Born of necessity in the colonies, fine-tuned and perfected over the centuries – witnessing civil war, Prohibition, and the marketing genius of Madison Avenue – bourbon continues to this day to be one of the most popular and iconic spirits of America.
In Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey (Viking, 2015), Reid Mitenbuler provides a popularly accessible history of this unique industry and a personal commentary on how to taste and choose your bourbon.
American whiskey, made primarily from corn and aged in charred oak barrels, is at first glance, simple enough. Behind the process is a history spanning back to the very first colonists, which has been intricately tied with America’s economic, political, and cultural fabric. This book is a great read, but unfortunately for more serious historians, mostly covers the early 20th century and is not footnoted.
Reid Mitenbuler lives in Brooklyn, NY, and has written about whiskey and drinking culture for The Atlantic, Slate, Saveur, and Whiskey Advocate, among other publications. His blog about American whiskey is available through his website: www.reidmitenbuler.com. This is his first book. Twitter: @ReidMitenbuler
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