Each month, we pull together a selection of drinking-related items that have, for one reason or another, grabbed the attention of PUNCH’s editors, who spend pretty much all day, every day surrounded by booze. Here’s what we’re into right now.
Gone Rumming at The Polynesian | Talia Baiocchi, Editor In Chief
I can count on one hand the number of rum and Cokes I’ve consumed in my life. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been particularly thrilled by the sweet smack of Coca-Cola Classic. Or perhaps it’s because, when I do drink it, it’s on the other end of a night of drinking, and I like to keep my culprits and saviors separate. But I have been converted. The Gone Rumming at Brian Miller’s new New York tiki bar, The Polynesian, is a triumph of (relative) minimalism. It’s a blend of four rums (Jamaican hiding in plain sight), Mexican Coke and lime. This drink isn’t about innovation—though there is alchemy in that rum blend to be sure—it’s about achieving perfect balance.
Primo’s Gibson | Jason Diamond, Deputy Editor
In the few weeks I’ve had to get to know my new PUNCH colleagues, three things I’ve probably hammered home is that I love drinking Gibsons, I like stinky foods and I’m a big fan of a good garnish. Part of the Gibson’s allure, is that it brings together all of those things through the little pickled pearl onion that will all but guarantee my wife won’t kiss me until I’ve popped some gum in my mouth. Recently opened in the Fredrick Hotel, Primo’s takes things a step further in the garnish department with the house Gibson that’s made with Monopolowa’s vodka (although the bartender had no problem swapping it out for gin when I asked). They’ve got the necessary onion, but they give it some company with a slice of piquillo pepper and a healthy sliver of white anchovy. It was so delicious, that from here on out, I’d humbly like to request that all my Gibsons come with a little piece of brined fish.
Domaine Glinavos “Paleokerisio” | Chloe Frechette, Assistant Editor
At Justin Yu’s Theodore Rex—the rousing second act from the James Beard Award-winning Houston chef—I first encountered what has since become a favorite fixture in my at-home drinks rotation. Domaine Glinavos ‘Paleokerisio’ is a traditional orange, semi-sparkling wine from the Ioannina region of Greece. Produced from the indigenous debina and vlahiko grape varietals, the off-dry Paleokerisio offers notes of oxidation on the nose and reads like a fruit-forward Lambic on the palate. The best part? It’s only $13 a bottle.
St. Agrestis Bottled Negroni | Allison Hamlin, Social Media Editor
With summer comes the season for all manner of BYOB occasions. These always bring a practical conundrum for those among us unsatisfied by bodega beer and too sticky to be bothered rifling through the back of the wine cooler for the last dregs of wispy pink summer water. Enter my new favorite party trick/aperitivo hour savior: a bottled, full-proof, party-size Negroni. St. Agrestis’s version is made with their own red bitter, Greenhook American dry gin and sweet vermouth, resulting in a drink a touch leaner and brighter than the traditional equal-parts formula. The 100mL bottles come four to a pack, which is good for making friends, I suppose? (Sorry not sorry if I can’t bear to share.) Add a straw and tuck a swath of orange peel right to the bottle and you’ve successfully become the MVP of BYOB.
Sundstrom Cider “Sponti” | Jon Bonné, Senior Contributing Editor
Wine rep Leif Sundstrom has been among those making the pilgrimage upstate to discover New York’s apple bounty, and as an expert in riesling, he brings a winey sensibility to his ciders. “Sponti” is the German nickname for spontaneous fermentation—letting yeasts work on their own—which was the case with this mix of several heirloom varieties from the Hudson and Champlain valleys. It shows a mineral backbone that, again, is reminiscent of great riesling, along with a pleasing bit of bretty musk. It’s exactly the sort of complexity that CiderWorld needs right now to keep adding new converts.
Cap Corse Mattei Blanc | Lizzie Munro, Senior Editor
Despite having a pretty ambitious office backbar, my end-of-day move is always to reach for something in the fridge. Though we’re currently stocked with plenty to choose from (including various choice rosés, a couple of bottled cocktails and lots of vermouth), as of late, my go-to has been Cap Corse Mattei Blanc, a bitter, Corsican aperitif. Made primarily with vermentinu grapes, plus a dose of muscat, then flavored with cinchona bark and citron, it’s lemony, just a little bit floral and great (presumably) with a splash of soda—though frankly, I’m just as happy to sip it on its own.
Saillard POP Pink Pet-Nat | Bianca Prum, Head of Partnerships
Plop down at the bar at NYC’s buzzy new Frenchette, and you’ll have a wealth of cocktail options from bar manager (and former PUNCH Bartender in Residence) Sarah Morrissey to choose from. But before you dive into an Eponine Collins, if you’re lucky, Morrissey will pour you a splash of something from the restaurant’s very fine wine list—like the Pop! rosé pét-nat from Laurent-Saillard. Fresh, slightly vegetal, but mostly just easy-drinking and happy, this is exactly what I want to drink before dinner on a warm summer evening. I foresee plenty of this delightful pink stuff in my future this summer.
Vin D’Orange Vermouth | Megan Krigbaum, Contributing Editor
“It’s more like Lillet than it is Dolin,” Samantha Sheehan told me, pouring her orange vermouth over a few ice cubes in a squat glass at El Molino in Sonoma. Sheehan’s the owner/winemaker for Poe wines in Napa, but she moonlights as a vermouth maker. Made from a base of Chardonnay from Mendocino and Sevilla oranges, this iteration is super juicy and pulpy mid-palate with a cinnamon, cardamom, star anise-spiced core and vanilla bean aromatics than makes it a little more substantial than other blanc vermouths. It even worked with enchiladas. To boost the oranginess, Sheehan collects organic orange peels from the orange juice machine at her local Whole Foods in Napa and adds them to her blend, benefiting from the bitterness of the oils there. I’ll take this over a big ice cube or with a little soda water.