Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Book Review- "Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol"
I don't generally review books, but I'm probably going to be doing more of these in the future. Iain Gately's latest work is a fairly comprehensive look at alcohol throughout history. Its an interesting read, filled with a number of obscure and unusual details (lets just say that I've got a lot of new ideas for drink names now). I'd suggest that no serious cocktail enthusiast go without this one on the bookshelf.
Starting with the Sumerians, and then moving into the Greeks, Aztecs and Romans before moving into more modern times. I learned that the Aztecs had a drinking age of 52 (I'd still have a few years to go), the Greeks had much more complex symposiums than I'd realized and the Huns drank a beverage made from mare's milk (and I thought pulque was rough). This is a large book (500 pages) that manages to take on the task of a comprehensive history of alcohol while at the same time remaining lively and readable.
I haven't been able to put this one down since I began reading it. I've gotten to rationing myself a few pages at a time to savor the quality writing and also to have time to digest all of the information packed so densely into these pages.
This is one book that serious cocktail afficionados need to add to their reading list and should be required reading for anyone hoping to be or currently practicing the craft of bartending.