCroix cocktails from some of our favorite bartenders.

 

A Guide to the Best Rye Whiskeys Under $50

In the last half-decade or so, the boom in rye whiskey has brought with it a broad range of expressions and styles. Here, a guide to five of the best—each of them delicious enough to sip neat, and affordable enough to mix into drinks.

Meet the Who’s Who of Wine Cool

Among America’s most progressive wine lists, which producers act as universal touchstones? Megan Krigbaum surveys dozens to come up with a shortlist of the who’s who of wine cool.

The Year European Beer Lost Its Hold on America

A half-decade ago, European beer reigned supreme on top lists. Aaron Goldfarb pinpoints the moment it all ended.

In Search of the Ultimate Martini

Given the level of contention surrounding the Martini, is it even conceivable that there is a “best” version of the drink?

How Other Half Became the Official Beer of Wall Street

Aaron Goldfarb asks: When did this Brooklyn brewery join the ranks of Macallan and Patrón in the Wall Street banker’s official bar kit?

In Search of the Ultimate Manhattan

We all know there’s a Perfect Manhattan—that is, the kind that’s splits the vermouth quotient between sweet and dry varieties. But is there a perfect Manhattan?

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