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The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks | [Amy Stewart]

The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks

Every great drink starts with a plant. Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley. Gin was born from a conifer shrub when medieval physicians boiled juniper berries with wine to treat stomach pain. The Drunken Botanist uncovers the surprising botanical history and fascinating science and chemistry of over 150 plants, flowers, trees, and fruits (and even a few fungi).
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Publisher's Summary

Every great drink starts with a plant. Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley. Gin was born from a conifer shrub when medieval physicians boiled juniper berries with wine to treat stomach pain. The Drunken Botanist uncovers the surprising botanical history and fascinating science and chemistry of over 150 plants, flowers, trees, and fruits (and even a few fungi).

Some of the most extraordinary and obscure plants have been fermented and distilled, and they each represent a unique cultural contribution to global drinking traditions and our history. Molasses was an essential ingredient of American independence when outrage over a mandate to buy British rather than French molasses for New World rum-making helped kindle the American Revolution. Captain James Cook harvested the young, green tips of spruce trees to make a vitamin C-rich beer that cured his crew of scurvy - a recipe that Jane Austen enjoyed so much that she used it as a plot point in Emma.

With over 50 drink recipes, growing tips for gardeners, and advice that carries Stewart's trademark wit, this is the perfect listen for gardeners and cocktail aficionados alike.

©2013 Amy Stewart. Recorded by arrangement with Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing Company, Inc. (P)2013 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"A rich compendium of botanical lore for cocktail lovers." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (202 )
5 star
 (68)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
3.8 (174 )
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Story
3.7 (179 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (15)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    S FRAMINGHAM, MA, United States 06-06-15
    S FRAMINGHAM, MA, United States 06-06-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    155
    39
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "It's a book to be read, not listened"
    Would you try another book from Amy Stewart and/or Coleen Marlo?

    Sure, but in print form


    Would you ever listen to anything by Amy Stewart again?

    If the book is along the same line I would consider the print form but not the audio f


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    yes


    Do you think The Drunken Botanist needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I didn't finish because I couldn't properly follow the text without seeing it.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm considering buying the print form because the information was very interesting, just that I couldn't properly follow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Avalon Portland, OR United States 06-05-15
    A. Avalon Portland, OR United States 06-05-15

    Mostly read business books and YA sci-fi fluff, but I love everything in between too.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Dictionary of Great Stories and Histories"

    Very entertaining! Yes, it's a little A to Z-ish, but such a wonderful set of stories. The organization of the book from base spirit to liquor then herbs and finally garnishes makes the book feel like there is a strong overall narrative.

    Beware that this book will make you so excited about plants and their liquors that you'll at some point feel compelled to visit the book's website and you will find that very sadly, the author has stopped updating and posting to her blog :(

    But the book remains invaluable. With so many great how to's and recipes, I'm definitely buying a hard copy for my kitchen.

    As for the narrator, her voice seemed a little too perfect to me, almost like the voice of the onboard navigation system in a starship.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Hunter 05-18-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "MORE DRINKS WITH MY LEARNING, THANK YOU!"

    Now I HAVE to buy the physical book! ALL OF THE RECIPES!!! Love all the history and new booze ideas!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Wayne Street Atlanta, GA 04-28-15
    Matthew Wayne Street Atlanta, GA 04-28-15

    The Duke

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Four stars is generous...."

    Pronunciation was off for several technical words, but overall an entertaining book. Much more of an overview of plants and booze, rather than a historical account or a dive into plants complexities when involved with alcohol. Four stars is appropriate but generous.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 08-19-14
    Jennifer 08-19-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    48
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    "Makes me want a cocktail..."

    A fantastic read. Never before have I learned so much about botany or cocktails. A great introduction to either subject, be your interest in new recipes, gardening tips, or histories of brewing. This had it all and more, in an easily digestible manner and fun tone, as if to be best enjoyed over the very cocktails filling the pages (...er audio files?). I bookmarked so many fun stories, great sounding liqueurs, and recipes I'd like to try! Strongly considering adding a hard copy to my library so as to have that info more readily at hand. That is, in case I ever become the wonderful home gardening cocktail party hosting person this has inspired me to want to become. One day, if I ever have a space accommodating to such practices, that is. Anyway, it shall be wonderful to order something from a bartender and know the story of its genesis, and might make for great bar trivia!

    My only criticism of this audiobook was a quirk of the narrator's pronunciations- her d's seemed overly pronounced; also bugged me that orange was pronounced throughout as "are-anj".

    Now I kinda want a Jack Rose or a slough gin fizz...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Crafter Syracuse, NY 01-30-14
    Adam Crafter Syracuse, NY 01-30-14 Member Since 2013

    I'm a lifelong teacher and learner, and a Stay at Home Dad.... I produce audiobooks and do VO-work. Spreader of Adult-onset Athleticism

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    20
    9
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    0
    3
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    Story
    "Love the information and story, vocals OK ."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The sweep of the information in this book was wonderful to me, but I might suggest a book or eBook format if you are not a fan of Coleen Marlo's style.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Drunken Botanist?

    The sweep of possibilities in the alcoholic extractions from around the world, a blend of long history and endless combinations and permutations.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The narrator was clear enough, but her style was not for me to love.... just like.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tina Harker Heights, TX, United States 01-29-14
    Tina Harker Heights, TX, United States 01-29-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I expected more...."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I might recommend this book to some of the bartenders I know but not all of them. This takes the simple art of making a drink and enjoying it to a all out "whole Foods/kitchen nightmare" level. I think the writer/reader lacked creativity. I expected more history or more drunken stories not a lecture on why the alcohol I have (that is considered top shelve) isn't worth anything.... I really wanted to like this book but it wasn't in the cards for me. For a book about alcohol I found it to be quit dry. :-(


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Eisenhut Dover Plains, NY 01-11-15
    L. Eisenhut Dover Plains, NY 01-11-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    Story
    "Narrator is Cleary Microsoft Sam"

    good information though, clever book with a fair amount of historic culture techniques. common procedures requiring very little expertise that can result in your own superior blends.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn Williamsville, NY, United States 06-24-13
    Shawn Williamsville, NY, United States 06-24-13 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "Couldn't finish..."
    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Coleen Marlo?

    Anyone!!


    Any additional comments?

    The reason I could not finish this book was the narrator Coleen Marlo. Her voice was like nails on a chalkboard to me and I have instead picked up a hardback copy of the book.
    I am sure it is just a personal preference but I will make sure in the future not to purchase any more books that she has narrated. Once I have finished reading the book I will give a full review.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Cattle Herndon, VA, US 05-29-13
    Sam Cattle Herndon, VA, US 05-29-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Distracting pronunciation"
    If you could sum up The Drunken Botanist in three words, what would they be?

    booze trivia garden


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the writer's conceit of an encyclopedic format filled with botany, trivia and anecdotes, yet intended to be read cover-to-cover. The recipes were the lovely garnish on top, connecting information to the senses.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Coleen Marlo?

    Narrating a book this full of obscure terms in multiple languages is a tall order, but I would have preferred a narrator that had done a little more phonetic research for unfamiliar terms. I'm sure that Coleen's sensual voice is a great asset to her performances in more intimate and mysterious genres.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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