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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

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,980 ratings  ·  252 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)
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Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really surprised me. I've been curious about liquor and the various types for a long time, so when I saw this title, I knew I had to check the book out, especially because I've been into microhistory books the past five or six years. I wasn't expecting such a funny, entertaining, passionate, and well-told story about rum, a liquor I don't even drink.
The book begins with rum's early history, and it tells the story of the colonial Caribbean isles (a more romantic, rum-soaked word than "
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
Jenny Lee
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
The whole section on America's tiki craze just made my skin crawl with the blatant cultural appropriation and stereotyping of Pacific island cultures and no acknowledgement of how this was problematic. The history overall was interesting, but but the book was too long and a bit dull for me compared to other food history books. ...more
Mar 11, 2015 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
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Literally on my way to pick up a bottle of Pampero Aniversario. Thanks, Mr. Curtis.
Adriana Herrera
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a research read...for reasons...It did the trick.
Jul 11, 2008 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
Steve Walsh
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly researched and well composed, this is a perfect introduction to everything hidden behind the veil of public perception of rum. Rum is not just a sugary vodka or tiki quiche, it has deep roots, especially in North and Central American history. Even if you are not a rum fan, this is worth a read if only to see the ebb and flow of a products popularity and the ingeniousness born of necessity.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it
The history was interesting, drink comparisons, not so much. I almost have up on this book when in the intro the author compared a caipirinha to a daiquiri, it's more like a cousin of the mojito instead of rum, there's cachaca. Not sure about the author's palate, but the history of rum was informative. ...more
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The history of Rum was far more interesting than I thought it would be. Good book.
Jen B
Jun 13, 2012 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 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 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
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I generally review books of this type based on a scale of "Did this provide me with too much knowledge about its central subject or not enough?" With Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World, I learned just the right amount of information about bananas. With Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, I learned way too much about how nuclear power plant workers take on and off socks and not enough about nuclear power plant disaster workers.

This book, unfo
Tom Darrow
Dec 29, 2016 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
Kelly Sedinger
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, food, 2017-reads
Actual rating would be 3.5 stars. This is an entertaining history book, tracing the history of rum through the history of the New World...or maybe tracing the history of the New World through the history of rum. In any event, we start with the earliest precursors to rum (when sailors would drink the must-have-been-nasty remnants of sugarcane after processing) to the arrival in the late 20th century of tiki bars and mojitos on every menu. The book's hook is using a different cocktail to tie each ...more

Based on the title, I had thought that And a Bottle of Rum would be a rum-oriented version of Standage’s History of the World in 6 Glasses. This turned out not to be the case: where “6 Glasses” shows the influence of six specific beverages on Western history and society, this book is more of a history of rum, and the effects of historical and social events on its production, marketing and consumption. This is not to say that it’s a bad book, it’s still very readable and an solid account of the h
Jun 20, 2007 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
Sep 04, 2007 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!
Ellen Marsh
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wayne Curtis knows his rum. And his history. And how to mix them and make them quite interesting. I had no idea how much rum had fueled the growth of the 13 original colonies, including my own South Carolina, and the sociological impact of drunkenness--every bit as intriguing as England's relationship with gin.

This one's a keeper on my mixology shelf.
Apr 17, 2011 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. ...more
DeAnna Knippling
Nov 24, 2016 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.
Catriona Reynolds
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
I recommend reading this book while on a plane to the Caribbean, but if you can't swing that it's worth reading anyway.
Decent social/cultural history to go along with the business/political history of rum.

Excited to put my new found knowledge into practice.
Mar 07, 2009 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! ...more
Jul 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Similar to "Cod," except actually entertaining. ...more
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! History, the Caribbean, pirates, and mai tais!
Kurt Vostal
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating account of the development of the New World from a unique perspective!

And a Bottle of Rum by Wayne Curtis tells the story of the discovery and development of the New World, highlighting rum’s essential role in the conflicts and events that shaped the Western Hemisphere. Beginning with the excursions of Christopher Columbus, the book discusses ten periods in American and Caribbean history, narrating each chapter around an iconic rum concoction from that era. Rum emerged out of conf
Luke Johnson
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Rather disappointing read on that could of been a very interesting topic. Now let me begin by saying I'm a whisk(e)y guy myself, but very much enjoying reading/learning about spirits and wine in general. The cardinal sin of this book is that Mr Curtis does a lot of telling you how things are instead of showing them to you. He over-exaggerates, tells some half truths, and omits a fair amount of facts that could of made this book so much better.

Let's start with the pros though. As a history of rum
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am not a liquor aficianado by any means - my cocktails of choice are ones that don't taste like liquor. Shots make me gag and the idea of sipping a glass of whiskey is my idea of hell. Alright, that's a bit dramatic, but you get my point.

Microhistories, though? Those are my jam. Especially history through a unique lens, or in this case, glass. Rum has a deep role in the forming and continued history of America. Or at least it corresponds with some major moments in American history. Through 10
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New Orleans-based writer Wayne Curtis is a contributing editor at Garden & Gun, Imbibe, and The Daily Beast, and a former contributing editor to The Atlantic magazine. He's also written for American Scholar, Yankee, Smithsonian, Saveur, the New York Times, Architect, Wall Street Journal, Sunset, enRoute, and American Archeology. His newest book is The Last Great Walk, an account of a remarkable 4, ...more

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