The Book of Gin: A Spirited World History from Alchemists' Stills and Colonial Outposts to Gin Palaces, Bathtub Gin, and Artisanal Cocktails

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Grove/Atlantic, Inc., Dec 4, 2012 - History - 304 pages
19 Reviews
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, even to treat a lack of courage.

In The Book of Gin, Richard Barnett traces the life of this beguiling spirit, once believed to cause a “new kind of drunkenness.” In the eighteenth century, gin-craze 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 anti-malarial tonics. In the early twentieth century, the illicit cocktail culture of prohibition made gin – often dangerous bathtub gin—fashionable 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.
  

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Review: The Book of Gin: A Spirited World History from Alchemists' Stills and Colonial Outposts to Gin Palaces, Bathtub Gin, and Artisanal Cocktails

User Review  - Alex Orr - Goodreads

I've read a good number of books on the history of booze, both general and spirit specific, and this is a pretty good entry in the field. First off, if you're expecting this to be a scientific tome ... Read full review

Review: The Book of Gin: A Spirited World History from Alchemists' Stills and Colonial Outposts to Gin Palaces, Bathtub Gin, and Artisanal Cocktails

User Review  - Becki Iverson - Goodreads

I really, really wanted to like this... but for one of the first times ever, I just couldn't finish it. It wasn't bad, exactly, but it was no Mark Kurlansky. I got about halfway through and stopped. That's about all I can say ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
Rough Spirits
40
The Infernal Principle
81
From Chinchón to Martinez
118
The Silver Bullet
146
Epilogue
181
Appendix
189
The Hogarth Sampler
222
Notes
241
Bibliography
253
Acknowledgements
261
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Richard Barnett has taught at the University of Cambridge and University College London. His writing has appeared in Time Out and The Lancet, among other publications, and he is the author of Medical London: City of Diseases, City of Cures. He lives in London.

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