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Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spiritsby Jason Wilson
Synopses & Reviews
While some may wonder, “Does the world really need another flavored vodka?” no one answers this question quite so memorably as spirits writer and raconteur Jason Wilson does in Boozehound. (By the way, the short answer is no.) A unique blend of travelogue, spirits history, and recipe collection, Boozehound explores the origins of what we drink and the often surprising reasons behind our choices.
In lieu of odorless, colorless, tasteless spirits, Wilson champions Old World liquors with hard-to-define flavors—a bitter and complex Italian amari, or the ancient, aromatic herbs of Chartreuse, as well as distinctive New World offerings like lively Peruvian pisco. With an eye for adventure, Wilson seeks out visceral experiences at the source of production—visiting fields of spiky agave in Jalisco, entering the heavily and reverently-guarded Jägermeister herb room in Wolfenbüttel, and journeying to the French Alps to determine if mustachioed men in berets really handpick blossoms to make elderflower liqueur.
In addition, Boozehound offers more than fifty drink recipes, from three riffs on the Manhattan to cocktail-geek favorites like the Aviation and the Last Word. These recipes are presented alongside a host of opinionated essays that cherish the rare, uncover the obscure, dethrone the overrated, and unravel the mysteries of taste, trends, and terroir. Through his far-flung, intrepid traveling and tasting, Wilson shows us that perhaps nothing else as entwined with the history of human culture is quite as much fun as booze.
"A journalistic excursion into lesser-known, forgotten, and misunderstood spirits from around the world, with recipes"--
Part travelogue, part spirits history, and part recipe collection, Boozehound is a journalistic excursion into lesser-known, forgotten, and misunderstood spirits for adventurous imbibers of liquors, bitters, and elixirs from around the world.
As a teenager, Jason Wilson pilfered shots from a dusty bottle of sambuca discovered in his parents’ pantry. Today, he’s a Washington Post spirits columnist who traverses the globe to explore the origins of what we drink and the reasons behind our choices. In Boozehound, Wilson lets us tag along as he tracks unusual libations, uncovering the secrets of their flavors and sharing their fascinating histories in the process. Wilson champions Old World liquors with hard-to-define tastes—a bitter and complex Italian amari, the ancient herbs of Chartreuse—and distinctive New World spirits like Peruvian pisco while seeking out visceral experiences in tucked-away taverns and the sources of production. He’s the first journalist to infiltrate the Jagermeister herb room (where he furtively tried to deduce the secret 56-ingredient recipe), and he journeys to the French Alps to determine if mustachioed men in berets really handpick flowers to make elderflower liqueur. This intrepid travel narrative combines Wilson’s bartending know-how with recipes and cultural analysis as it unravels the mysteries of taste, trends, terroir, and the peculiar alchemy behind the world’s intoxicants.
About the Author
JASON WILSON writes the spirits column for the Washington Post. In 2008, his column won the Best Newspaper Food Column award from the Association of Food Journalists. Wilson is also the series editor of the annual anthology The Best American Travel Writing. His feature writing has appeared in many publications, including National Geographic Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Salon, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post’s Sunday magazine.
Table of Contents
Introduction The Booze Beat 1
chapter 1 • THE OMBIBULOUS ME 9
chapter 2 • FLAVOR AND ITS DISCONTENTS 27
chapter 3 • LIQUOR STORE ARCHAEOLOGY 47
chapter 4 • ROMANCE: THEY POUR IT ON 71
chapter 5 • BITTER IS BELLA 95
chapter 6 • WATER OF LIFE 121
chapter 7 • TERROIR-ISTS 133
chapter 8 • OF POLITICS and RUM 159
chapter 9 • THE ANGELS’ SHARE 185
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