Distiller magazine

Distiller_Summer 2015

Distiller magazine a publication of the American Distilling Institute, the Voice of Artisan Distilling; devoted to the craft spirits industry: vendors and distillers alike.

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SUMMER 2015 distiller 137 Book Reviews M ichael Dietsch, spirits writer and Brooklyn resident, has written one of the most comprehensive books on shrub and shrub cocktails to date. Along with the Fizz, the Daisy and the Cobbler, a shrub is a historic category of drink containing fruit juice, vinegar, sugar, water and spirits. Dietsch does an excellent job tracing the fascinating history of the drink. As divergent cultures adopted and transformed shrubs to meet their tastes, many recipe and production variations emerged. Originating in the Muslim world as a non-alcoholic drink made with sugar, citrus juice, herbs, flowers and other botanicals, European culture transformed shrubs into a cocktail of citrus syrups mixed with rum or brandy. In the New World, American colonists replaced the citrus with fruit vinegars, but kept the sugar, water, and rum. Prohibition-era T-totalers in America returned the shrub to its non-alcoholic roots, removing the rum to create a refreshing drink in the era before the invention of commercial soft-drinks. e book contains many recipes, both for shrub syrups and related cocktails, and Dietsch catalogues well the drink's flavor versatility—from sweet, to herbal, fruity and spicy. And, as shrubs regain popularity among craft cocktail enthusiasts, they likewise represent a great opportunity for craft distillers in the states allowing cocktail service in tasting rooms. Shrubs offer a refreshing, tasty and storied way to make single-spirit cocktails that are dynamic and delicious. SHRUBS: AN OLD-FASHIONED DRINK FOR MODERN TIMES Michael Dietsch The Countryman Press, 2014 Hardcover/224 pages ISBN 978-1581572445 $24.95 C hantal Martineau, a food and travel writer from New York City, recently debuted her first book, How the Gringos Stole Tequila. It's a thorough and thoughtful look at the evolution of tequila, but one that is limited by its own provocative title. Although Martineau eventually addresses how the perception of tequila in Mexico has been shaped by U.S. consumers, the title theme is only hinted at in the early chapters, emerging fully only toward the end. So, although Martineau has written a solid book on the historical development of tequila, the production methods involved, and the environmental impact tequila has had on Jalisco and surrounding states, one is left wondering when the gringos will arrive. In the final chapters, Martineau considers how the complicated relationship between Mexico and the U.S. has affected the production and flavor of tequila. She posits that, whereas most Mexicans are mestizo (mixed Indigenous and European ancestry), the broader culture is dominated by criollo (decedents of Europeans) values. Because of this, the spirit once considered the drink of borrachos (drunks) and turistas (tourists) has become one of significant national pride. Ironically, this shift in Mexican attitude came after most traditional tequila producers were bought by foreign interests. Martineau's book is an excellent introduction to tequila's long history and complicated evolution over the last 15 years but a different title might be more suitable. HOW THE GRINGOS STOLE TEQUILA: THE MODERN AGE OF MEXICO'S MOST TRADITIONAL SPIRIT Chantal Martineau Chicago Review Press, 2015 Hardcover/224 pages ISBN 978-1613749050 $26.95 J ust in time for summer, when refreshing drinks brighten garden parties, Cocktail Whisperer Warren Bobrow brings out his recipes for the barbecue and outdoor entertaining season. For those who take a foodie approach, and not a store-bought approach, to their libations, Bobrow leads down the garden path through shrub recipes he has developed and classics with which he has tinkered. He tells the story of each, describing its preparation, uses and even the restorative properties attributed to the ingredient by folk medicine and modern science. e book gives the author's original recipes for using these shrubs not only in cocktails but also in mocktails and other non-alcoholic, restorative refreshers. e last section of the book is reserved for some recipes for reducing the shrubs to gastriques that have a wide variety of culinary applications, from desert toppings to grilling meat and fish. Laid out in a sensible way, with a hard cover and spiral bind, the book will sit flat and open on a kitchen counter, allowing the recipes to be read while both hands are busy handling ingredients. Each recipe sits comfortably on a double truck, with a brief story, list of ingredients, instructions and beautiful descriptive photographs, making it very easy to use. is book entices the reader to get up and make some shrubs, mix a cocktail, or even grill a salmon to experience some new flavors. BITTERS AND SHRUB SYRUP COCKTAILS: RESTORATIVE VINTAGE COCKTAILS, MOCKTAILS & ELIXERS Warren Bobrow Fair Winds Press, 2015 Spiralbound/160 pages ISBN 978-1592336753 $21.95

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