Thinking about Drinking

I’m working on a nonfiction project about vodka, and it’s a pretty fascinating subject. It got me thinking about drinking, and books on drinking, or more specifically, the drinks themselves that we drink. I actually blogged about this once before and thought I’d take it a step further.

An article an author of mine is working on cites a couple of books on his subject, including Linda Himelstein’s THE KING OF VODKA, which is about Pyotr Smirnov and his vodka empire. There have been so many ways alcohol and its long drunken history have been explored in books–from recipe cocktail books, which have been popular the last few years as the DIY movement has shifted to drinking and people are experimenting in their own kitchens, to practical books on wine, beer, and pairing foods with drinks.

What is interests me most, however, are the many excellent narrative nonfiction books about not only the drinks themselves, but the players behind them, like my own client Tilar Mazzeo’s bestselling THE WIDOW CLICQUOT, which describes the fascinating life of Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, the woman who Veuve Clicquot brand. THE BILLIONAIRE’S VINEGAR was a bestseller that delved deeper into the story behind the world’s most expensive bottle of wine. Absinthe is another spirit that we talked about a great deal when thinking about ideas for Tilar. There’s a lot of interesting history there. I personally love these historical narrative nonfiction accounts that paint a broader cultural picture of a seemingly narrow subject. In the hands of a skilled writer, there is much to explore.

In doing some research, I came upon this Wall Street Journal article that lists a few titles that are worth looking at if you’re interested in this vast subject.

What are your favorite books about drinking? Are there any books on the subject you’d like to see that don’t already exist? It’s a little too early for me to start drinking, but the mood is definitely set for an evening cocktail!

3 Responses to Thinking about Drinking

  1. Donna Hole says:

    I guess the only books I’ve read lately on the subject of drinking are memoires on recovery, or the bartender’s guide (I was a coctail waitress for 15 years). And my own trilogy, of course, which fictionally deals with the subject of alcholism/addiction and domestic violence (sorry Stacy, couldn’t help myself). And who could forget the Tom Cruise movie Coctails? Or Coyote Ugly?

    Drinking is such a major aspect of any culture though, its a hard subject to ignore. Most stories involving drinking show it is a bad light. Either the devastating effects on family and work relationships, or as comic self expression in frat movies.

    The last really good depiction of drinking was the sit com Cheers. Oh yeah, the collective characters on The Drew Cary show were seriously developing a beer for legitimate patent and marketing. And now that I think of it, ALFIE had a storyline involving a bar tender.

    I still stand by my opinion that drinking in general is depicted in a negative light now days. Same as smoking; if your character smokes, and drinks, they must be bad people; or seriously maladjusted and in need of intervention before their greater good as hero’s can be achieved.


  2. Ooh, I’m about to start my weekend so this post caught my eye. What about a book to help you drink along with your favorite tv shows? Pabst for Justified, bloody marys for True Blood . . . Shows like Glee could prove more challenging. Hmm. Is 9:30 am too early to get started? Let’s raise a flask to three day weekends!

  3. Lisa Marie says:

    Oh, I have an unpopular view. I don’t drink. Not because I’m a recovering alcoholic or because I come from a Mennonite background (although I suspect that’s probably a factor), but because I don’t believe that people should be encouraged to do anything that dulls their true perception of the world.

    I’d rather see a book written about alcohol written from a sociological perspective, as well as what influences people to drink — so they can understand their desire to do so. I personally think that a lot of people use their “taste for wine” or liquor as an excuse to tune out.

    (Sorry …)

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