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Our 15 Most-Read Stories of 2018

From trying to find a better Gin and Tonic to the resurgence of a quirky Prohibition-era bourbon cocktail, here is a look back at the most popular stories on PUNCH this year.

Natasha David Nitecap

Each passing year always seems more eventful than the last, but that’s especially true for 2018.

This year we got to the bottom of a lot of questions, both big and small—like why the wine world is so un-woke and why everyone in Wisconsin is doing shots of Angostura bitters. We got technical, too, looking at the complexities of shaking a cocktail, whether employing the “Regal Shake” technique, the Japanese Hard Shake or simply analyzing the personal style of various bartenders. Oh, and we drank quite a bit, too, sipping dozens of classic Sazeracs, Gin and Tonics and Old-Fashioneds in pursuit of the finest.

As the year comes to a close, here’s a look back at a handful of stories that made the biggest impression on our readers, from the cult of Foursquare rum to the unlikely resurgence of a Prohibition-era cocktail.

Why Is the Wine World So Un-woke?

Memorizing details about grapes and vintages won’t tell you anything about a winemaker’s moral condition.

The Resurgence of the Lion’s Tale

How a quirky Prohibition-era bourbon cocktail came to manifest on U.S. drink menus right now.

Old Fashioned Recipe Clover Club NYC

In Search of the Ultimate Old-Fashioned

We asked 17 of America’s best bartenders to submit their finest recipe for the Old-Fashioned—then blind-tasted them all to find the best of the best.

What We Talk About When We Talk About “Bitch Beer”

Craft beer’s bro-code is still enforcing outdated typecasts on what we define as “good” beer, “bad” beer and who drinks which.

How a Notoriously Inhospitable Dive Became the New York City Media Hangout

It’s a place where people with dissenting views on Twitter might share a whiskey or four, and where others escape to for a quiet drink with the book they’re reviewing.

Japanese Cocktail Technique

Understanding Japanese Bartending in Five Techniques

A few idiosyncratic methods offer a window into why Japanese bartending has become an object of fascination—and fetishization.

Why Is Everyone in Wisconsin Taking Shots of Angostura?

The state sells more Angostura per capita than any other—and it’s not because of their affinity for the Old-Fashioned.

Regal Shake Cocktail Technique

Hack Your Drink: The “Regal Shake” Technique

Incorporating citrus peels into drink-making, beyond the express, can offer a shortcut to greater complexity in shaken and stirred drinks.

Examining the Science and Style of the Shake

We analyzed the shakes of three top bartenders to see just how much personal style affects your drink.

Best Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

In Search of the Ultimate Sazerac

Does the best Sazerac hail from its birthplace in New Orleans?

The Private Labels Ruling Whiskey’s Black Market

Today’s most respectable whiskey groups are decorating their private-barrel selections with homemade stickers—and turning a huge profit.

How Foursquare Became the Pappy of Rum

Richard Seale’s vision of affordably priced, “honest rum” has created a frenzy within the spirits world.

Negroni Recipe

Five Negroni Riffs Actually Worth a Damn

In a world where Negroni variations abound, here are standouts from five top New York bartenders.

In Search of the Ultimate Gin and Tonic

Bartenders admittedly don’t think much about making a Gin and Tonic, but there is one version that’s a cut above the rest.

A Forgotten Tequila Classic Returns

This blend of tequila, Curaçao and dry vermouth—and Trader Vic’s 1970s tropical spin on it—is having a moment.

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