Reviews for Drunken Botanist : The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks


AudioFile Reviews 2013 May
From the apples of hard cider to the lime garnish of a cocktail, plants are vital to the imbibing experience. Author Amy Stewart looks into every aspect of that connection, even providing plenty of recipes. Coleen Marco narrates the short pieces with gusto while respecting the informative nature of the material. She is delightfully entertaining as she tells listeners about the use of gunpowder to test rum and about the insects in figs and cherries, among many other topics. However, some things, like drink recipes and the variant spellings of "whiskey," may leave listeners wishing they'd bought the book in print to savor and use as a reference. Either way, this title is bound to entertain imbibers as it informs. J.A.S. (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 January #2
A comprehensive guide to the intersection of plants and booze. Fine Gardening contributor Stewart (Wicked Bugs: The Louse that Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects, 2011, etc.) brings together an encyclopedia of information on 160 plants from around the world that are often used in alcoholic beverages. Her enthusiasm is evident throughout, as she brings readers into "the dazzlingly rich, complex, and delicious lives of the plants that go into all those bottles behind the bar." Classic plants like grapes, apples, corn and sugarcane are just a few of the botanicals that Stewart examines. She also studies the herbs and spices used to flavor base alcohols, as well as elderflowers, hops, roses and violets, which will alert gardeners to the potential living in the garden. Stewart rounds out her in-depth coverage with a full section on fruit, including apricots and yuzus, and nuts and seeds like almonds and walnuts. The history of fermentation and distillation, the origins of plant-based medicines, tips on growing your own plants and more than 50 cocktail recipes add multiple layers to an already vast amount of information on botanicals. Gardeners, nature lovers and mixologists will find themselves reaching frequently for this volume; the hard part will be deciding what to try next as they discover that a liquor store is really "a fantastical greenhouse, the world's most exotic botanical garden, the sort of strange and overgrown conservatory we only encounter in our dreams." A rich compendium of botanical lore for cocktail lovers. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 August #1

Stewart (coauthor, Wicked Plants) provides listeners with an encyclopedic guide to the plants used throughout history to produce alcohol. She reviews those grains for making beers, whiskeys, and spirits; grapes that go into wines and liquors; and the herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, flowers, trees, and fungi that enhance their flavors. The author also covers the many methods employed to distill, brew, and otherwise make alcohol. Recipes for a wide range of cocktails appear throughout. VERDICT All of this makes for informative and enjoyable listening, especially with Collen Marlo's lively reading. However, this work is probably better suited in print as a reference work. That being said, listeners wanting an excellent introduction to cocktails will find this title both enlightening and entertaining. ["This highly entertaining book will please both cocktail enthusiasts and backyard gardeners. The inclusion of rich history throughout will delight armchair historians and the naturally curious," read the starred review of the Algonquin hc, LJ 2/15/13.--Ed.]--Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ. Parkersburg Lib.

[Page 46]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 February #2

Stewart's (Wicked Bugs; Wicked Plants) new book explores the botanical beginnings of our favorite drinks. Like her previous books, it is so rich in details, little-known facts, and actual science, that readers won't even notice they are reading an encyclopedia. Each plant description includes history, propagation, and usage details. Stewart includes sidebars with recipes, field guides, planting instructions, a description of the role of bugs in getting from seed to plant to table, and in-depth historical details. She includes archaeological finds such as the presence of barley beer on clay pot fragments dated to 3400 B.C.E. and the legal details that changed the course of birch beer, which started as a mildly alcoholic beer, morphed into a soft drink during Prohibition, and recently began to be produced as a liqueur. VERDICT With more than 50 drink recipes, and growing tips, this highly entertaining book will please both cocktail enthusiasts and backyard gardeners. The inclusion of rich history throughout will delight armchair historians and the naturally curious. Highly recommended.--Ann Wilberton, Pace Univ. Lib., Brooklyn, NY

[Page 116]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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