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Alcoholica Esoterica: A Collection of Useful and Useless Information As It Relates to the History andC onsumption of All Manner of Booze Paperback – September 27, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ian Lendler is the author of An Undone Fairy Tale and coauthor of Chelsea Clinton’s Freshman Notebook. The former humor editor for IndiePlanet.com, in 2000 he co-founded the humor Web site Freedonian.com, which was featured in Time Out New York, Gear Magazine, and on CNN.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (September 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143035975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143035978
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #536,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Lendler is, first and foremost, a person.

After that, the details get a bit sketchy. We're pretty sure he has two arms and two legs. There are rumors of a third thumb, which you may laugh about now but let's see what you think 1,000 years from now when evolution decides that three thumbs is way better because you can use can-openers more efficiently and hitchhike with aplomb and everyone will laugh about the old days when everyone was a "two-thumber."

But I digress.

I am a writer. My books are below. I sincerely hope you enjoy them. Kirkus has called my writing "ridiculously entertaining." My children have called me "embarrassing." Feel free to drop me a line and tell me your thoughts. I live near San Francisco, CA. Thank you for visiting.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By review finder on November 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Alcoholica Esoterica offers the dish on every type of spirit in the liquor cabinet, from absinthe to vodka, and in "Mount Lushmore" assembles a Drunkards' Hall of Fame that enshrines Dean Martin, W.C. Fields, Dorothy Parker, Humphrey Bogart and Winston Churchill. The book's shape -- 4 by 8 inches -- makes it easy to remove from a back pocket while parked on a bar stool. But Lendler recognizes the danger: He warns readers they could turn into Cliff Clavin, the trivia-spouting mailman of TV's "Cheers." "I learned tons of interesting anecdotes and facts" while researching the book, Lendler writes. "I was the nightmare of every party."

His book is loaded with bar-bet-ready snippets of infotainment. Did you know, for instance, that folks back in the day boozed so often because water was fetid and alcohol killed the germs? Or that Johnny Appleseed was traipsing through the 18th-century wilderness planting apple trees to be "used for one reason and one reason only -- to make hard cider"? These tidbits are habit-forming. One is too many and a dozen aren't enough."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kirkus Review on September 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
"A ridiculously entertaining collection of alcohol-related facts and tidbits, gathered together and chuckled over by Ian Lendler.

In this wry book of alcoholic anecdotes, Lendler covers significant ground in the Land of Booze. One moment he tenders a neat little bar trick-drop a raisin in a glass of champagne and it will circulate in perpetual motion from the bottom of the glass to the top and back again-then delivers, still in a jazzy tone, a compact history of fortified wines. There are vest-pocket profiles of giants he would carve on Mount Lushmore-W.C. Fields, Humphrey Bogart, Dean Martin, Dorothy Parker, Winston Churchill-and scads of useless information to while away happy hour: how many berries, herbs, roots and flowers are required for making vermouth; the origin of the word "binge"; why Oktoberfest is called Oktoberfest even though it's celebrated in September; and some profoundly disturbing hangover-cure hokum, such as ground swallow's beaks in myrrh (ancient Assyria) and rubbing half a lemon in the pit of your drinking arm (Puerto Rico).

Raise a glass to Lendler, then grab the nearest person you can find and reel off a few tidbits from this collection of gloriously mirthful arcana. "
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Funky Mom on September 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Alright, sorry for the bad pun, but this is a very funny book. The bartender at my local pub was reading this and I joined it. I didn't know half this stuff. I especially loved the part about the brewery in england in the 1800's that built the biggest beer vat ever seen. Too bad it burst and sent a wall of beer down the street wiping out buildings and people too!

i totally recomend this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gustavo F. Olivares on March 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
This was a fun book to read and reread from cover to cover. Each chapter was entertaining and informative with interesting tid-bits, historical caveats, and famous quotes. If you want to impress (or bore) your friends with seldom-known facts or off-the-wall stories about their favorite drink, then buy this book. This book is the best accompiament to a good dram of single malt scotch.
Cheers!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Boozy Smurf on October 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure whether this book is better read in the bathroom or in a bar. it's got all teh quick funny info that you expect from good bathroom reading, but it makes you wanna grab a beer while you're reading it. But in a good way, not some degenerate, Bukowksi kinda thing. Seriously, when this book isn't being funny, it's telling interesting history. Two pints up!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Melanie K. Wellner on January 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband is a wine writer for our local newspaper so I purchased this book for him. He liked the book so much that he did a side-bar to his last article with the following review:

More than just a book about wine this is "a collection of useful and useless information as it relates to the history and consumption of all manner of booze." There is a remarkable amount of information packed into this entertaining and offbeat book. You're likely to find yourself reading it two or three times because it is impossible to remember all the frivolous and factual trivia Lender offers up. For example, an Italian café owner created the beverage Compari in 1860 but it became wildly popular in the U.S. during Prohibition where it was considered a digestive bitter, not alcohol. It just happened to be 48 proof.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By 02128 on November 2, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most books in this category are well, boring. They go into history and process, and science, with the kind of zeal and skill as a second grade teacher who just had a huge paycut and has been off cigarettes for two weeks...but this book is totally different. It's progression is organized but witty. It lists the funny stuff that no one else will tell you and yet you'll still learn the science and history and process behind varying alcohol. Just like it starts out...all Alcohol is basically yeast poop. Champagne has a psi of 90 (or 3x your car tire) and was called devil wine by the monks who were injured by the exploding bottles. See now that's interesting!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harkness on May 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a highly entertaining collection of brief, oversimplified and amusing (sometimes incorrect) facts about alcohol. A bathroom reader if I ever saw one. If that's what you're looking for then by all means buy this.
But do take his advice seriously, drink while you read it so that you won't notice the typos (e.g. "There are a number of theories explaining why we clink glasses with our companions before taking the first sip but there are a number of theories." pg 11). Also, if you are looking for something that will actually inform you about the history of alcohol then look elsewhere. This book got a few facts wrong in the very first pages and continued to do so throughout. Finally, the ink was printed very thin on several pages making it difficult to read at times.

In short: a fun, light book. Buy it on sale.
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Alcoholica Esoterica: A Collection of Useful and Useless Information As It Relates to the History andC onsumption of All Manner of Booze
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