Whiskey: A Global History

Whiskey: A Global History

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by Kevin R. Kosar
     
 

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A Manhattan or a Sazerac; neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of soda—no matter how it’s served up, whiskey is synonymous with the poet’s inspiration and the devil’s spirit. Be it bourbon, rye, corn, Irish, or Scotch, whiskey has an infamous and celebrated history from a sometimes lethal, herb-infused concoction to a high-quality,

Overview

A Manhattan or a Sazerac; neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of soda—no matter how it’s served up, whiskey is synonymous with the poet’s inspiration and the devil’s spirit. Be it bourbon, rye, corn, Irish, or Scotch, whiskey has an infamous and celebrated history from a sometimes lethal, herb-infused concoction to a high-quality, meticulously crafted liquor.

            In Whiskey, Kevin R. Kosardelivers an informative, concise narrative of the drink’s history, from its obscure medieval origins to the globally traded product that it is today. Focusing on three nations—Scotland, Ireland, and America—Kosarcharts how the technique of distillation moved from ancient Egypt to the British Isles. Contrary to popular claims, there were no good old days of whiskey: before the twentieth century, consumers could never be sure just what was being poured in their cup—unscrupulous profiteers could distill anything into booze and pawn it off as whiskey. Eventually, government and industry established legal definitions of what whiskey is and how it could be made, allowing for the distinctive styles of whiskey known today.

Whiskey explains what whiskey is, how it is made, and how the types of whiskey differ. With a list of suggested brands and classic cocktail recipes for the thirsty reader, this book is perfect for drink and food enthusiasts and history lovers alike.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
"Whiskey, at 144 pages, is the perfect primer for the person who wants to quickly learn the basics."
Capital Community News - Karen Lyon

“Kosar has now poured his expertise into a new book, Whiskey: A Global History, where he shares not only his passion for the potent potable but also his knowledge about its political, economic, and cultural history. . . . Extensively researched at the Library of Congress, where he works, Whiskey is nicely illustrated with vintage photographs, advertisements, and cartoons, and packed with factoids and stories.”

Washingtonian
“Kevin Kosar might be the most thoughtful boozehound you'll ever meet.”

Independent

"Scotch purists may splutter over Kosar's planet-wide perspective: note his spelling. But open-minded readers, and drinkers, will raise a glass to his elan and expertise."

Galveston Daily News
"There’s probably no more storied beverage than whiskey. Few have generated as many myths. Whiskey: A Global History, by Kevin Kosar, peels away the mythology to examine the real history of this legendary drink. Kosar shows that its history is at least as fascinating as the legend."
Philip Terzian
"A brief, informative, and endlessly diverting history of whiskey—in its many incarnations—that is not exactly intoxicating, but deeply satisfying.  . . . The great mystery of whiskey—to this consumer, at least—is the extent to which its common origins produce such disparate products, and how radically different human palates can be. One man’s smooth, nutty beverage is another’s wretched toxin, and the author has his own distinct tastes. But it would be difficult to find, in the holiday season, a superior gift to this tasty, eye-opening, gem of light scholarship.--Weekly Standard
Karen Lyon

“Kosar has now poured his expertise into a new book, Whiskey: A Global History, where he shares not only his passion for the potent potable but also his knowledge about its political, economic, and cultural history. . . . Extensively researched at the Library of Congress, where he works, Whiskey is nicely illustrated with vintage photographs, advertisements, and cartoons, and packed with factoids and stories.”—Capital Community News

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781861897800
Publisher:
Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date:
10/15/2010
Series:
Reaktion Books - Edible Series
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Kevin R. Kosar is the founder of AlcoholReviews.com. His writings on alcoholic beverages have appeared in American.com, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, the New York Press and the New York Hangover.

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Whiskey: A Global History 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ColinDodds More than 1 year ago
Kevin Kosar's Whiskey: A Global History is a definitive guide to the spirit-how it's made, where it comes from, its mysterious history, how it shaped the identity and destiny of nations. It will tell you everything about whiskey except what, exactly, it did to your twenties. The book is a masterful guide to whiskies of all sorts, scotch, bourbon, Irish, Canadian and American. It is detailed and informative without being pedantic, and entertaining without straying off topic. From the cloudy particulars of biblical time, through Egyptian and Irish prehistory, through the alchemists' laboratories to the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791, prohibition and the present, Whiskey: A Global History tells a vast story without ever seeming to skim. A slender volume, the book nonetheless packs a wallop. In addition to a detailed and fascinating history, it has enough technical information that I was tempted to start distilling. Somehow, Kosar even found room for an impressive array of historical images about whiskey dating back hundreds of years. And at the end, once you've learned the space you occupy in whiskey's rich and raucous history, Whiskey: A Global History gives you a series of classic whiskey cocktail recipes so you may raise your glass and take your place in that history.
elbjr More than 1 year ago
Gives you a great and concise review of the history of whiskey. Quite informative and humorous.