PUNCH Turns One: A Look Back at Our Favorite Stories

A year into PUNCH, we're honored to have seen so many incredible stories, photographs and videos cross our desks. In honor of our first birthday, here's a look at some of our favorites from the past year.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of PUNCH. Happy birthday to us. We’ve consumed many drinks in the past 365 days, and—if we have it our way—we plan to do the same in the year to come. Next month is a big one for us, as we’ll unveil a whole new section of PUNCH called City Guides (city-by-city guides to drinking around the world), as well as a product we collaborated with W&P Design to create: The Carry-On Cocktail Kit. Both will be coming your way in the next few weeks.

But before we look too far ahead, we’re looking back. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the heck out of all of our readers, our publisher, contributors, designers, significant others, house pets and plants, family members and anyone else who has played a role in the genesis of our weird corner of the internet. It takes a whole lot of people to create great stories—whether visual or written—and we are nothing without the incredible talent of our contributors. And further, we are nothing without our loyal readers. PUNCH is as much yours as it is ours. So, thank you.

In honor of our first birthday, here’s a look at some of our favorite stories from our first year of existence:

“40 Ounces to Freedom” | Besha Rodell

The one bottle that taught an entire generation how to drink, and how not to drink. Besha Rodell explores the 40’s strange cultural impact and appeal.

“Diary of a 24-Hour Dive Bar” | Sarah Baird

What does a 24-hour bar look like at 7 a.m.? Sarah Baird pulls up a round-the-clock barstool at NOLA’s Brothers III to experience the full lifecycle of nightlife’s greatest cultural intersection—the dive bar.

“The Making of a Rosé-Colored Craze” | Zachary Sussman

Not long ago, rosé was synonymous with sweet, low-budget blush wine. But over the past decade, pink wine’s unprecedented rise has established it not only as serious—even cult—wine, but as an aspirational lifestyle brand unto itself. Zachary Sussman on how rosé happened.

“Report’s of Tiki’s Have Been Greatly Exaggerated” | Robert Simonson

In all of its unabashed kitsch, it’s easy to dismiss tiki as a category of drinks chronically prone to passing fad. Robert Simonson makes a case for the opposite and explains why tiki is not only alive, but thriving.

“The True Bar Behind True Detective | Christopher Ross

Bayou Gauche is a small fishing village at the end of America—a place that seems to telegraph a sort of primordial southernness. The only bar in town, Fisherman’s Wharf, has recently caught the attention of Hollywood, becoming the centerpiece of HBO’s True Detective. Christopher Ross explores the bar behind the bar.

“Extreme Wine Techniques: Urban Porroning” | PUNCH, Fatstache

Four lady somms. Two porrons. One city. Jordan Salcito, Ashley Santoro, Pascaline Lepeltier and Michelle Biscieglia take a Spanish wine tradition to the streets of New York. Do not try this at home.

“Searching for the Modern-Day Jerry Thomas” | David Wondrich

Equal parts swagger and hammer—with the “soul of a poet” and the fashion sense of a sailor—Tom Vaught is the modern-day embodiment of the legendary 19th-century bartender Jerry Thomas.

“The Art of Drinking Alone” | Brad Thomas Parsons

For most, the thought of drinking alone at bars is fraught with anxiety. But for Brad Thomas Parsons, it’s become a routine that has not only taught him the virtue of familiarity, but continues to connect him to the memory of his father.

“Coupe d’Etat: The Rise & Fall of the Champagne Flute” | Regan Hofmann

What the evolution of Champagne’s drinking vessel—from coupe to flute to wine glass—says, not only about how the wine has changed, but how we, the drinkers, have changed.

“The Cocktail World’s Man Behind the Curtain” | Leslie Pariseau

From sewing his own Muppets to infusing mezcal with marijuana to inventing “fat-washing,” Don Lee’s intellect and curiosity have become legendary. Leslie Pariseau on the cocktail world’s one true renaissance man.

“Drinking Through Disney World” | Sarah Baird

On a quest to understand the adult allure of Disney World, Sarah Baird takes the underground “drinking around the world” challenge—11 drinks in Epcot’s 11 different “countries”—and lives to tell the tale.

“The Wines of Wall Street” | Christopher Ross

In the ’90s and early aughts, wines of a certain type became intrinsic to the Wall Street lifestyle, acting as a liquid corollary of the finance industry’s own hedonistic tendencies. But have things changed? Christopher Ross examines the evolution of Wall Street wine culture.

“Finding Truth in the Fictional TV Bar” | Jennifer Cacicio

From I Love Lucy to Cheers to It’s Always Sunny, Jennifer Cacicio pieces together 75 years of small-screen drinking to find out what the bar on television says about America’s intoxicated past, and present.

“What’s Bugging Unicorn Somm?” | Steven Grubbs

The anonymous Twitter personality “Unicorn Somm” has made a career out of lambasting famous wine professionals. But what’s behind it? Steven Grubbs contemplates the impact of social media on wine experience and asks whether “unicorn wines” are merely the new 100-point wines.

“Santorini Rediscovers Its Forgotten Wines” | Zachary Sussman

The dominant style of Santorini white wines—brisk, acid-driven and clean—are actually a very modern creation. Zachary Sussman explores a crop of producers reinterpreting a pre-industrial, barrel-fermented style known as “Nykteri”—a far more accurate representation of the island’s winemaking past.

“What a Night of Drinking in Portland Looks Like” | Leslie Pariseau, Dylan + Jeni

An unflappable mix of eccentric and enlightened, Portland, Oregon is currently amidst a mini-boom of drinking establishments. Dylan + Jeni capture its wonderful weirdness from afternoon cocktails to late night noodle bowls. This is Saturday Night in Portland.

“Is Wine Developing Its Own Version of Normcore?” | Jennifer Fiedler

Of late, the fashion world has seen the rise of “normcore,” a trend in which high-effort style is being replaced by everyman basics. Wine, it turns out, is experiencing its own version of the trend. Jennifer Fiedler on how blending in may be the new standing out.

“A Complete Tour of Manhattan, Led by a Manhattan Cocktail” | PUNCH, Fatstache

How does all that Manhattan get into the Manhattan? We trailed one little guy from the Freedom Tower to Wall Street to Times Square to find out. Behold, a tour of Manhattan from the point of view of a Manhattan cocktail.