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"A myriad of interesting facts, along with social commentary and historical information... Having awakened our thirst, Barnett reminds us that after five centuries now is the best time to enjoy gin." The Scotsman (UK)
“The Book of Gin is full of history that will make you grin. an enchanting read.”—Cooking by the Book
"From the very beginnings of genever production, Barnett takes us on a colourful journey through gin's history and its intersection with culture: from the contention in 1310 that spirits might contain the essence of sunshine; distilled by vines into their fruits, through wars, world exploration, and global trade, to the Dutch Golden Age and the Roaring Twenties, to its current renaissance in the cocktail world. The urban, gritty tales are as entertaining as they are informative, involving intriguing characters and delving into the works of Daniel Defoe, William Hogarth, Charles Dickens and - of course - Ian Fleming's James Bond. It's rare that a book so catches our attention at Class, but this is a must-read for those who loves gin: it's not just a geeky companion for nerds, but a truly enjoyable history for anyone who likes to end the working day with a G&T." —Class Magazine (UK)
“Mr. Barnett takes the reader on a historic journey from the City States of Italy at the end of the Dark Ages to the gin fueled dance floors of the Stork Club and El Morocco in New York City. We get a peek into the gin revival among growing artisan distillers movement in the new millennium. If you love a classic gin martini pour yourself one and tuck into this fascinating story Oh, and make sure the gin bottle is full.”—Dale Degroff, aka “King Cocktail,” founder and president of The Museum of the American Cocktail, and author of The Craft of the Cocktail
“Few drinks have haunted society as starkly as gin In The Book of Gin, Richard Barnett artfully charts the aromatic distillate’s unlikely path from medicine to public menace, blending references as varied as the Archidoxa of Paracelsus and Mad Men to create a nuanced portrait of the drink and its impact on humanity. The titular subject of Barnett’s book may be a distillate, but gin owes its life to the men and women who produced, promoted, consumed and condemned it, from William III to James Bond. The most lyrical of their names and stories pepper Barnett’s story like bursts of poetry.”—The Times Literary Supplement
"Well-balanced and bracingly smooth, Richard Barnett's The Book of Gin is equal parts rich and intoxicating narrative mixed with an entertaining and wholly accessible era-spanning history of one of the world's most storied spirits."—Brad Thomas Parsons, author of Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All
“How can you not want to indulge in gin both the drink and this book for as author Richard Barnett points out, gin is ‘a seemingly inexhaustible vehicle for myth-making and story-telling.’ From medieval alchemy to London’s notorious Gin Lane to glamorous Hollywood cocktail parties, our most able raconteur Barnett provides insight into how gin became an unabashed icon and serves as a metaphor for Western culture."—Peter Krass, author of Blood & Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel’s
"Mr. Barnett’s research is fairly astonishing. With every few turns of the page, he conjures up obscure primary sources to illustrate gin’s genealogy. Drawing from acts of Parliament, temperance tracts, Gordon’s Gin advertisements and Hollywood films, Mr. Barnett punctuates his tale with the language and imagery of the many eras of gin’s history."—The Washington Times
Prologue: The Murder of Mrs. Atkinson 1
Living Water 7
Rough Spirits 40
The Infernal Principle 81
From Chinchón to Martinez 118
The Silver Bullet 146
Epilogue: Gin Renaissance 181
Appendix 1 Selected Texts 189
Appendix 2 The Hogarth Sampler 222
Posted January 4, 2013
I really wanted to like this book and was looking forward to reading. I don't many other people who like gin yet it's had an interesting place in history (gin palaces, bathtub gin, etc). I picked up a few interesting snippets about the history of gin. What ruined the book for me were the endless references and quotes. It felt like reading a master's thesis vs a book. The last 30+ pages are all references.
If you're looking for an interesting, light read about gin this is not your book. If you're looking for an academic study, this is the one.
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