The Drunken Botanist

DSCN1749I’ve always loved pretty glass bottles, all the different shapes, colors, and how the light reflects through them.  Where is a more perfectly arranged, beautifully lit array of bottles than behind the bar at a great resort.  “This is horticulture!  In all these bottles!  How can anyone with even a passing interest in botany not be fascinated by this stuff?”   This is where Amy Stewart hooked me into reading her latest book. She begins with the letter A for agave and moves through plants all the way to wheat describing their use in making the booze of the world.

First she explores the fermentation and distillation involved in wine, beer and spirits.  Then she describes the flavorings used after the distillation to infuse the subtle flavors that separates for example one gin from another.  Here you venture into the plants of the forest for pine, juniper, bay leaf and cardamon. Finally she has you walking into your garden for the garnish needed to dress the glass. Think citrus, olives, onions, jalapeño and more, much more!IMG_1927

She includes 60 classic cocktail recipes with a shot of history and wit that informs and entertains.  Amy Stewart writes with enthusiasm about plants and gardens and her books, The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Bugs, Wicked Plants, and Flower Confidential are all New York Times bestsellers. Besides why not read a garden book that doesn’t urge you to grab a shovel but instead to wander about, glass in hand enjoying the flavors of the garden. Where safer to drink responsibly?

Published in the Newsletter of the Pacific Region of National Garden Clubs, August 2013

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