A Spirited World History from Alchemists' Stills and Colonial Outposts to Gin Palaces, Bathtub Gin, and Artisanal Cocktails
“If you love a classic gin martini pour yourself one and tuck into this fascinating story … Oh, and make sure the gin bottle is full.” Dale Degroff
Gin has been a drink of kings, infused with crushed pearls and rose petals, and a drink of the poor, flavored with turpentine and sulfuric acid. Born in alchemists’ stills and monastery kitchens, its earliest incarnations were juniper-flavored medicines used to prevent plague, ease the pains of childbirth, and even to treat a lack of courage.
In this sweeping history, Richard Barnett traces the life of this beguiling spirit, once believed to cause a “new kind of drunkenness.” In the eighteenth century, gin-crazed debauchery (and class conflict) inspired Hogarth’s satirical masterpieces Gin Lane
and Beer Street.
In the nineteenth century, gin was drunk by Napoleonic War naval heroes, at lavish gin palaces, and by homesick colonials who mixed it with their bitter antimalarial tonics. In the early-twentieth century, the illicit cocktail culture of prohibition made ginthe often dangerous bathtub ginfashionable again. And today, with the growth of small-batch distilling, gin has once again made a comeback.
Wide-ranging, impeccably researched, and packed with illuminating stories, The Book of Gin
is lively and fascinating, an indispensible history of a complex and notorious drink.