August 23, 2006

...And a Bottle of Rum

And a Bottle of Rum Book CoverIf there's one thing we like more than drinking rum, it's reading about drinking rum. We'd heard about And a Bottle of Rum but hadn't gotten around to reading it yet, but we plan to pick it up at Amazon on the strength of the review we just found at American Heritage.

In his spirited new book, And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails (Crown, $24), the travel writer Wayne Curtis enshrines rum in the pantheon of things American. “Rum,” he says, “is the history of America in a glass.”

Rum has a democratic personality that suits an American drink. Of all the spirits it is the least likely to forget its lowly origins. What were those origins? Sugar cane, which had come over with Columbus, thrived in the West Indies. At first planters discarded molasses, the tar-colored byproduct of their sugar refineries. Someone, probably on the island of Barbados, got the idea of letting the stuff ferment and then distilling the mash to produce a drinkable quaff along the lines of brandy. Rum began its life, Curtis notes, as “the distilled essence of fermented industrial waste.”

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at August 23, 2006 1:06 PM
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