PUNCH Turns Three: Our Favorite Stories from the Last Year

In honor of our third birthday, here's a look back at our favorite stories from the last twelve months.

Three whole years ago, PUNCH was born into the world on the backs of countless bottles of wine, misguided nightcaps and frozen Margaritas. We’ve come a long way in those 1,095 days, and in the last year in particular we’ve expanded in ways we couldn’t have imagined on launch day.

The triple threat that is Lizzie Munro joined us as Associate Editor, heading up our short-form content and making PUNCH at least 20 times more beautiful with her photography (on display, most recently here, here and here). She’s also given us two of our favorite new columns, “Shit We Found on eBay” and “Masters of X.” Chloe Frechette also joined our team as Assistant Editor and unofficial mascot, bringing her background knowledge of cocktail history and design to a number of regular features, like “Bringing It Back Bar,” “Makes Everything Better” and “Anatomy Of.” Just last month, Allison Hamlin joined the team as Social Media Editor, in charge of making all of our channels prettier, and more consistent. And, last but not least, Megan Krigbaum came on board as a Contributing Editor, alongside Senior Contributing Editor, Jon Bonné. Add those two to Zachary Sussman and Jennifer Fiedler, and we’re pretty confident that we’ve got the wine game on lock.

This year, Drew Lazor also kicked off a new guide to drinking games around the world, “House Rules,” while Wayne Curtis’ freshly minted “Spirit Guide” offers a monthly breakdown of what’s hot in spirits, and what to buy. We also added “Deep Dive,” a monthly column wherein we send writers back to their college bars to see how it—and they—have changed. And we’ve increased the number of photo-driven narrative stories on PUNCH, which will only become a more important part of our editorial as we grow into our fourth year.

Through it all, we’ve had the honor of working with many, many talented writers, photographers, illustrators, sommeliers, distillers, brewers and bartenders. To all of you, we say: Thank you. We wouldn’t be PUNCH without you.

In honor of our third birthday, here’s a look back at 20 of our favorite stories from the last twelve months.

Let Us Now Retire the Whiskey Woman | Courtney Balestier

The latest in a lineage of “bro-girl” archetypes, the “whiskey-drinking woman” has become such a common trope in pop culture that she’s now a cliché. But who is this woman? Courtney Balestier on her genesis, and why it’s time to put the stereotype to rest.

The Making of Mission Chinese’s Interactive Cocktail Shrines | Lizzie Munro

Inspired by the sidewalk art found in New York’s Chinatown, Mission Chinese beverage director Sam Anderson turns cocktails into elaborate installations. Lizzie Munro follows Anderson as he builds his latest “cocktail shrine.”

Who the Hell Invented Edward Fortyhands? | Aaron Goldfarb

From whence came the genius who first suggested taping 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor or beer to each hand? Aaron Goldfarb seeks out the origin stories of the idiotic, and ever-popular, Edward Fortyhands.

What is Authenticity in Wine? | Zachary Sussman

What do you do when a region challenges your notions of how to define authenticity in wine? Zachary Sussman on how the Styria region of Austria is reshaping the perception of “identity”—and sauvignon blanc—in the wine world.

A Bar Crawl Through the Craft Cocktail Revival | Robert Simonson

Most of the bars that kicked off the NYC cocktail revival are still as relevant as ever. Robert Simonson and Daniel Krieger go on a tour of the bars (and drinks) that started it all.

Can a Wine List Help Narrow the Gender Gap? | Jon Bonné

In spite of a legion of talented women winemakers, wine’s gender inequality persists. Jon Bonné on how the wine list at Tartine’s new outpost is working to quietly battle gender inequality, and why showing rather than telling may be the best way forward.

Who Killed the Cocktail? | Christopher Ross

From the vantage of our current craft cocktail renaissance, it’s easy to identify the cocktail’s Dark Age. It’s much harder to pinpoint the exact individuals who were responsible for it all. Christopher Ross goes on the hunt for the culprit—and finds that we may only have ourselves to blame.

This Is How You Drink Through Koreatown | Matt Rodbard

Matt Rodbard and Deuki Hong, authors of Koreatown, took the PUNCH crew on a five-hour drinking crawl through NYC’s Koreatown for a taste of traditional bar food, drinking games and the ungodly amount of booze that fuels it all. This is what went down.

Meet the New Martini | Kara Newman

Subtle upgrades are making the world’s most nuanced drink worth seeking out all over again. Kara Newman unravels the postmodern Martini.

Inside One of NOLA’s Greatest Hidden Jazz Bars | Sarah Baird

Bullet’s Sports Bar is a no-fuss neighborhood bar that also happens to feature some of the best jazz acts in New Orleans. Sarah Baird on the 7th Ward’s hidden live-music gem.

Where Are All the “Rebel” Women Winemakers? | Jennifer Fiedler

Despite strides made in greater numbers of women working as winemakers—many of whom are leading the conversation in their respective regions—the faces of wine’s fringe and counter-culture movements have remained disproportionately male. Are things (finally) changing?

How the Bloody Mary Lost Its Mind | Christopher Ross

Over the course of a century, the Bloody Mary has gone from urbane to mainstream to outsized social media fodder. Christopher Ross tracks the evolution of the drink—and its garnish arms race—and finds that it may be a spot-on reflection of our times.

In Search of the True Vinho Verde | Zachary Sussman

Long synonymous with slightly fizzy wines meant to be thrown back with abandon, Portugal’s Vinho Verde region is looking to prove that it’s capable of a whole lot more. Zachary Sussman on the region’s dueling identities, and the search for what will come to define the next generation of Vinho Verde wines.

Inside One of San Francisco’s Last Hofbraus | Laura Kiniry

Once found throughout Northern California, the number of hofbraus—German-inspired bar-restaurants with cheap beer and food—has dwindled to a handful. Laura Kiniry on the Bay Area’s holdouts, including the iconic Tommy’s Joynt.

The Bar Where Nobody Knows Your Name | Courtney Balestier

What does the bar by which we judge all other bars look like today? In “Deep Dive,” we send writers back to their college haunts to find out what treasures they still hold. Up now: Courtney Balestier hits McClafferty’s in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Wine Collecting Beyond the Bloodsport | Jon Bonné

In the last 20 years, wine collecting has become a rarefied sport, fraught with testosterone-fueled auctions and scandalizing fraud. But there is still longevity and value to be found in affordable wines—if you know where to look. Jon Bonné on how we got here, and how to play the game by playing outside of it.

Inside Houston’s Iconic West Alabama Ice House | Nicholas Hall

In his “Bar Tripping” column, photographer Daniel Krieger travels the world to capture its most unique and photogenic bars. This week, he hits Houston’s West Alabama Ice House, a watering hold that’s been offering cold beer, food and community to an ever-changing neighborhood for nearly a century.

The Craft Cocktail Menu Gets Conceptual | Robert Simonson

Rather than simply changing with the seasons, some notable cocktail bars are adopting menus that adhere to a (often intangible) theme, like Route 66 or Civil War treason, where the drinks are part of the narrative. Robert Simonson on the rise of the “concept menu” and what’s inspiring it.

The Second Coming of the Jungle Bird | Kara Newman

Once a bitter outlier in the tiki canon, the Jungle Bird’s growing popularity has given rise to a whole new catalogue of riffs on the original. Kara Newman on the appeal of the drink among bartenders and what Jungle Bird 2.0 looks like.

Inside the Madcap World of Bartending Competitions | Christopher Ross

Bartending competitions have become entrenched in the cocktail industry, with hundreds of them held each year across the world. But why? Christopher Ross delves into the spectacle of these showdowns and the psychological appeal they bear.

Tagged: beer, cocktails, spirits, wine

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