A Manhattan or a Sazerac; neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of soda—no matter how it’s served up, whiskey is synonymous with the poet’s inspiration and the devil’s spirit. Be it bourbon, rye, corn, Irish, or Scotch, whiskey has an infamous and celebrated history from a sometimes lethal, herb-infused concoction to a high-quality, meticulously crafted liquor.
In Whiskey, Kevin R. Kosardelivers an informative, concise narrative of the drink’s history, from its obscure medieval origins to the globally traded product that it is today. Focusing on three nations—Scotland, Ireland, and America—Kosarcharts how the technique of distillation moved from ancient Egypt to the British Isles. Contrary to popular claims, there were no good old days of whiskey: before the twentieth century, consumers could never be sure just what was being poured in their cup—unscrupulous profiteers could distill anything into booze and pawn it off as whiskey. Eventually, government and industry established legal definitions of what whiskey is and how it could be made, allowing for the distinctive styles of whiskey known today.
Whiskey explains what whiskey is, how it is made, and how the types of whiskey differ. With a list of suggested brands and classic cocktail recipes for the thirsty reader, this book is perfect for drink and food enthusiasts and history lovers alike.
Park of Reaktion's Edible series. Like all the books in the series, it's a brief, but fairly comprehensive history of whiskey. I've read a longer and more in depth book about whiskey, and if that's what you're looking for, this one won't satisfy. But if you just want a brief introduction to the subject, this is the book for you. And since I'll take pretty much any book about any foodstuff, brief or in depth, I loved it. It's nicely illustrated, too, which makes it a nice book just to look through. The covers of the whole series are essentially identical, and attractive.
A great overview of how whiskey is made, and the spirit's history in the major whiskey-producing nations (Scotland, Ireland, and the United States). It has an easy, conversational tone and tries to cover the subject in very broad strokes--it is NOT a tasting guide; it is NOT a guide to Scotches; it is NOT about how to distill your own. But if you're just looking for a bird's eye view of whiskey and how to explain the difference between bourbon and rye, then this is the book for you.
Kevin Kosar's Whiskey: A Global History is a definitive guide to the spirit-how it's made, where it comes from, its mysterious history, how it shaped the identity and destiny of nations. It will tell you everything about whiskey except what, exactly, it did to your twenties. The book is a masterful guide to whiskies of all sorts, scotch, bourbon, Irish, Canadian and American. It is detailed and informative without being pedantic, and entertaining without straying off topic. From the cloudy particulars of biblical time, through Egyptian and Irish prehistory, through the alchemists' laboratories to the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791, prohibition and the present, Whiskey: A Global History tells a vast story without ever seeming to skim. A slender volume, the book nonetheless packs a wallop. In addition to a detailed and fascinating history, it has enough technical information that I was tempted to start distilling. Somehow, Kosar even found room for an impressive array of historical images about whiskey dating back hundreds of years. And at the end, once you've learned the space you occupy in whiskey's rich and raucous history, Whiskey: A Global History gives you a series of classic whiskey cocktail recipes so you may raise your glass and take your place in that history.
This is a solid contribution to the Reaktion Books "Edible Series." While the Champagne volume is more successful, Kosar is able to review the distinctive, but also intertwined, histories of whiskey in Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the United States. Recent histories of micro-distilleries are also addressed.
The alignment between the wets and the dries - the drinkers and the regulators - is carefully considered in this short history, along with the impact of both prohibition and regulation.
A very quick and interesting read, in fact you can probably consume this in the same time it takes to enjoy a nice scotch.
Kosar, doesn't go the typical route of describing tastes or, as he says, giving into the PR from large distilleries of the virtues of whisky. He takes times to break out the different processes and ingredients of whisky by geography --America, Scottish, and Irish.
Short, simple, and to the point, this book gives a quick crash course in the history of whiskey. Nothing spectacular here, but I still learned a few things in it. Read it if you want a place to start out in your quest to understand whiskey.
Kosar provides a simple yet thorough overview of whiskey, both its history and development. Rather than focus on one region or style, he devotes individual chapters to Scotch, Irish whiskey, and American whiskey. In addition, he includes chapters describing the process and different styles of whiskey. A helpful and enjoyable read.
“‘Whiskey,’ at 144 pages, is the perfect primer for the person who wants to quickly learn the basics.”—Jason Wilson, Washington Post
“Kevin Kosar might be the most thoughtful boozehound you’ll ever meet.”—Todd Kliman, Washingtonian magazine
“This is a great book for the someone looking for information and the history of whiskey. It is a very informative and an entertaining read for both the casual and serious student of distilled beverages…. I think it would be a great book for teaching people about whiskey—liquor companies should buy a large quantity to train their staff and/or customers. Highly recommended—especially as a side with your whiskey. —Chris Carlsson, SpiritsReview.com
“Scotch purists may splutter over Kosar’s planet-wide perspective: note his spelling. But open-minded readers, and drinkers, will raise a glass to his elan and expertise.” —Boyd Tonkin, Independent (UK)
“[P]ages of this pocket-size guide are filled with … charm and erudition.”—Alasdair Buchan, Diplomat magazine (UK)
“Kevin R. Kosar… has written a brief, informative, and endlessly diverting history of whiskey.” —Philip Terzian, The Weekly Standard
“With maps, antique illustrations and advertisements, charts and photos, this global history distills the spirit in a ways that’s accessible and engaging.”—Liza Weisstuch, Massachusetts Beverage Business
“Whiskey: A Global History is nicely illustrated with vintage photographs, advertisements, and cartoons, and packed with factoids and stories.”—Karen Lyon, Hill Rag
This is a very good primer for readers just getting into whisky. It does not go into very much detail on any topic, but still contains plenty that is of interest. It is also highly readable and goes fast.
This is a very basic history of whiskey that, while interesting, is very macro in scope. The editing is poor and distracting - typos exist and some writing is labored when it doesn't have to be. The net effect is that it was hurried.