This Week’s Best Drink Reads

Welcome to The PUNCHbowl, a weekly installment where we share our favorite longreads on all things drinks and nightlife. This week, we traced ginger beer’s rise in the U.S., studied China’s investments in wine and remembered the man who changed drinking culture forever.

While a love of ginger beer is a given for many in the UK, the centuries-old drink has largely been ignored Stateside, where watered-down ginger ale has reigned supreme—until now. Ginger beer is, undeniably, having a boom in popularity in the U.S., and though it might be easy to credit the sudden surge to the craft cocktail boom, there’s more to the shift than that. Sarah Baird maps out the drink’s spicy revival in America. [Eater]

When chef Maneet Chauhan—of Chopped, Iron Chef America and Chauhan Ale and Masala House in Nashville—wanted to pair her Indian dishes with beers imbued with complementary, traditional flavors, she went the DIY route, establishing Mantra Artisan Ales and brewing her own. Food Republic takes a look at Chauhan’s venture into the beer world. [Food Republic]

In the New York Times essay that ruffled many a feather this week, a former waiter at a top New York restaurant dishes about what it’s really like to serve high-end tasting menus and expensive wines to the rich and famous. A look at everything from servers competing to describe wines with the least helpful descriptors to strokes in the middle of service to the sometimes-strange behaviors of the rarefied. [The New York Times]

TONG Magazine explores China’s recent forays into the wine world—namely, its investments in France and Australia. What do these developments tell us about the big picture of international wine production? [TONG Magazine]

In the wake of the tragic and unexpected passing of Sasha Petraske, Grub Street has released a previously unpublished transcript from a 2014 interview with the legendary bartender and bar-owner. In the excerpt, Petraske describes his perfect New York weekend, which includes visits to Wall Street, Bemelmans Bar, Michael Jordan’s Steak House and, of course, Milk & Honey. [Grub Street]

[Photo: Flickr/RyAwesome]