Drinking History: Fifteen Turning Points in the Making of American Beverages

Drinking History: Fifteen Turning Points in the Making of American Beverages

by Andrew Smith


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A companion to Andrew F. Smith's critically acclaimed and popular Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine, this volume recounts the individuals, ingredients, corporations, controversies, and myriad events responsible for America's diverse and complex beverage scene. Smith revisits the country's major historical moments—colonization, the American Revolution, the Whiskey Rebellion, the temperance movement, Prohibition, and its repeal—and he tracks the growth of the American beverage industry throughout the world. The result is an intoxicating encounter with an often overlooked aspect of American culture and global influence.

Americans have invented, adopted, modified, and commercialized tens of thousands of beverages—whether alcoholic or nonalcoholic, carbonated or caffeinated, warm or frozen, watery or thick, spicy or sweet. These include uncommon cocktails, varieties of coffee and milk, and such iconic creations as Welch's Grape Juice, Coca-Cola, root beer, and Kool-Aid. Involved in their creation and promotion were entrepreneurs and environmentalists, bartenders and bottlers, politicians and lobbyists, organized and unorganized criminals, teetotalers and drunks, German and Italian immigrants, savvy advertisers and gullible consumers, prohibitionists and medical professionals, and everyday Americans in love with their brew.

Smith weaves a wild history full of surprising stories and explanations for such classic slogans as "taxation with and without representation;" "the lips that touch wine will never touch mine;" and "rum, Romanism, and rebellion." He reintroduces readers to Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and the colorful John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed), and he rediscovers America's vast literary and cultural engagement with beverages and their relationship to politics, identity, and health.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231151177
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 06/24/2014
Series: Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Andrew F. Smith teaches food history at the New School in New York. He is the author or editor of twenty-six books, including Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine. He has a website, www.andrewfsmith.com.

Table of Contents

1. Colonial Diversity
2. An Essential Ingredient in American Independence
3. Tea Parties
4. Tarantula Juice
5. Cider's Last Hurrah
6. The Most Popular Drink of the Day
7. Nature's Perfect Food
8. The Most Delightful and Insinuating Potations
9. Unfermented Wine
10. The Temperance Beverage
11. To Root Out a Bad Habit
12. Youth Beverages
13. Judgment of Paris
14. The Only Proper Drink for Man
15. The Coffee Experience

What People are Saying About This

Joseph M. Carlin

Pour yourself a cup of tea, a glass of milk, or a chilled Martini and be prepared to sip your way through a compelling history of what and why we drink. This scholarly and highly readable work on the 400-year history of beverages in America is a must-read for every culinary historian and anyone interested in an informative and entertaining story. Surprising facts pop up and fizz on every page.

Mark Pendergrast

You are what you drink, even more than what you eat, so this sweeping saga of American spirits, juices, sodas, teas, coffees, and waters is in reality an entertaining social, political, and cultural foray through American history, featuring an entertaining assortment of imbibers and teetotalers.

Bruce Kraig

A companion book to Smith's Eating History in the same way that bread (as in the root of the word "companion") goes with wine in classic Mediterranean cuisine and church ritual. Drinking History has a clear-cut purpose: to tell Americans what they imbibe---the products that they do and why they do so. Readers will find the subject of drink somewhat intoxicating.

Bruce Kraig, President of Culinary Historians of Chicago

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