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Bourbon : A History of the American Spirit
by Dane Huckelbridge


Overview -

A rollicking biography of bourbon whiskey that doubles as a rich and surprising history of America itself

Few products are so completely or intimately steeped in the American story as bourbon whiskey. As Dane Huckelbridge's masterfully crafted history reveals, the iconic amber spirit is the American experience, distilled, aged, and sealed in a bottle.  Read more...


 
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More About Bourbon by Dane Huckelbridge
 
 
 
Overview

A rollicking biography of bourbon whiskey that doubles as a rich and surprising history of America itself

Few products are so completely or intimately steeped in the American story as bourbon whiskey. As Dane Huckelbridge's masterfully crafted history reveals, the iconic amber spirit is the American experience, distilled, aged, and sealed in a bottle.

Bourbon's essential ingredient, corn, is indigenous to the Americas and had been fermented by its native peoples for centuries. At Jamestown, the earliest colonists applied their old-world distilling know-how to produce the first corn-based whiskey. After winning the American Revolution, George Washington turned his attention to establishing one of the new nation's largest distilling operations at his estate, Mount Vernon, making him a Founding Father of both the United States and American whiskey. Whiskey-swilling Scots-Irish immigrants had perfected bourbon's recipe in the rugged oak forests of the Appalachian frontier by the early nineteenth century. Kentucky-born Abe Lincoln received a liquor license in 1833 before turning his attention to politics; during the Civil War, soldiers on both sides liberally imbibed before, during, and after battle. Then, in cowboy saloons and gambling halls of the late-nineteenth century, bourbon put the wild in Wild West.

During the early twentieth century, Prohibition fa-mously sought to curtail America's drinking but instead expanded alcohol's reach as speakeasies run by gangsters and bootleggers welcomed women and made drinking more fashionable than ever. Bourbon-consumption reached record heights both at home and abroad as America came of age as a superpower after World War II and labels like Jack Daniel's and Jim Beam emerged as global brands on par with Coca-Cola. Just as bourbon fueled the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway during the first half of the twentieth century, the 1960s and beyond saw rock-and-roll bands and country stars knocking back bottles of Old Grand-Dad and reclaiming bourbon's unruly reputation. Today the story has come full circle with a renewed appreciation of craft-distilled whiskey produced in small batches, much as it was 150 years ago.

Bourbon has been at turns rebellious and traditional, liberating and destructive, regional and global; to know it is to understand the American story. Crack open Bourbon, and come along for the ride."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062241399
  • ISBN-10: 0062241397
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co
  • Publish Date: April 2014
  • Page Count: 278


Related Categories

Books > History > Social History
Books > Cooking > Beverages - Wine & Spirits

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-01-13
  • Reviewer: Staff

In this raucously entertaining history of the spirit, writer Huckelbridge imbibes deeply of the heady stories of the pioneers who discovered the golden nectar and who bottled it and passed it around for all to enjoy. Huckelbridge credits the Catalan mystic Ramon Llull with developing a method of “producing hard liquor from fermented drinks low in alcohol.” In the American colonies, Captain George Thorpe produced the first corn-based liquor that resembles today’s bottle of Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark. Huckelbridge traces the story of the golden liquid up through the American Revolution through Prohibition and up to the present. In 1897, the Pure Food and Drug Act defined what constituted real bourbon, while the Bottled-in-Bond Act provided the government’s seal of authenticity for bottled whiskey, allowing bourbon to be marketed readily. Drink deeply from Huckelbridge’s free-flowing stories, and you’ll soon be besotted with the honeyed history of bourbon. (Apr.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews