Gin has been a drink of kings infused with crushed pearls and rose petals, and a drink of the poor flavored with turpentine and sulfuric acid. Born in alchemists’ stills and monastery kitchens, its earliest incarnations were juniper flavored medicines used to prevent plague, ease the pains of childbirth, even to treat a lack of courage.
In The Book of Gin, Richard Barnett traces the life of this beguiling spirit, once believed to cause a new kind of drunkenness.” In the eighteenth century, gin-craze debauchery (and class conflict) inspired Hogarth’s satirical masterpieces Gin Lane” and Beer Street.” In the nineteenth century, gin was drunk by Napoleonic War naval heroes, at lavish gin palaces, and by homesick colonials, who mixed it with their bitter anti-malarial tonics. In the early twentieth century, the illicit cocktail culture of prohibition made gin often dangerous bathtub ginfashionable again. And today, with the growth of smallbatch distilling, gin has once-again made a comeback.
Wide-ranging, impeccably researched, and packed with illuminating stories, The Book of Gin is lively and fascinating, an indispensible history of a complex and notorious drink.
"A myriad of interesting facts, along with social commentary and historical information... Having awakened our thirst, Barnett reminds us that after five centuries now is the best time to enjoy gin." The Scotsman (UK)
"From the very beginnings of genever production, Barnett takes us on a colourful journey through gin's history and its intersection with culture: from the contention in 1310 that spirits might contain the essence of sunshine; distilled by vines into their fruits, through wars, world exploration, and global trade, to the Dutch Golden Age and the Roaring Twenties, to its current renaissance in the cocktail world. The urban, gritty tales are as entertaining as they are informative, involving intriguing characters and delving into the works of Daniel Defoe, William Hogarth, Charles Dickens and - of course - Ian Fleming's James Bond. It's rare that a book so catches our attention at Class, but this is a must-read for those who loves gin: it's not just a geeky companion for nerds, but a truly enjoyable history for anyone who likes to end the working day with a G&T." Class Magazine (UK)