- Expected Jul 8, 2021
- 16,99 €
These days the quinine in your G&T may not be necessary to cure malaria and you don’t really need that second Gimlet to prevent a case of scurvy, but until relatively recently, our drinks were also our medicines. This intoxicating and eclectic history of cocktails infuses all our favourite drinks with spirited history.
Early on, alcohol and medicine were interchangeable: Distilled spirits were called ‘eau de vie’, meaning ‘water of life’, speaking to their healing (or at least, invigorating) powers. Until modern sanitation, alcoholic beverages were usually safer to drink than water, and low-ABV beer was served to factory workers for hydration the way Gatorade is to football players today. Not only is alcohol a disinfectant (whiskey would both numb the pain and sterilise the wound), it is a preservative, employed to extend the useful life of medicinal herbs throughout the year, and mixers bring additional benefits to cocktails.
In this quirky and comprehensive history, Camper English explores the anti-malarial properties of tonic and the bubonic plague-fighting juniper in gin; how sarsaparilla in root beer was used to ward off syphilis; and the legend that the wormwood in vermouth is named for its ability to fight tapeworm and the like. He traces the medicinal origins of so many of today’s drinks and finds numerous fascinating histories, stretching back to ancient Greece and Rome, the Islamic golden age and the European renaissance, all begging to be told.
About the author
Camper English is one of the foremost cocktail and spirits writers in the United States. In the dozen years he has been covering cocktails, he has been a cocktail columnist for Fine Cooking and Details, and the contributing editor for drinks at Saveur and written for publications including Wired, Time, Entrepreneur, Popular Science, the San Francisco Chronicle, Stuff, and Sunset among many others. He has appeared on multiple podcasts and has been written about or quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.