Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Drunken Botanist Hardcover – March 19, 2013
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2013: Peppered with fascinating facts and well-chosen anecdotes, Amy Stewart’s brisk tour of the origin of spirits acquaints the curious cocktail fan with every conceivable ingredient. Starting with the classics (from agave to wheat), she touches on obscure sources--including a tree that dates to the dinosaur age--before delving into the herbs, spices, flowers, trees, fruits, and nuts that give the world’s greatest drinks distinctive flavors. Along the way, you’ll enjoy sidebars on bugs in booze and inspired drink recipes with backstories that make lively cocktail party conversation. Like Wicked Plants, this delightfully informative, handsome volume isn’t intended as a complete reference or DIY guide, but it will demystify and heighten your appreciation of every intoxicating plant you imbibe. --Mari Malcolm
"Amy Stewart has a way of making gardening seem exciting, even a little dangerous." ―The New York Times
"Many boozy books have been published over the years, spilling over with fun facts about absinthe, grog and bathtub gin. What makes Stewart's book different is her infectious enthusiasm for the plants, their uses, their history, and the botanists who roamed the earth finding them. The result is intoxicating but in a fresh, happy, healthy way." ―USA Today
"The Drunken Botanist is a sipping book, not a quaffing book, best enjoyed in moderation...Part Ripley’s Believe It or Not, part compendium on the order of 'Schott’s Original Miscellany' and part botanical garden tour, albeit with a curated cocktail party at the end.... a companionable reference and whimsical recitation of historical-botanical trivia, with a little tart debunking." ―The Washington Post
"Sipping an evening cocktail while flipping through this fine volume, I discovered that Ms. Stewart knew how to change a run-of-the-mill cocktail into an intriguing one." ―The Wall Street Journal
"A book that makes familiar drinks seem new again…Through this horticultural lens, a mixed drink becomes a cornucopia of plants." ―NPR's Morning Edition
"Fascinating, well researched and instructive ― with appealing recipes too." ―Rosie Schaap, New York Times
"Gardening can be an intoxicating hobby, especially if the botany is booze-related." ―The Associated Press
Amazon's editors selected this title as a Best Book of the Month. See more about The Drunken Botanist on the Amazon Books blog, where Amy Stewart talks with James Beard Award winner Brad Thomas Parsons about bitters, botanicals, and the mad science of mixology.
Top customer reviews
There are all kinds of books out now covering mixology and the new cocktails, etc. What sets Amy's book apart is that she is a horticulturist, and she tells you about the fabulous plants that make or go into all the different kinds of fermented beverages man has come up with.
The book is divided into three parts:
1. Plants that are fermented to make the alcohol (wheat, potatoes, grapes, etc.)
2. Plants that are added to the alcohol (hops, gentian, aloe, etc.)
3. Plants that make up mixers and garnishes (spearmint, pomegranate, pepper, etc.)
Throughout the book, in the appropriate chapters, are recipes for 50 cocktails, and 13 syrups, infusions and garnishes, such as limoncello and "Brine your own olives".
This isn't a staid recitation of facts, but engaging, encompassing and trivia-filled reading. For example, the chapter on sugar cane (in part 1), tells you:
- the first and current places sugarcane is cultivated and how it is cultivated
- the botany of sugarcane
- how to make rum
- spirits made from sugar cane
- how rum became linked to British sailors
- drink recipes
Did you know that the British navy had rum rations for it's sailors until 1970! Do you know how to tell "real" tonic water from the cheap imitation? How about why a splash of water actually heightens the flavor of a spirit instead of diluting it?
There's a member of the iris family called Orris (part 2) which is used in almost every gin made. Yet is is cultivated on only 173 acres worldwide. Stewart writes, "Its popularity in perfume is due to the fact that it not only holds the fragrance in place but clings to the skin as well. It also happens to be a very common allergen, which explains why allergy sufferers might be sensitive to cosmetics and other fragrances - as well as gin."
I could write pages more about the great stories and tidbits of information contained in this book. I really had a fun time reading it.
The illustrations in "The Drunken Botanist" are fine, but they're stock illustrations. I miss Briony Morrow-Cribbs' and Jonathan Rosen's incredible drawings and engravings that were such enchanting - and vigorous - enhancements to Stewart's previous books, Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects and Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities.
Visit Stewart's website,
for links to plant and liquor sources. There are some heritage plants that can only be found in a couple places. and check out Redventure, a type of very slender red celery that is perfect for use as a swizzle stick!
I've been delving into cocktail books, and this is without a doubt the finest book in my library thus far. It's well-written, beautifully designed and printed, and easy to digest.
If you're dabbling in mixology, this is a great book to start with. The drink recipes are limited to the bare essentials, which can keep you from getting bogged down. If you're more serious about mixology, this book should without a doubt be the second book in your library. It teaches you how to make infusions and syrups, and will put everything you learn from your cocktail book into a delightful perspective.
If you're science, or history minded, absolutely grab this book; even though it's short, there's SO much information to digest, it'll probably take you months of reading pages here and there to finish it. I'm about 40% through it now, and from what I've seen, it absolutely couldn't be improved upon. A must own for intelligent people interested in gardening, as well as alcoholic drinks. There's even a website that sells all the herbs and plants she mentions in the book to make the mixed drinks she discusses.... so cool!
This book does not simply concern itself with plants. It uses the plants involved in the creation of various types of alcohol as jumping-off points for fascinating tidbits of history, biology, horticulture, archaeology, anthropology, all revolving around the common inclination of enjoying a cold drink.
Anyone who enjoys cocktails, beer, or wine will surely enjoy this book. Every type of alcohol you'd care to name, as well as some you've probably never hear of, are touched on here. Also included are gardening tips and cocktail recipes.
I wish that I had bought a hardcover copy, since it would make an informative and attractive coffee table book, but the Kindle version is also formatted well and easy to read.