A comprehensive guide to the intersection of plants and booze.
Fine Gardening contributor Stewart (Wicked Bugs: The Louse that Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects, 2011, etc.) brings together an encyclopedia of information on 160 plants from around the world that are often used in alcoholic beverages. Her enthusiasm is evident throughout, as she brings readers into "the dazzlingly rich, complex, and delicious lives of the plants that go into all those bottles behind the bar." Classic plants like grapes, apples, corn and sugarcane are just a few of the botanicals that Stewart examines. She also studies the herbs and spices used to flavor base alcohols, as well as elderflowers, hops, roses and violets, which will alert gardeners to the potential living in the garden. Stewart rounds out her in-depth coverage with a full section on fruit, including apricots and yuzus, and nuts and seeds like almonds and walnuts. The history of fermentation and distillation, the origins of plant-based medicines, tips on growing your own plants and more than 50 cocktail recipes add multiple layers to an already vast amount of information on botanicals. Gardeners, nature lovers and mixologists will find themselves reaching frequently for this volume; the hard part will be deciding what to try next as they discover that a liquor store is really "a fantastical greenhouse, the world's most exotic botanical garden, the sort of strange and overgrown conservatory we only encounter in our dreams."
A rich compendium of botanical lore for cocktail lovers.