For a woman whose apartment has essentially been transformed into the best bar in Brooklyn, it’s a true miracle that Talia Baiocchi is able to get anything done at all. But the fact is, she’s found a way to be super-productive despite all the bottles of sherry that surround her and the daily 3 o’clock beer she has while writing. Baiocchi, the former wine editor for Eater and a writer for numerous publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, is in the midst of writing a book all about sherry (called Sherry, in fact, and scheduled to be published next fall by Ten Speed Press). And today she launched Punch, a website devoted to exploring the world of cocktails, spirits and wine, through the eyes of talented writers, photographers, videographers and bartenders. Here, the plan for Punch.
What’s the big idea behind Punch? From the beginning, the conversation Leslie Pariseau (Punch’s deputy editor) and I have been having is that there were all these super-creative, interesting publications happening around food that were so exciting, like Swallow and Lucky Peach, but the same things weren’t happening with the same sort of energy around drinks. What’s happening in wine, cocktails and spirits—particularly in America—is so exciting. I also believe that as wine is a generational thing to a degree, I think that the younger generations—if they’re interested in cocktails and they’re interested in wine—it’s not one or the other. These two things are finding a place of convergence that was never there before in a way that never really seemed to be there before. People want a little more thought applied to cocktail writing. And wine writing’s been a little bit heavy. I think people want to bring it down a little. We can find a little more energy in talking about all those things. We’re planning to put out 40 or 50 pieces a month.
Who’s Punch intended for? I know it sounds like a cop out, but I think the reader is someone, obviously, who’s interested in going out to bars and drinking. But I think it’s also people who are interested in food and dining out. And I think it’s for someone who is curious and to wants to learn a little bit more. We’ve put together a great group of writers that includes great drinks writers but also people from outside that world. I want it to be the kind of place where if you landed on Punch, you would feel like it was something you could read even if you didn’t have a certain amount of knowledge. For example, we’re looking at not just how tequila is made, but we’re looking at how these things affect people’s lives in different ways.