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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

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,380 Ratings  ·  192 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
...more
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Crown Publishing Group (NY) (first published January 1st 2006)
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Jenny
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 "
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John
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
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Richard
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
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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
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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
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Justin
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, history
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
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Jesse
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
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Michelle
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
Jeff
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...
Laura
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 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 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.
Jamie
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!
James
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Loved it! History, the Caribbean, pirates, and mai tais!
Chris
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Similar to "Cod," except actually entertaining.
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
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Emily
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
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
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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
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Redsteve

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
...more
Kelly Sedinger
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: food, history, 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
(a)lyss(a)
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Even diluted, the grog ration was still equivalent to about five cocktails per day, assuming an ounce and a half of rum per cocktail."

This is an interesting look at the history of rum.

From the time of the slave trade through modern tiki cocktails this book covers how rum has played a role throughout history and how the drinks have evolved. This book sort of glosses over the horrors of the slave trade and how people were enslaved to harvest sugar which was disappointing. I was curious to hear ab
...more
Jeff Mauch
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I know when you thing liquor in America, you typically think whisky, but while whisky certainly has held the throne for a while, I'd argue that it's rum that has had a much bigger impact on America. It's incredible how rum finds a way to rise again and again and reinvent itself through the last 400 years in ways most major spirits haven't. From its basis in the slave trade of the early Americas to it being the first spirit really embraced and made in North America and then onto its refinement an ...more
Oz
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting and fun read that really opened my eyes to the role that rum played in the early stages of American history and its importance to the Boston area which I happen to be living in at the moment. The book starts really strong and carries that momentum through the first half but begins to slow down (at least to me) once it left the historical era and entered into a more pop culture discussion. Great read that I would recommend to anyone interested in American history, booze, the Caribbean ...more
Fred
Mar 01, 2017 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.
Leo Buijs
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good chronological history about the ups and downs of Rum over the centuries. I liked the chapter where the author digs into the origin of the Mai tai. It's well written with lovely anecdotes. I bought the hard copy as it is great resource to use for mixing cocktails and look up about special rums.
Mark
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, read-in-2017
Surprisingly interesting and informative read on rum. I grabbed this book because I thought the Ten Cocktails in the title would include more liquor than just rum. Even though it mentions other spirits briefly, the history and evolution of rum makes for a great story that many, myself included, know nothing about.
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.
Jason Clarke
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Entertainingly written with interesting research. I like the different threads of history that are woven together with rum as the central narrative. There is even a little social science thrown in, but this is not a scholarly or in-depth history of any of the subjects. The recipes and reviews at the end are a nice touch and should lead to a fun trip to the liquor store.
Sam Erickson
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Stylistically similar to a seminal history text, A Distant Mirror, And a Bottle of Rum explores history not through an influential character but through a superb spirit.
I learned a lot and can snob it up to an even higher degree, making me at least 2 shades more unbearable to have at a party. Excellent.
Theresafic
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting book. I'm not really a rum drinker but reading the history of rum was interesting. I liked learning about how it became an alcoholic drink, I really liked the history of rum and learning about pirates. Clever format choosing a drink to examine the history in context.
I recommend the book to people like me who like food/drink history.
An easy to read, informative book.
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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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