If you need a Christmas present for someone who enjoys alcohol and history and has a great sense of humour, then this is a superb book for you! (If you can part with it)
The authors are well known for their weekly drinks column in the Daily Telegraph, UK, and also for writing a book on beer in the USA. They wrote and performed “The thinking drinkers’ guide to alcohol” at the Edinburgh Festival, where it was very well received.
The book is divided into sections: Beer and Cider, Wine, Whiskey, Tequila, Vodka, Rum, Gin and Aperitifs and Nightcaps. Each section begins with a fascinating and humorous look at the History and Culture of the particular type of alcohol. This is followed by a chart showing the development of the various alcoholic drinks.
The next section discusses Legendary People and their associations with alcohol. Jesus Christ is mentioned, as the authors believe he turned the water into beer rather than wine, at the wedding. They followed this up with a logical argument to support this idea.
Gerard Depardieu is shown as a wine lover who owns many vineyards throughout the world, and when relaxed, only drinks three or four bottles of wine a day. In the time of Plato, in Classical Greece, symposia took place where attendees drank wine. It was drunk slowly, its flow moderated by a symposiarch, who would dilute the wine with water, according to the seriousness of the subject.
The section on wine outlines ten things that you should know about wine, including the origin of the word “plonk.” It demystifies the story that we’ve all heard about the shape of a champagne glass. In the whiskey section, Robbie Burns is said to have had, “whiskey percolated through his prose”. Cowboys and Calamity Jane are all mentioned as being serious whiskey drinkers.
In each section, notable examples and anecdotes are given for individual spirits, wine and beer. Many recipes are also given for cocktails and some sections give information on foods to be eaten with a particular wine.
This is a wonderfully informative coffee-table book. It is filled with humorous stories, charts, photographs, lists and packed with easy to read information. The “ten things you need to know about —-” is a great section for snippets of unusual facts. This is a most enjoyable book to open up at any page and read.
|Author||Ben McFarland &Tom Sandham|