The Drunken Botanist:
The Plants that Create the World's Greatest Drinks
With a delightful two-color vintage-style interior, over fifty drink recipes, growing tips for gardeners, and advice that carries Stewart's trademark wit, this is the perfect gift for gardeners and cocktail aficionados alike.
Carol's Rating: ★★★★
This is such a fun, informative book! I borrowed it from the library and loved it so much I ordered my own copy. It's not a story book, it's more of a reference book with witty comments, history, detailed processes, and recipes. Not only is the content great but the book is beautiful. I love the vintage themed cover and pages. Plus, it made me feel smarter with every page I read. I'm convinced my brain has grown since reading it. I may need to buy new hats. This is a book I'll return to again and again. It does not disappoint!
About the Author
Amy Stewart is the New York Times best-selling author of nine books, including Girl Waits with Gun and the rest of the Kopp Sisters series, which are based on the true story of one of America’s first female deputy sheriffs and her two rambunctious sisters. Her popular nonfiction titles include The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Plants, and Flower Confidential.
Stewart grew up in Arlington, Texas, with her father, the musician Vic Stewart, who toured with Doc Severinsen’s road band; her mother, Dee Stewart, who had a career in public relations; and her younger brother, Jason Stewart, who is a film and television editor. She graduated from Arlington High School and received a B.A. degree in anthropology and a master's in community and regional planning (MSCRP) from the University of Texas at Austin.
She lives in Portland with her husband Scott Brown, a rare book dealer. They own an independent bookstore called Eureka Books, which is so independent that it lives in California while they live in Oregon.
You might’ve heard Amy on NPR’s Morning Edition or Fresh Air, or seen her profiled in such esteemed publications as the New York Times and Earthworm Digest. Her checkered television career includes CBS Sunday Morning, Good Morning America, the PBS documentary The Botany of Desire, and–believe it or not– TLC’s Cake Boss. (The cake was delicious.)
Amy’s books have been translated into seventeen languages, one of which she can actually read. Her 2009 book Wicked Plants has been adapted into a national traveling exhibit that terrifies children at science museums nationwide.
Her mother is very impressed that she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the American Horticulture Society’s Book Award, and an International Association of Culinary Professionals Food Writing Award. In 2012, she was invited to be the first Tin House Writer-in-Residence, a partnership with Portland State University, where she corrupted young minds in the MFA program.
Amy travels the country as a highly sought-after public speaker whose spirited lectures have inspired and entertained audiences at college campuses such as Cornell and Harvard, corporate offices like Google (where she served tequila and nearly broke the Internet), conferences and book festivals, botanical gardens, bookstores, and libraries nationwide.
Book Trailer, Interviews and Sneaky Peaks
A great introduction to this entertaining, informative book 🙂
'Drunken Botanist' Takes A Garden Tour Of The Liquor Cabinet
Beware the tiny phylloxera!
First of all, let me say that I am actually not much of an boozy drinker. Sure, I like a glass of wine or mixed drink once in a while, but in truth, it’s probably seldom enough I could count my annual consumption on two hands. After reading though this book, I’ve discovered that the drinks I like most have something in common; They are forms of brandy, which the book tells me “is a generic term for a wine (or other fruit) spirit distilled to 80% alcohol or less, then bottled at 35-40% alcohol.”
I read further to learn about the invention of brandy and discovered something fascinating. By the mid-1500’s the Spanish, Italian, and Dutch had discovered that bland, mediocre wine could be boiled into a stronger form of spirit and “that even vineyard waste could be fermented: crushed skins, stems, and seeds all went back into the fermentation tank to make a high-proof spirit like grappa.”
As time went on, Europeans further refined their tradition of making rich, complex flavors and forms of wine such as Cognac, Madeira, Marsala, Port, and Sherry. Then the Founding Fathers came to America, and had to import their beloved varieties of wine because they simply could not find native American grapes that would produce decent wine. Even Thomas Jefferson was unsuccessful at growing suitable grapes in his gardens at Monticello. (This caught my attention because I was able to visit Monticello last year. His home and gardens were magnificent!)
So, if native varieties won’t work, why not import and grow some European vines? They did. They planted them then watched as they withered up and died! This is where the story gets really good. What they didn’t know was that the European vines were not
resistant to the native American pest phylloxera (an aphid type pest) like the American vines were. To make matters worse, before they understood this, they had sent a gift of American vines to France that were unknowingly infested with phylloxera. Arriving in France, the pests were in smorgasbord heaven. They went right to work, devastating French vineyards. It took decades for the reason to be understood and by then, the vineyards were nearly defunct. Finally, with high hopes, they began grafting European vines to the hardy American rootstock, and it worked! Over time they have brought their industry and fine flavored wines back. Pretty interesting, eh? Beware those tiny phylloxera!
My favorite margarita is made with Blue Curacoa so of course, I loved reading about it’s making by way of bitter orange. Amy Stewart taught me something else I had never given thought to:
Why do more fresh oranges come from California than from Florida?
Here's what I found out: Oranges need cool nights to help the fruit turn from green to orange. Florida does not cool down at night like California does. Therefore, while oranges from both states might be ripe, the oranges from California look more appealing than the green oranges from Florida. So there you have it. The more appealing orange colored California oranges are eaten fresh and the less appealing green Florida oranges are juiced.
See what I mean? Can't you feel your brain growing as you learn this stuff? You may need to buy new hats, too! 🙂
The phylloxera wine louse is back with a vengeance
Post Magazine | 3 Nove 2016
By Nellie Ming Lee
Vineyards in California and Oregon on alert as the pest that devastated Europe’s grapevines in the 1800s turns its sights on once-resistant America
A Glimpse Inside
The Drunken Botanist is not only a beautiful book just to look at but it is teaming with entertaining historical detail, processes, ingredients, and recipes! It is divided into coherent sections: 1) Processes of fermentation and distillation with classic plants, 2)Suffusing with herbs, spices, flowers, fruits, nuts, seeds…., 3) Botanical mixers and garnishes for cocktails, and lastly, 4) Recipes for cocktails, syrups, infusions and garnishes. So now, not only will you be able to make delicious drinks for yourself and your friends, you’ll be able to wow them with entertaining stories and your knowledge!