Book Review: Boozehound – Jason Wilson

Title: Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits
Author: Jason Wilson
ISBN: 9781580082884
Pages: 240
Release Date: September 21, 2010
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Genre: Non-Fiction, Essays
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

In this search for the rare and obscure in liquor, Jason Wilson tries to raise awareness about spirits.  He travels near and far, commenting on the spirit culture (or lack thereof) in America.

Review:

Jason Wilson’s book has just one goal: to raise the awareness of liquors and spirits in the United States.  In a culture that seems to worship at the altar of the Cosmopolitan and Appletini, Wilson’s message is simple: there is something better out there.  As an avid fan of craft beer, I don’t usually have much time or an inclination to drink too many cocktails, but I’m always interested in reading about culture, so I thought this book might be interesting.

Boozehound is many things in one: a travelogue, a lesson, a social commentary, and a a feast for the senses.  Wilson writes in an engaging manner as he travels around the world seeking out rare spirits.  Along the way, he tells the reader the history and evolution of the particular liquor.  It’s a great structure, and serves to keep the reader entertained while also teaching them something.  At the end of each chapter, the book also has drink recipes.  They certainly look interesting, and I enjoyed browsing through them, but I highly doubt I will ever make any of them.  The ingredients are often obscure, and I don’t fancy spending that much money on making a cocktail.

Wilson doesn’t hide his disdain for certain fads in the liquor market.  The one he focuses on the most in Boozehound is that of flavored vodkas.  I found myself chuckling out loud as he railed on against this phenomenon.  He makes some very good points about their ridiculousness (and about vodka in general).  It’s clear Wilson seeks out genuine spirits with a history behind them, so it’s very interesting to see what he chooses and why.

Though I’m not a big cocktail drinker (and won’t be one, even after reading this book), I did enjoy Boozehound.  It’s always interesting to read about the nuances of a different culture, and I enjoyed Wilson’s enthusiasm for spirits.  If you have a liquor lover in your life, this book would make an excellent gift.

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Comments

  1. My husband is an amazing drink maker and is always experimenting with various liquors. When we travel, we love to sit at little bars and talk to the bartenders about their favorite little treasures, I take a picture, then we try to get some. So I think I would really like this book! It sounds like the author is a bit of a liquor snob, but why not? We pull the same attitude towards wine.

  2. My husband is an amazing drink maker and is always experimenting with various liquors. When we travel, we love to sit at little bars and talk to the bartenders about their favorite little treasures, I take a picture, then we try to get some. So I think I would really like this book! It sounds like the author is a bit of a liquor snob, but why not? We pull the same attitude towards wine.

  3. I was going to say the same thing as Sandy, namely that the author seems to be a bit of a liquor snob, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that the book sounds rather interesting. I have a friend who would just LOVE this book. If you get him talking about alcohol, he will go on forever and pepper you with the most amazing factoids and information. I need to point him towards this review. It would seem that this book is right up his alley. Thanks, Swapna!

  4. I was going to say the same thing as Sandy, namely that the author seems to be a bit of a liquor snob, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that the book sounds rather interesting. I have a friend who would just LOVE this book. If you get him talking about alcohol, he will go on forever and pepper you with the most amazing factoids and information. I need to point him towards this review. It would seem that this book is right up his alley. Thanks, Swapna!

  5. I think this book would be fascinating. I don’t mind a little food or drink snobbery. I’m interested in his views on cocktail trends. I tend to go for wine for scotch (no water, no soda, thank you very much), but a cocktail is fun sometimes, especially in a fancy bar.

  6. I think this book would be fascinating. I don’t mind a little food or drink snobbery. I’m interested in his views on cocktail trends. I tend to go for wine for scotch (no water, no soda, thank you very much), but a cocktail is fun sometimes, especially in a fancy bar.

  7. I always love books that can teach me something new! I follow your beer conversations on twitter, but I think I’ll have to pick up a copy of this book too. I may not be able to afford anything fancy but I can at least know it exists ;).

  8. I always love books that can teach me something new! I follow your beer conversations on twitter, but I think I’ll have to pick up a copy of this book too. I may not be able to afford anything fancy but I can at least know it exists ;).

  9. I have no idea what to make when it comes to cocktails, and really don’t drink that many spirits anyway! I might learn something from a book like this.

  10. I have no idea what to make when it comes to cocktails, and really don’t drink that many spirits anyway! I might learn something from a book like this.

  11. This sounds rather interesting. I am thinking I will have to see about getting a copy.

  12. This sounds rather interesting. I am thinking I will have to see about getting a copy.

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