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The Complete Book Of Spirits: A Guide to Their History, Production, and Enjoyment [Hardcover]

Anthony D Blue

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Book Description

Oct. 13 2004

An indispensable follow-up to his classic Complete Book of Mixed Drinks, Anthony Dias Blue presents The Complete Book of Spirits, a comprehensive collection of history, lore, and tasting tips, along with recipes for select cocktails. Here, in one concise and easy-to-use volume, is all the information a consumer needs to shop, mix, and sip like a spirits expert.

From bathtub gin to mojito madness, Blue brings the dynamic history of the spirits industry alive, demonstrating that spirit making is not only one of mankind's oldest pursuits but also perhaps its most colorful. In ten captivating chapters, readers are treated to everything they ever wanted to know about their favorite liquors, including vodka, aquavit, tequila, and whiskey. Blue also provides step-by-step instructions on how to host spirit tastings to educate your palate and to help you and your friends discover your favorite brands and blends. For every chapter and every spirit, there is also a handy tasting-notes section, with Blue's expert comments and his favorites, along with price points.

If you've ever wondered about the difference between potato and wheat vodkas, or between mescal and tequila or American and Irish whiskeys, or what makes single malt Scotch so desirable, look no further. With Anthony Dias Blue, America's leading wine and spirits expert, and The Complete Book of Spirits as your guides, you will take your enjoyment to a new level.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cookbooks; 1st Edition edition (Oct. 13 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060542187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060542184
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 14 x 2.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #331,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Many bartending guides provide scant information about drink ingredients themselves. So a Mai Tai calls for rum—what kind? If you’re mixing a Vodka Tonic, how should the vodka smell? Why does a Bombay Sling require bitters? (And what are bitters, anyway?) Blue, who is Bon Appétit’s wine and spirits editor, intelligently answers these questions and others in this full analysis of libations other than beer and wine. He covers vodka, aquavit, gin, rum, tequila, scotch and Irish whiskey, North American whiskey, brandy, liqueurs and bitters, addressing what each spirit is made of, how it’s made, its history, the various flavors that exist and even the numerous brands available. Blue’s historical outlines of each spirit are fascinating; for example, in the chapter on vodka, he tells the saga of the Smirnov (later changed to Smirnoff) family and their exile from Russia to Paris. But with the history comes up-to-the-minute information on popular beverages like the mojito, a rum drink that’s currently "one of the hottest drinks on the club scene." Although the guide isn’t lighthearted, it’s casual enough to inspire page-flipping and informal perusal.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Anthony Dias Blue is the author of several books, including The Complete Book of Mixed Drinks and American Wine: A Comprehensive Guide. For twenty years he has been Wine and Spirits editor of Bon Appétit. His reviews have appeared in magazines and newspapers across the country, including Wine Spectator, Robb Report,, American Way, and Decanter. Mr. Blue's Lifestyle Minute is broadcast several times daily on CBS radio. He lives in California.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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In the past several years vodka has become the best-selling spirit in the world, and its popularity is still growing. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you could ever want to know about spirits July 3 2008
By Suzie Riga - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Complete Book of Spirits by Anthony Dias Blue is a marvelous guide for a retail store. It is an easy read, incredibly informative, and can make you an instant expert on all spirits, even includes barware and glasses. I bought it for our liquor managers in each store and they have found it to be an excellent storehouse of knowledge from beginning to end about all types of spirits. I needed this 35 years ago when first became a liquor retailer. Awesome book!!!
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars knowledge for a new job Aug. 21 2006
By B. Irvine - Published on
I was recently hired as spirit sales person and needed to learn more about the subject i was selling. This book was very useful for me and contains a lot of great information about the history of spirits and how they came about for today's consumption.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very informative read Oct. 11 2010
By chris - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
has a wealth of information of production, history, tasting and products. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in all things spirits
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great read for the enthusiast, professional or historian. Sept. 16 2013
By KO - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm a bartender (among other things) and spirits enthusiast. This book is the basic text for selecting the best possible value in spirits that are common enough to find in most mega-stores.

Dias Blue doesn't venture into esoteric selections that are insanely expensive and difficult to come by. This book is not for the pretentious mixologist. It will, however, be more than adequate for educating the working barman on the selections behind him. Nothing helps the upsell like knowing the rough differences in taste profiles and characteristics of the most commonly used spirits on the top-shelf.

Instead of using the most expensive as the yard-stick of measuring quality, I can now ask questions about my customers' taste and make solid recommendations that they'll enjoy (not to mention reasons why they should stray from the well). This keeps my customers spending more money on both their drinks and my tips, and it keeps my customers coming to me instead of my coworkers.

This book has also come in handy for building a versatile, inexpensive and high quality bar at home and given me lessons on how to organize verticle tastings of spirits I am unfamiliar with. This helps me trust my own palate instead of magazine reviews or tatted jackass mixologists with big belt-buckles and stupid haircuts that are only bartending because it pays the bills until they can find a job in finance.

If you're bartender: educate yourself and don't suck at your job, don't overpour, don't blindly recommend the most expensive selection and understand that the only people that respect the term "mixologist" are idiots.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the business owner! Jan. 11 2009
By Lisa M. Deboer - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my dad who owns a liquor store.. He read it from cover to cover and now uses it as a reference.. Tons of information!!

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