This Week’s Best Drinks Reads

Welcome to The PUNCHbowl, a weekly installment where we share our favorite longreads on all things drinks and nightlife. This week, we reconsidered how we talk about wine, went for a ride-along on the streets of the French Quarter and peeked into the booze-inflected mind of famed sportswriter Jim Dent.

What do we really mean when we say a wine tastes like “strawberry bubble gum with tar”? Or “pâte de fruit, hoisin sauce, warm ganache, and well-roasted applewood”? The New Yorker traces the origins of this esoteric style of tasting notes and how it came to be so widely used, and ponders whether there is a new way to approach talking about wine. [The New Yorker]

Writer Jim Dent is most well-known for his best-selling book The Junction Boys, and possibly second-best-known for the raging alcohol problem that has defined both his work and life. “‘I don’t drink when I write…but I can write on a hangover. I’ve been known to write a 5,000-word chapter in one day,’” Dent—who once dodged arrest for multiple oustanding DWIs in Texas by fleeing to San José Del Cabo for nearly a year—tells D Magazine. Here, a profile of the alcohol-soaked rise, fall and return of a brilliant sportswriter. [D Magazine]

The Dead Rabbit received the title of World’s Best Bar in large part for its beautifully-made cocktails, of course, but also for the way it honors the rich, gritty history of the neighborhood it’s in—and that of its founders—through its menu and atmosphere. Food Republic has the oral history of the founding of this gem and the old New York stories that inspired it. [Food Republic]

Private police forces are big business: across the States, there are three times more private officers than public. And in New Orleans, where the police force has shrunk drastically since Katrina, one man and his hired security team—summonable via app, not unlike Uber for armed protection—are responsible for patrolling one of the most popular tourist and nightlife destinations in America: the French Quarter. The New York Times goes on a ride-along with Sidney Torres, the garbage magnate-turned-Bruce Wayne who’s helping to fight crime on the increasingly dangerous streets of The Big Easy. [The New York Times]

Finally, from Aztec pulque to the first punches in the 1730s to the alcoholic energy drinks of the early aughts, The Atlantic illustrates the grand history of human boozing. [The Atlantic]

[Photo: Flickr/Michela Simoncini]