An imaginative natural history survey of the wide world of spirits, from whiskey and gin to grappa and moonshine
In this follow-up book to A Natural History of Wine and A Natural History of Beer, authors Rob DeSalle and Ian Tattersall yet again use alcoholic beverages as a lens through which to gain a greater appreciation of natural history.
Distilled considers highly alcoholic spirits in the context of evolution, ecology, history, primatology, molecular biology, physiology, neurobiology, chemistry, and even astrophysics. With the help of illustrator Patricia Wynne, DeSalle and Tattersall address historical and cultural aspects and ingredients, the distillation process, and spirits and their effects. They also call on an international group of colleagues to contribute chapters on brandy, vodka, tequila, whiskies, gin, rum, eaux-de-vie, schnapps, baiju, grappa, ouzo, and cachaça.
Covering beverages from across the globe and including descriptions of the experience of tasting each drink, this book offers an accessible and comprehensive exploration of the scientific dimensions of spirits.
Rob DeSalle is a curator at the American Museum of Natural History, New York City, Ian Tattersall is curator emeritus, Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History. In addition to A Natural History of Wine and A Natural History of Beer, DeSalle and Tattersall are coauthors of The Brain: Big Bangs, Behaviors, and Beliefs. They both reside in New York City.
"Distilled masterfully separates rigorous academic inquiries into the origins and rituals of global spirit production from the staid dialectic of trade media with witty, conversational chapters that make nuanced technical information more approachable and enjoyable."
– Jim Meehan, author of Meehan's Bartender Manual and The PDT Cocktail Book
"As a 'natural' follow-up to the authors' A Natural History of Wine, this sequel on spirits will prove equally informative and engaging and serve as a unique reference work for a range of spirits worldwide."
– Patrick E. McGovern, author of Ancient Brews: Rediscovered and Re-created (2018) and Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture (2019)
"To anyone who has ever asked – or been asked – for a recommendation for a book on whiskey, rum, gin, or any other spirit, look no further. The answer has never been easier: Rob Desalle and Ian Tattersall's Distilled is all you need."
– Nicolas Palazzi, PM Spirits
"A chemical and cultural history of distilling that is concise and readable. Distilled offers intriguing viewpoints on tasting that are sure to form new perceptions for even the most seasoned professional."
– Frank Caiafa, author of The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book