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Friday, April 11, 2014

Book of the Day: The Drunken Botanist

The Book of the Day, The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create The World's Great Drinks by Amy Stewart, happens to be one of our new books (and graces our New Books display)! If the whimsical cover and title doesn't grab your attention, we're sure the contents will. This book contains little to well-known facts about various alcoholic drinks and the many syrups, infusions, garnishes, etc., that go in them. And if that wasn't enough, they include drink recipes!
Neat facts in this books include....
  • Drunken Lorikeets! - Eucalyptus nectar is their normal food source, but these Australian parrots become intoxicated when they consume it after it has been fermented on the tree. This causes them to be unable to fly, stumble, and become vulnerable to predators. Luckily, "bird rescue organizations routinely take in drunken lorikeets and help them sober up" (Stewart 246).
  • Waspy figs? - While figs can be distilled or infused, for example, in vodka, it's their waspy origins that stuck out to us. According to this book, around 11,000 BC figs had to "be pollinated by a wasp in order to set seed and reproduce, but the wasp lays her eggs inside that fruitlike structure and often dies inside" (270). So what happened when you picked it and opened it up? You'd find bits of wasp corpses. Today's figs have longer flowers that doesn't require the wasp to go inside the actual fruit. Some figs today don't even need to be pollinated at all.
  • Not the snails! - The book describes an "interesting" recipe following a much more normal one from the year 1737. The recipe from that era "called for boiling snails with milk, brandy, figs, and spices" (271) and was offered "to people with consumption" (271). Drink up!
This book is sure to delight if you love nuggets of information mixed with your cocktails. So come on by and check it out!

Stewart, Amy. The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create The World's Great Drinks. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill; Chapel Hill, NC 2013. Print

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