Thirsty Reading: Boozehound, by Jason Wilson

See this book? The one with the multitude of darkly enticing bottles and casks on the cover? This is a dangerous book. A book that will cost you dearly. A book that will drive you to drink. A book that just may turn you off vodka forever (OK, that last part is not so dangerous).

Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits by Jason Wilson is dangerous not because of its somewhat subversive stories of what constitutes a good drink, but rather because it will likely compel any fan of spirits and cocktails into the dangerous realm of obsession that the author clearly occupies. A world where chasing down rare brandies or long forgotten liqueurs is a path to wallet depleting joy and illumination.

Mr. Wilson finds a way of weaving tales that will leave you tipsy and laughing and thirsty for more. The book is literally a tour through some of the world’s great libations, their history, their path through glorious popularity or confounding decline. A jaunt into the agave fields of Mexico juts up against a tale of teenage tippling in suburban New Jersey. Secret formulas of herbs and uncommon ingredients are juxtaposed against the hyperbolic and highly suspect modern marketing “backstories” that seem to come with every new bottle on the liquor store shelf. Cocktail recipes appear at the end of each chapter to entice the mind, to further the already deeply felt urges that the stories implant – WHERE can I track down that rare Calvados, HOW can I live without that Creme de Violette, WHY is my collection of Italian Amari so minuscule???

Beware. Reading Boozehound is dangerous stuff. Now I better get over to the liquor store to pick up my bottles of Dubonnet, Benedictine, Amaro Montenegro, Creme Yvette, Luxardo Maraschino, rhum agricole…

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