The Joy of Drinking

In my faltering little Last.fm group Library Lust, I wrote up a bit about a book I recently finished, The Joy of Drinking, which discusses the social history of alcoholic drinks in a wry manner, thanks to the style of author Barbara Holland. According to The Washington Post, Holland wrote the book “as a protest against the decline of social drinking and the rise of broccoli, exercise and Starbucks.”

The Joy of Drinking is itself a joy of reading as Holland chronicles the discovery and rise of alcoholic beverages, which she rightly argues led to human civilisation. She touches upon the drinking habits of famous historical figures, such as Winston Churchill and Queen Victoria, as well as that of the common man and woman, with most of her focus on the United States.

At 160 pages, it’s a slim book, and you can preview the beginning chapter at Barnes & Noble. It’s a wonderful read, but have a drink handy, as reading about New England applejack and a myriad of other drinks makes the mouth want to sample. Holland included recipes on how to make some of the beverages she talks about, including applejack, if you have the time and curiosity.

And if you do, let me know. I’d love to be a guinea pig.

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