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Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History + Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits + Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762779268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762779260
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants, and culinary travel. Since 2001, he has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Art & Antiques, and Newsmax. From 1999-2011 he hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.


More About the Author

Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. Since 2001, he has been the Wine & Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Art & Antiques and Newsmax. From 1999-2011 he hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Very interesting reading.
7city
Witty & intoxicating - a must read for any industry professional, serious connoisseur of spirits, or anyone looking for a great book!
Wayne
It is obvious Mr. Spivak has done an incredible amount of research in the compilation of this "intoxicating history."
Daphne N.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stacie Gorkow on January 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
ICONIC SPIRITS is not my usual type of book, but the history of spirits and their creators intrigued me. My husband has been having fun creating cocktails and trying out different drinks and I thought this book would appeal to both of us. The cocktail culture has exploded over the last several years with restaurants selling high dollar cocktails and drink menus pages long. Men and women are putting bars in their homes and making their own wines and beer. The cocktail culture is strong and growing.

I have to admit that some of the spirits mentioned in the book were ones I had never heard of. But the evolution of how drinks were made was quite interesting. Having toured wineries in California, I am familiar with the distilling process and was surprised at the levels of flavors and length of time some of the spirits need to evolve before being bottled. Patience is definitely a virtue with a lot of these businessmen.

Nearly each one of the creators came from meager beginnings and just had an idea. Each of them had a strong determination to make their dream a reality and fought through prohibition, wars, bad economies, and clearly came out ahead...most living as millionaires.

I think my favorite story came from Jean Paul DeJoria. In 2010, he was 66th on the list of Forbes 400th wealthiest Americans. DeJoria is the cofounder of John Paul Mitchell Systems (hair care products) and surprisingly, also of Patron Tequila. He grew up in a foster home, joined the Navy, became homeless and was a single dad. He sold Coke bottles to buy food and eventually got a job at Redken Laboratories. That led him and a friend to create John Paul Mitchell Systems. Then one day, drinking with another friend, he was given tequila in beautiful hand blown bottles from Mexico.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Schechet on November 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I could not put this book down. It cost me a night's sleep. It's a fascinating, wonderfully written history of a dozen spirits and of the spirits industry. But it also chronicles spirits influence on both mainstream history and current pop culture. Who knew that the British Empire almost fell because a significant percent of its population was constantly drunk on gin, or that the first NASCAR drivers were former moonshine runners, or that some people successfully decide what you will spend lots of money on and then create it? You couldn't make this stuff up. What a wonderful read for you or a gift for others. Even teetotalers would love these stories.
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Format: Kindle Edition
In ICONIC SPIRITS: AN INTOXICATING HISTORY, Mark Spivak serves up a wonderful "cocktail" of politics and pop culture, liquor and lore - with a twist-- expertly debunking myths and bringing legends to life. The storytelling is sublime as are the classic recipes that round out this fun and interesting tome. I particularly loved learning about the "Doctrine of Dewarism" and how the Juniper Berry almost took down the British Empire.

I highly recommend the book -- wrap it up with your favorite bottle and give it as a gift to the consummate entertainer, spirits connoisseur or history buff in your life. They will love it!
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By Shalah A. Smith on February 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The stories behind the names, very entertaining. I am going to buy several copies as gifts...he is much more than just a wine guy!
Shalah Smith
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loved the unique take on this book. Anyone who's into cocktails and spirits will enjoy reading this. The author also has a great pod cast series.
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By Daphne N. on June 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I originally picked up this book for research, but I found myself drawn in by the narrative. It is obvious Mr. Spivak has done an incredible amount of research in the compilation of this "intoxicating history." His writing style is fluid with a bit of a bite in places, and the information he has gathered is comprehensive and intriguing. There are many "I didn't know that!" moments. For example, London's Gin Craze, circa the eighteenth century, was a dark period when 15 percent of the city's population was addicted to the spirit to such a degree that prostitution, disease, rape, and murder had become everyday occurrences. And I loved his wry comparison of absinthe to the apple in the Garden of Eden. Very, very well done. I recommend it to anyone interested in history and culture--whether they are drinkers or not.
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Format: Hardcover
Written by award-winning writer Mark Spivak, who specializes in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel, these absorbing portraits of moonshine, vodka, Cognac, and more are complemented by historical photos and recipes.

What a refreshingly different offering to the world of non-fiction. While I only drink the occasional cocktail, I was drawn to Spivak's book for the history behind these spirits that had such an impact on our world. Who knew moonshine could be so thrilling? Full of interesting details on the societies and eras into which these spirits were born, this is how history should be shared. If all history books were this engaging, no one would ever complain of it being boring.

Spivak's wealth of knowledge combined with his conversational style make this book a winner. I couldn't tear myself away. Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.
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