Reviews for Drunken Botanist

Book News Reviews
Stewart brings indefatigable energy to this compendium of horticultural information (and recipes) that can pique or satisfy curiosity and resolve cocktail party disputes over, say, the identity of a maraschino cherry or techniques for harvesting juniper. Organized for browsing as well as more focused pursuit of knowledge, this book is packed with information tidbits. It's attractively designed in a convenient size (6.25x8.25")--not too big to put in an oversize handbag or on a small-size table for reference or conversation starts. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Kirkus Reviews 2013 January #2
A comprehensive guide to the intersection of plants and booze. Fine Gardening contributor Stewart (Wicked Bugs: The Louse that Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects, 2011, etc.) brings together an encyclopedia of information on 160 plants from around the world that are often used in alcoholic beverages. Her enthusiasm is evident throughout, as she brings readers into "the dazzlingly rich, complex, and delicious lives of the plants that go into all those bottles behind the bar." Classic plants like grapes, apples, corn and sugarcane are just a few of the botanicals that Stewart examines. She also studies the herbs and spices used to flavor base alcohols, as well as elderflowers, hops, roses and violets, which will alert gardeners to the potential living in the garden. Stewart rounds out her in-depth coverage with a full section on fruit, including apricots and yuzus, and nuts and seeds like almonds and walnuts. The history of fermentation and distillation, the origins of plant-based medicines, tips on growing your own plants and more than 50 cocktail recipes add multiple layers to an already vast amount of information on botanicals. Gardeners, nature lovers and mixologists will find themselves reaching frequently for this volume; the hard part will be deciding what to try next as they discover that a liquor store is really "a fantastical greenhouse, the world's most exotic botanical garden, the sort of strange and overgrown conservatory we only encounter in our dreams." A rich compendium of botanical lore for cocktail lovers. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 February #2

Stewart's (Wicked Bugs; Wicked Plants) new book explores the botanical beginnings of our favorite drinks. Like her previous books, it is so rich in details, little-known facts, and actual science, that readers won't even notice they are reading an encyclopedia. Each plant description includes history, propagation, and usage details. Stewart includes sidebars with recipes, field guides, planting instructions, a description of the role of bugs in getting from seed to plant to table, and in-depth historical details. She includes archaeological finds such as the presence of barley beer on clay pot fragments dated to 3400 B.C.E. and the legal details that changed the course of birch beer, which started as a mildly alcoholic beer, morphed into a soft drink during Prohibition, and recently began to be produced as a liqueur. VERDICT With more than 50 drink recipes, and growing tips, this highly entertaining book will please both cocktail enthusiasts and backyard gardeners. The inclusion of rich history throughout will delight armchair historians and the naturally curious. Highly recommended.--Ann Wilberton, Pace Univ. Lib., Brooklyn, NY

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