The Drunken Botanist, 1858 Style

Posted on Mar 6, 2013 in History | 5 comments

Imagine my excitement when this came into our bookstore. The full title of the book is Fermented Liquors: a Treatise on Brewing, Distilling, Rectifying, and Manufacturing of Sugars, Wines, Spirits, and All Known Liquors, Including Cider and Vinegar: Also, Hundreds of Valuable Directions in Medicine, Metallurgy, Pyrotechny, and the Arts in General, by Lewis Feuchtwanger. The actual beautiful old weird creature that is this book is totally worth owning, but if you aren’t going to pick up a copy, it’s available as a free ebook from Google. Anyway, it’s a fascinating...

Read More

The (Not Entirely Complete) Drunken Botanist Bibliography

Posted on Dec 6, 2012 in Featured, History | Comments Off on The (Not Entirely Complete) Drunken Botanist Bibliography

  In the back pages of The Drunken Botanist, I shared a list of recommended reading on both plants and booze, and promised to post a complete bibliography online. This, I must admit, is not a complete bibliography. It includes almost all the sources I consulted in book form, about 320 in all.  Not included here are scholarly journals, periodicals, databases, some government and trade publications, and, of course, interviews with actual people.  If you’re looking for something and don’t see it here, I might be able to send you the link.  Get in touch with me and I’ll...

Read More

Cochineal in Your Coffee? It’s Okay. Really.

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 in History | 1 comment

Uh-oh.  Somebody just figured out that Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccinos contain cochineal.  This is probably nothing new–what has changed lately is that the FDA now requires that ingredient labels specify whether cochineal is used for coloring.  I’m guessing that someone only recently noticed the change to the ingredients listing. Yes, cochineal is a bug.  It’s a kind of scale–a sucking insect that latches on to prickly pear cactus.  It secretes a brilliant red dye, and for that reason it’s been used to color textiles, paper, and food for ages. Spanish...

Read More