Friday, February 24, 2012

Booknote: And a Bottle of Rum

Here is my review of this very good book as I posted it to my GoodReads profile. Before the review, I am making a quick note on books that have similar appeal. Maybe it will help those reader's advisors out there, or maybe just give my four readers other reading ideas. By the way, the books I am listing are books that I have actually read. There are plenty of other books that would make good read-a-likes for the Curtis book.

Read-a-likes:
  • Kyle Jarrard, Cognac: The Seductive Saga of the World's Most Coveted Spirit
  • Tom Standage, A History of the World in Six Glasses.
  • Maureen Ogle, Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer.
The review: 



And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten CocktailsAnd a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails by Wayne Curtis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is a book I definitely recommend. If you like rum, or you enjoy rum drinks, you will probably enjoy this book that will teach you more about the history of this spirit. If you are history buff or reader, you will enjoy the book as well.

The book is organized in chapters named after a different rum drink. Each chapter provides a history of the drink in question as well as a history of the New World in the process. Together, the chapters provide not only a narrative of where rum came from, where it has been, where it is now, and where it is headed. You also get a good amount of history overall from Colonial America to today. The book is a good example of the microhistory genre: it takes a single thing, and it explores its history in depth. However, this kind of book also provides a look at history overall. There is trivia. There is history. There are curious facts. And there is even a little adventure on the high seas. I personally enjoy this kind of book because I often learn more about other things besides the one item in question. A neat thing about this book is that it dispels some of the myths people may associate with rum.

Curtis' narrative is pretty easy to read, and the book as a whole is pretty entertaining. From pirates and buccaneers to Captain Morgan (the mascot; the real Captain Morgan was not a jolly fellow with a big red coat)to Ernest Hemingway and tiki bars. You get it all here. This is a book that will have you longing for some rum, and I do not mean just the mass produced varieties like Bacardi.

As a bonus, the end of the book features a section of rum drink recipes so you can try them out and add a bit more to the reading experience. So, get yourself a good bottle of rum, a sour or two, a weak or two, and a sweet or two, fix your favorite cocktail, be it Rum and Coke or a Mai Tai, and just enjoy this excellent book.




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