This book has almost nothing to do with beer. However, it has quite a bit to do with booze in general.
If you’re the sort of person that geeks out over food and drink, you’ll probably really enjoy this book. It’s well written, heavily researched, and full of first hand accounts of the sort that generally we’re now reduced to read reading about in 140 characters or less. My favorite is a story of an admiral who made a bowl of punch so large that a ship’s boy rowed around in the middle of it serving the punch to the guests.
The book’s divided into three sections, the first being a general history of the different punches in general and their main ingredients. The second is smaller than the other two, and amounts to an extremely technical discussion of the art of punch making. The third is 30 or so authentic punch recipes, with the original and then the authors best guess on how to approximate it using modern ingredients. It has the distinction of having recipes that include two of the oddest ingredients I’ve ever seen: ambergris and hydrochloric acid.
This book is good, if you happen to be a member of the target audience.If you’re a major food\beverage geek like me, check it out. If you’re a history buff, check it out. If not, well the author is talented but he’s not the Carl Sagan of Punch.