Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits

Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits

Jason Wilson

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 1580082882

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

While some may wonder, “Does the world really need another flavored vodka?” no one answers this question quite so memorably as spirits writer and raconteur Jason Wilson does in Boozehound. (By the way, the short answer is no.) A unique blend of travelogue, spirits history, and recipe collection, Boozehound explores the origins of what we drink and the often surprising reasons behind our choices.
In lieu of odorless, colorless, tasteless spirits, Wilson champions Old World liquors with hard-to-define flavors—a bitter and complex Italian amari, or the ancient, aromatic herbs of Chartreuse, as well as distinctive New World offerings like lively Peruvian pisco. With an eye for adventure, Wilson seeks out visceral experiences at the source of production—visiting fields of spiky agave in Jalisco, entering the heavily and reverently-guarded Jägermeister herb room in Wolfenbüttel, and journeying to the French Alps to determine if mustachioed men in berets really handpick blossoms to make elderflower liqueur.
In addition, Boozehound offers more than fifty drink recipes, from three riffs on the Manhattan to cocktail-geek favorites like the Aviation and the Last Word. These recipes are presented alongside a host of opinionated essays that cherish the rare, uncover the obscure, dethrone the overrated, and unravel the mysteries of taste, trends, and terroir. Through his far-flung, intrepid traveling and tasting, Wilson shows us that perhaps nothing else as entwined with the history of human culture is quite as much fun as booze.

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(the sparkling water and ice). “If you keep these principles firmly in mind,” he writes, “you can ad lib ad infinitum.” Here are my two very favorite Fizzes. SLOE GIN FIZZ Serves 1 2 ounces Plymouth sloe gin 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 teaspoon simple syrup Sparkling mineral water Orange slice, for garnish Fill a shaker two-thirds full with ice. Add the sloe gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake well, then strain into a chilled highball glass filled with ice and top with

in Stealing Beauty. All of that adds up to a fairly saccharine vision of Tuscany. So I have to admit I was hopeful when everyone, including my guidebooks and the Tuaca people, called Livorno “the ugliest city in Tuscany,” with few recommended tourist sights. Most visitors simply pass through on the way to the ferryboats that leave from the port. Livorno to me immediately felt like a real, workaday Italian city, and I loved it. The evening before my visit to Tuaca, I sipped aperitivi at a few of

they liked and frowny faces to mark the ones they didn’t. Yes, I overheard someone ask, “So, Guatemala … that’s where, Central America, right?” Yes, there are numerous middle-aged men wearing Jimmy Buffet–esque island-print shirts, including one shirt I saw with pictures of bongos. No, there is not a lot of spitting going on. All of which makes for a much more fun event than most other tastings I attend. Rum is, of course, a sugarcane-based spirit, but it has many variations. Some (say, from the

empathize, and I felt for a moment like the dreaded Scotch snob pushing a big, smoky peat monster on a newbie (which I guess would go hand in hand with rum being the new single-malt Scotch). Anyway, rhum agricole may be the most complex rum of all. Only a handful of distilleries on Martinique and Guadeloupe are governed by an AOC, bestowed by the French government in 1996. Most other rums are made from molasses, but rhum agricole must be produced from 100 percent fresh, pure sugarcane juice. Some

started talking about booze without actually fixing any drinks. So allow me to break this narrative for a moment, step behind the bar, and offer you, dear reader, both a cocktail and a few thoughts. If you’re going to make it through two hundred–plus pages with me, you’ll probably be needing a few more cocktails. Consider these chapter-ending interludes as sort of like big, boozy endnotes. (And if you happen to need a bit more cocktail-making advice, on anything from stocking your bar to

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