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The Drunken Botanist Audiobook

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

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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

4.0 (569 )
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3.9 (513 )
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1 star
 (25)
Performance
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  •  
    Troy Buchanan 11-07-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good subject, the narrator was distracting."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Drunken Botanist to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print edition.


    Would you recommend The Drunken Botanist to your friends? Why or why not?

    As someone who is interested in starting a craft distillery, I'm interested in soaking up all the info I can to make creative, desirable products. You have to want to listen to a subject like this or have an interest in botany. I would recommend to friends interested in reaching deep into the subject.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Her very exact pronunciations of words became difficult to listen to. Eventually I started listening to the way she was reading rather than focusing on the subject. It wasn't "comfortable" to listen to. That said, I wouldn't tell someone interested in the subject to avoid the book. Here's a tip: Put the speed of the book on 1.25X. It helped tremendously and made me focus on the subject rather than the narration.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. This was a book that wasn't necessarily a story from beginning to end. I enjoyed the subject but needed a break from taking in all the info at points.


    Any additional comments?

    I'll remind readers of this review I chose this book because I'm interested in starting a craft distillery and wanted to do more than throw together moonshine. I wanted to dig deep into the subject and find out more than just how to ferment corn. This book has a wealth of knowledge. It has some recipes, but it is not a recipe book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jake Los Angeles, CA, United States 01-22-16
    Jake Los Angeles, CA, United States 01-22-16 Member Since 2010
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    "Great book, but not a great Audio Book"
    Would you recommend The Drunken Botanist to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would recommend it as a physical book, which could be referenced or quickly reviewed when thinking about an ingredient or a type of drink to make or plant to grow.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a much better book thank my rating. The author does a great job with a very complete list of ingredients. It is well organized and full of interesting information. Audio is not the optimal format for this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jackie 11-30-15
    Jackie 11-30-15 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful Content Thwarted by Horrendous Narration"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    New narrator. Please.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Coleen Marlo’s performances?

    No. Absolutely not.


    Any additional comments?

    The content of the book is interesting, and I think the print version must me more enjoyable. A talented narrator could do wonders for any book, and this audiobook is begging for one. Ms. Marlo sounds like she's imitating Siri-only with worse pronunciation, which is a major no-no for me.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael C. Lott Sandy, Utah USA 12-01-13
    Michael C. Lott Sandy, Utah USA 12-01-13 Member Since 2017

    ~m

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    "A fascinating look at Ingredient and their History"
    What made the experience of listening to The Drunken Botanist the most enjoyable?

    The story behind so many herbs and spices that at various times, drove men to extreme measure. Intriguing and beguiling at every turn. In this book you get something worth toasting.


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

    Realizing the power many countries derived from the control of many herbs. The Dutch in particular, proved to be quite unscrupulous in their drive to control the trade.


    What about Coleen Marlo’s performance did you like?

    I enjoyed Coleen Marlo's performance. She's eloquent and energetic in her delivery.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book had lots of surprises and "now way!" moments for me. You see the best and worst in people and the lengths at which they'll go to for the power and wealth that come from botanical gems like nutmeg and vanilla. Things we take for granted today.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved this book. Its packed with all kinds of interesting and surprising facts what could be a rather mundane subject. Amy Stewart puts a lemon twist on this top-shelf cocktail of a book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Jo 10-08-16
    Paula Jo 10-08-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Interesting facts"

    Very informative and interesting, but due to all the recipes this may have been better as a printed book to purchase.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric 09-15-16
    Eric 09-15-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Interesting but may be better to read than listen."

    The contents of the book are very interesting combination of history, chemistry, culture and botany. The structure can be confusing to listen to and the recipes may be good to have in text format. I would suggest the paperback version rather than the audio book for those interested in making the most of this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GMO 05-27-16
    GMO 05-27-16

    History, world religions, pop economics, food and wine, agribusiness and audiobooks

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great content. Better read than heard"

    I have to agree with many of the reviews here that I didn't bother to read before buying: a great reference and interesting material but much better for a book than audio. I bought 3 copies of the BOOK as gifts for bartenders! Plus the useful technical knowledge is difficult to use as intended - to go back and reference. I enjoyed the first part but once the encyclopedia started, the limitations became more apparent despite interesting content!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shannon Carty 03-08-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Great book, but not meant for audiobook"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend this book, but in physical form. The book is more of a reference guide full of great information, but it doesn't listen well as an audiobook. Lots of great recipes just aren't accessible in this medium.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The history of several different types of alcohol is the best part of this book. I learned a ton about the liquor cabinet I inherited from a relative.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Coleen Marlo?

    The narrator does her best with the material, and really infuses emotion and excitement into the words. It sounds like a friend sharing an exciting tidbit she learned at the store, but this book was just not built for the audiobook.


    Was The Drunken Botanist worth the listening time?

    The history is worth the listen if you are running low on reading material and are interested in the history of food, but I would spring for a paper copy.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 06-15-13
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 06-15-13 Member Since 2013

    I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "perhaps if you LOVE to drink...?"

    Perhaps this is stupid, but I was expecting this book to be a combination of a book about drinks and a book about plants. I'm not much of a drinker and I will not try 90% of the recipes or ideas in the book.

    I was hoping for interesting anecdotes and history about the plants that go into our drinks. This was like reading a cookbook with factoids in little boxes next to the recipe description.

    What I'm trying to said it this was super dullness mixed with itty bitty bits of interesting history or mini-anecdotes. If you wanna read history and anecdotes related to beverages (alcoholic and not) read "A History of The World in 6 Glasses" by Tom Standage. It is way better.

    If you want to make a lot of drinks and be an alcoholic drink snob, by all means, Stewart's is the book for you.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anton L. Monmouth, OR USA 05-17-17
    Anton L. Monmouth, OR USA 05-17-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Great book for those curious"

    Interested in botany and alcoholic drinks? This is a great book for you! The history, fun facts, and drink recepies are fantastic and give you ideas to help impress and entertain friends!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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