Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugarcane, bourbon from corn. Thirsty yet? In The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol over the centuries.
Of all the extraordinary and obscure plants that have been fermented and distilled, a few are dangerous, some are downright bizarre, and one is as ancient as dinosaurs—but each represents a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions and our history.
This fascinating concoction of biology, chemistry, history, etymology, and mixology—with more than fifty drink recipes and growing tips for gardeners—will make you the most popular guest at any cocktail party.
Amy Stewart is the award-winning author of six books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world. She is the cofounder of the popular blog Garden Rant and is a contributing editor at Fine Gardening magazine. She and her husband live in Eureka, California, where they own an antiquarian bookstore called Eureka Books.
"Amy Stewart has a way of making gardening seem exciting, even a little dangerous." —The New York Times
"Many boozy books have been published over the years, spilling over with fun facts about absinthe, grog and bathtub gin. What makes Stewart's book different is her infectious enthusiasm for the plants, their uses, their history, and the botanists who roamed the earth finding them. The result is intoxicating but in a fresh, happy, healthy way." —USA Today
"The Drunken Botanist is a sipping book, not a quaffing book, best enjoyed in moderation...Part Ripley’s Believe It or Not, part compendium on the order of 'Schott’s Original Miscellany' and part botanical garden tour, albeit with a curated cocktail party at the end.... a companionable reference and whimsical recitation of historical-botanical trivia, with a little tart debunking." —The Washington Post
"Sipping an evening cocktail while flipping through this fine volume, I discovered that Ms. Stewart knew how to change a run-of-the-mill cocktail into an intriguing one." —The Wall Street Journal
"A book that makes familiar drinks seem new again…Through this horticultural lens, a mixed drink becomes a cornucopia of plants." —NPR's Morning Edition
"Fascinating, well researched and instructive — with appealing recipes too." —Rosie Schaap, New York Times
"Gardening can be an intoxicating hobby, especially if the botany is booze-related." —The Associated Press