Disclaimer: I do not drink. So why read a book about drinks? I must say, I have a fascination with the science behind the making of alcohol. I visited a Whisky distillery in Scotland and a Pisco distillery in Chile, so I am a bit of an enthusiast. I am also a personal fan of Amy Stewart’s books and wondered how she could inject her love of plants into a book about booze. Happily, she also loves a good drink so those two loves collided to make a truly interesting read.
Stewart’s book is organized a bit like a textbook. It is divided into three parts. In each portion Stewart adds drink recipes, histories and anecdotes about the origin and the way certain spirits are made, as well as tips on how to grow various plants to use in liquors. Stewart’s writing style is both personal and a bit tongue in cheek. I enjoyed her philosophy about appreciating liquor rather than drinking to get drunk. She also has advice as to where to get good quality spirits. For a non drinker like me, this book was a revelation. Who knew that salt and lime was to disguise a mixture that is NOT tequila? Who knew saki should not be warm when consumed? In addition to books, Stewart should teach drinking etiquette classes.
I like a book that teaches me things I didn’t know, and this book did. Stewart’s audience for this book is sure to be varied and I believe she did a wonderful job giving each person what they might be hoping to find. The only issue I have was the ending. It goes on about various plants you can add into cocktails. While interesting, it didn’t fit the obvious format of the book and seemed unnecessary. With that slight nit-picky critique, I would still suggest this book to my master gardner friends, as well as my booze loving buddies. It has a wide appeal.