A Global History

Lesley Jacobs Solmonson

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Lesley Jacobs Solmonson

Distributed for Reaktion Books

167 pages | 40 color plates, 20 halftones | 4 3/4 x 7 3/4 | © 2012
Cloth $19.00 ISBN: 9781861899248 Published May 2012 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $17.00 ISBN: 9781861899361 Published May 2012

Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Ruin, and Ladies’ Delight. Dutch Courage and Cuckold’s Comfort. These evocative nicknames for gin hint that it has a far livelier history than the simple and classic martini would lead you to believe. In this book, Lesley Jacobs Solmonson journeys into gin’s past, revealing that this spirit has played the role of both hero and villain throughout history.

Taking us back to gin’s origins as a medicine derived from the aromatic juniper berry, Solmonson describes how the Dutch recognized the berry’s alcoholic possibilities and distilled it into the whiskey-like genever. She then follows the drink to Britain, where cheap imitations laced with turpentine and other caustic fillers made it the drink of choice for poor eighteenth-century Londoners. Eventually replaced by the sweetened Old Tom style and later by London Dry gin, its popularity spread along with the British Empire. As people today once again embrace classic cocktails like the gimlet and the negroni, gin has reclaimed its place in the world of mixology. Featuring many enticing recipes, Gin is the perfect gift for cocktail aficionados and anyone who wants to know whether it should be shaken or stirred.

1. Gin’s Medicinal Origins
2. Genever in the Low Countries
3. Gin in Britain: Colonialism, Gin Palaces, London Dry
5. Gin in America
6. Gin’s Renaissance

Appendix: A Selection of Gins Today
Select Bibliography
Websites and Associations
Photo Acknowledgements
Review Quotes
Daily Telegraph
“This is a fascinating little book crammed with intriguing facts and topped off with cocktail recipes with names like ‘corpse reviver.’ It makes a person very thirsty . . . for knowledge, of course.”
The Inquisitive Eater
Gin: A Global History and Vodka: A Global History are two delicious, well-mixed cocktails of history and booze. The first thing I learned from these books is alcohol’s long-lasting dual effect on society. . . . I also learned that every kind of liquor has its own story. In these handsomely bound little volumes, part of the Edible series from Reaktion Books, the authors retell the centuries-long and always fascinating stories of vodka and gin.”
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