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And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails
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And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  1,079 Ratings  ·  164 Reviews
One spirit, Ten cocktails, and Four Centuries of American History
"And a Bottle of Rum" tells the raucously entertaining story of America as seen through the bottom of a drinking glass. With a chapter for each of ten cocktails--from the grog sailors drank on the high seas in the 1700s to the mojitos of modern club hoppers--Wayne Curtis reveals that the homely spirit once d
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Crown Publishing Group (NY) (first published January 1st 2006)
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First half = zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Second half = Thumbs Up!

As I'm not very interested in pirates, the British Navy, colonial America, or the post Colonial period either, the first part of the book was a real slog for me. If those areas interest you, your experience should be more pleasant.

For the later part of the story (after the Civil War), the emphasis shifts to American drinking habits in general, and rum's part in the tale, as its popularity varied by generation. This was the book I had in mind
Jul 11, 2008 Richard rated it really liked it
I am not so much a sucker for history books as I am a sucker for very focused, almsot gimmicky, history books. Andrew Carr's _Drink: A Social History of America_ is a similarly gimmicky history book that I (pun coming) ate and drank up furiously, and Wayne Curtis has provided an equally capturing read with _And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails_.

This book comes from the level perspective of a connoseur of rum, one who enjoys the depth of the drink, which includes the
Jen B
Jun 13, 2012 Jen B rated it it was amazing
I love books. I especially love history books, serious history books, the sort that repel my mother to the point she several years ago swore she'd never, ever gift me a book again, and she was not joking.

This is a serious history book...sort of. It's serious about rum how its life is interwoven with that of the New World. And it is so much fun to read! Whether you're a teetotaler, a classic cocktail aficionado, a voracious reader, or would like the ability to drop some unforgettable stories fro
Sarah Sammis
Sep 24, 2007 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing
And a Bottle of Rum by Wayne Curtis draws its title from the pirate song penned by Robert Louis Stevenson for Treasure Island. In fact, Curtis's opening chapter includes an explanation of why he chose the title and how the phrase came about.

From there he explores two parallel histories: the creation of rum and its uses over the years. Along with his discussion of how rum has been used, he has some cocktail recipes and their histories.

My favorite pieces of the book were the history of grog (along
Aug 07, 2013 Justin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, nonfiction
I read this book a while ago, after receiving it as a gift. I remember it be engaging enough that I recently picked it up for a reread, which is rare for me to do with nonfiction books. Thankfully, it holds up just as well as it did when I first read it.

Above all else, this book is about the origins and eccentricities of rum, the indomitable liquor fermented from the industrial waste of making sugar. Curtis covers ten different periods of history, focusing largely on the Americas and the Caribbe
Jun 20, 2007 Jesse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History Buffs, Rum enthusiasts
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is excellent, but full review will come later.

An excellent history of America through the lens of rum. I found the early colonial chapters to be the most interesting, though the book has impressive factiods all throughout.

Each chapter is dedicated to a specific rum drink, and the era it exemplifies. I found the guide to rum at the end of the book to be very useful, as well as the formula's for varrious cocktails at the very end of the book. I feel this book has furthered me down a path
Mar 11, 2015 Michelle rated it really liked it
While this book belongs squarely in the realm of "popular" fiction, it is fairly well researched and has a lengthy bibliography. That being said, there are some places where I felt Curtis was having to stretch his point a bit, and the "cocktails" overlap in many respects, so it doesn't work as well as "The History of the World in 6 Glasses" (which I absolutely LOVED). But, this was definitely an entertaining read - and a quick one, and Curtis certainly makes his point that rum, perhaps more than ...more
Sep 04, 2007 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: world-history
Probably the best book I've read this year, and definitey the most fun. Wind your way through the history of the New World through the prism of various confections. Well-written, witty, one of those books that every few pages reveals the origins of commonplace phrases and cliches. Follow rum from the dregs, to on top of the world, driven underground by puritans, and finally enjoying a modern-day renaissance.

I'm thirsty...
Absolutely fascinating. The structure of the book - a history of rum told in the context of 10 cocktails - is well-executed. Curtis has an entertaining writing style and his passion for the subject comes through.

I read this while vacationing in the Caribbean, drinking rum drinks - I highly recommend this as a beach read!
Heather Macdermott
Apr 17, 2011 Heather Macdermott rated it liked it
A very informative book on rum & it's history, I enjoyed how the author choose a cocktail for each chapter in which to launch from and further you along rums historic trail. If you like rum & cocktails this was a fun read.
DeAnna Knippling
Nov 24, 2016 DeAnna Knippling rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
America and the West Indies through the lens of rum. An entertaining and insightful book--better than I expected. Why do people drink what they drink? The answer is deeper than I thought, and far more political.
Mar 07, 2009 Jamie rated it really liked it
It was an interesting read. Fun to know that pirate's original beverage of choice (really no choice) was wine. Makes me wanna drink more. Yard!
Jun 09, 2015 James rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Loved it! History, the Caribbean, pirates, and mai tais!
Jul 13, 2011 Chris rated it it was amazing
Similar to "Cod," except actually entertaining.
Tom Darrow
Dec 29, 2016 Tom Darrow rated it really liked it
I'm a history teacher and a fan of books that look at the history of the world, or some part of it, through the lens of some simple object. Mark Kurlansky has written several good books like this. Wayne Curtis' ...And a Bottle of Rum fits the bill quite well.

Looking at the history of the new world, he traces rum use and social status from the age of exploration, to the colonial era where nearly everyone drank it, through the 1800s where a combination of changing alcohol tastes and the temperance
A very informative history of rum. I had a few problems with how the author presented it, however.

His presentation of how Native Americans reacted to and were affected by their exposure to rum was not flattering at all. Also, he clearly went out of his way trying to prove that colonial Americans' role in the Triangle (Slave) Trade was minimal.

Aside for these two things, I did enjoy the book. There were so many things I did not know about this spirit! The recipes in the back of the book look de
Mar 01, 2017 Fred rated it really liked it
An interesting and exciting history of Rum for the connoisseur of amateur or epic proportions. Curtis makes the history an exciting trip involving pirates, smugglers, the Revolution, World Wars, communism, fortunes made and lost, and inventors. I'd recommend this book for people who enjoy Rum (obviously) and for those readers who find themselves having finished Anthony Bourdain's books and not sure where to turn next. This is a good continuation of the niche genre in a tour of food and drink.
Jay P
Jan 04, 2017 Jay P rated it really liked it
As a person who loves rum, it was a must to read the about history and creation behind it. I loved the part about the british navy and for how long they kept on having rum on a daily basis. Fascinating read.
Bill Furney
Dec 03, 2016 Bill Furney rated it it was amazing
History. Rum. Drinking. What's not to like? After conducting a vat full of research, Wayne Curtis wrote an outstanding and entertaining non-fiction. Well done, Mr. Curtis.
Pamela Dolezal
Jan 13, 2017 Pamela Dolezal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cocktail
Very interesting book on the American history of rum. Enjoyable and informative.
Nov 10, 2016 Roya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
And it comes with cocktail recipes :) The narration is a little stiff. Parts of the book were interesting but, overall it was flat. I was inspired to buy a bottle of rum and try it. I didn't like that much either.
More reviews available at my blog, Beauty and the Bookworm.

Let me put this out there to begin with: I am not a big drinker. I can nurse a cocktail all night long, and beer and wine? No, thank you. That said, I don't mind reading about drinking. And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails seemed like an interesting title, so I tossed it into my Amazon cart a while back when I needed something to push me over the limit for my add on items to ship. It's a food history, and I lo
Aug 09, 2015 Marc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This delightful book about the production and consumption of rum concentrates on rum's 17th-century origins (probably in Barbados) and its initial ascension to widespread popularity, and on the invention in the 20th-century of the enduring rum cocktails: the daiquiri, the rum-and-Coke, the mai tai, and the mojito.

The focus is on North America and the West Indies, and the author cleverly structures the book chronologically so that he can, more or less, live up to his subtitle, "A History of the
Jan 03, 2012 Angel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: rum fans, microhistory readers
This is a book I definitely recommend. If you like rum, or you enjoy rum drinks, you will probably enjoy this book that will teach you more about the history of this spirit. If you are history buff or reader, you will enjoy the book as well.

The book is organized in chapters named after a different rum drink. Each chapter provides a history of the drink in question as well as a history of the New World in the process. Together, the chapters provide not only a narrative of where rum came from, wh
Apr 12, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This books is part history and part drinking story. The book effortlessly bobs between general history and details of rum consumption. The author clearly enjoyed himself in the research, but like his taste in drinks it is drier than you might expect for rum. This balance towards history works with the message of the book, which is that rum can be a complex and sophisticated liquor. The author claims respect for rum with a respectable book, but doesn't make you take it straight.

On the history sid
Bobby Otter
Jun 05, 2012 Bobby Otter rated it liked it
A solid and interesting look at rum and its relationship and importance with the New World. There are a number of highs in the book, specifically the colonial era both in the US and Caribbean and the Prohibition in the US. However, it does lag between about 1800 and Prohibition and then post-prohibition, mainly because the roll of rum in the American conscious and consumption was lukewarm during these times.

Rum is also an interesting choice to study the history of the New World because it's rea
Apr 26, 2011 Mark rated it it was ok
Shelves: food, reviewed
I've become increasingly fond of rum through adulthood with the past few summers finding squeeze bottles of simple syrup and fresh lime juice in the fridge so a daiquiri is never more than a few shakes away. It was the combination of connections with New England and the nautical mystique that first caught my interest. And besides, it's commonly made from molasses, which is made from sugar, so it must be great, right? I consider myself an advance intermediate when it comes to rum knowledge and wa ...more
Nov 25, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
If history were always this well written, I would have been a history rather than a literature major. I actually laughed out loud in a number of places, at the same time that I learned facts about 17th-21st century history and popular culture that were frequently from an intriguing perspective and always interesting.

If you like rum, the recipes-through-history are a bonus. If you don't, you will still find much, much of value in this volume. Although rum is the focus, the social, political, mil
Oct 26, 2011 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book to read on the plane on your way to somewhere because it is fun to read and is relatively short. I read it on a trip to England. It is a fun history of rum and how this demon drink figures into the history of the new world. There are all sorts of fun historical anecdotes that the author relates as well as drink recipes and actual historical facts. I actually learned quite a bit from this book and laughed quite a bit as well. One of the things that I learned is that the settl ...more
Feb 15, 2012 Eric rated it it was amazing
This book caught my eye while looking for something to take on a long plane ride. As a non-fiction lover, I'm always interested in books that can tie together disparate elements for a greater understanding. And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails by Wayne Curtis is quite successful in tying together the history of rum with the development of the New World.

By exploring the development, rise, fall, and steady rise again of the rum spirit, Curtis is able to deftly tell the
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New Orleans-based writer Wayne Curtis is a contributing editor to The Atlantic magazine and regularly writes book reviews for the Wall Street Journal. He’s also written for American Scholar, Yankee, Smithsonian, Saveur, the New York Times, Architect, Canadian Geographic, Sunset, enRoute, and American Archeology. His newest book is The Last Great Walk, an account of a remarkable 4,000-mile journey ...more
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