Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press; hardcover, $16.95), by Mark Spivak, is a compelling portrait of twelve spirits that changed the world and forged the cocktail culture. Some are categories and others are specific brands, but they are all amazing, resonant and untold stories. Each chapter closes with recipes for the most popular and important cocktails.
What’s the relationship between moonshine and NASCAR? Why was absinthe considered to be the most dangerous substance on earth? What was the cause of the Gin Craze in 18th century London, an epidemic of mass drunkenness that continued for fifty years? How did a homeless man become the 165th wealthiest person in America?
“These are the best types of stories,” says Spivak. “They are the kind a writer could never make up.”
Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the restaurant critic for Palm Beach Illustrated. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Ritz-Carlton, Continental, Art & Antiques, Newsmax, Dream of Italy and Arizona Highways. From 1999-2011 he hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.
Mark began writing Iconic Spirits after becoming fascinated with the untold stories behind the world’s greatest liquors. As a writer, he’s always searching for the unknown details that make his subjects compelling and unique.His latest book is Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History.