While some may wonder, “Does the world really need another flavored vodka?” no one answers this question quite so memorably as spirits writer and raconteur Jason Wilson does in Boozehound . (By the way, the short answer is no.) A unique blend of travelogue, spirits history, and recipe collection, Boozehound explores the origins of what we drink and the often surprising reasons behind our choices.
In lieu of odorless, colorless, tasteless spirits, Wilson champions Old World liquors with hard-to-define flavors—a bitter and complex Italian amari , or the ancient, aromatic herbs of Chartreuse, as well as distinctive New World offerings like lively Peruvian pisco. With an eye for adventure, Wilson seeks out visceral experiences at the source of production—visiting fields of spiky agave in Jalisco, entering the heavily and reverently-guarded JÄgermeister herb room in WolfenbÜttel, and journeying to the French Alps to determine if mustachioed men in berets really handpick blossoms to make elderflower liqueur.
In addition, Boozehound offers more than fifty drink recipes, from three riffs on the Manhattan to cocktail-geek favorites like the Aviation and the Last Word. These recipes are presented alongside a host of opinionated essays that cherish the rare, uncover the obscure, dethrone the overrated, and unravel the mysteries of taste, trends, and terroir. Through his far-flung, intrepid traveling and tasting, Wilson shows us that perhaps nothing else as entwined with the history of human culture is quite as much fun as booze.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Religion eBook: Boozehound|
|Release Date: 09-21-2010|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Ten Speed Press|
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The Ombibulous Me
They talk of my drinking but never my thirst.
The first liquor i ever experienced, as a teenager, was sambuca—the anise liqueur often served after dinner in Italian restaurants, with three coffee beans for good luck. The only reason for this is because, in our house, a lonely bottle of sambuca sat at the back of our kitchen pantry, hidden behind the hodgepodge bottles of Chivas Regal, Canadian Club, and VO. My parents didn’t drink whiskey—they were the type of baby boomers who as young adults had eschewed spirits and cocktails for the pleasures of wine—and so they likely kept those bottles on hand solely for guests who liked whiskey. As for why sambuca lurked in a dark corner of our shelf, I have never discovered an explanation. We are not Italian-Americans. It’s not as if my parents were jet-setting in Portofino (more like Ocean City, New Jersey). And we’d never hosted a foreign exchange student. Perhaps it was a gift from a guest, someone who believed that my parents might enjoy a bracing, licorice-tasting after-dinner spirit? In that case, it was one of the most misguided gifts of all time.
However, since this bottle of sambuca sat totally untouched and unmonitored, it ended up being the perfect liquor for a sixteen-year-old boy and his friends. My parents were occasionally out to dinner, and so after the police had broken up a keg party in the woods or on the eleventh hole of the local golf course and we were suddenly out of Milwaukee’s Best, my friends and I would find ourselves rummaging deep in my family’s pantry for our now-favorite Italian digestivo.