Monday, January 29, 2018

Books I'm Reading: The Drunken Botanist

Amy Stewart's  The Drunken Botanist (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013), is a versatile book likely to be of interest to anyone with even a passing interest in the things we drink and the plants we grow. The main text is divided into three sections: a look at fermentation and distillation; a look at the main plant ingredients of the liquors and liqueurs that go into alcoholic beverages; and then a look at various plants used in mixers and garnishes. Within these sections, short briefs (one to four pages each) treat the plants covered. Interspersed are cocktail recipes that use ingredients described and even short notes on how to grow some of the plants mentioned. Thus, the book is part plant dictionary, part cocktail recipe book, and part a grower's guide. The main sections are subdivided by type of plant. For example, section two is divided into herbs and spices, flowers, trees, fruit, and nuts and seeds. That arrangement, alphabetical listing within sections, and a good index make it easy to use the book as a reference, but it's engaging enough to read straight through.

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