“Gin: A Global History” is Released – Win a Copy


A few years back, musician David Byrne mused on the state of his industry, the decline of CD sales, and the pending demise of the retail record store. Byrne posited that CDs and music itself should not be confused with one another – that calling a CD “music” was akin to calling a shopping cart “groceries”. One was merely the packaging and delivery of the other. Music had existed long before recording and would continue to exist long after vinyl, cassette, 8-track, DAT, CD, and MP3. It’s a theory which I whole-heartedly endorse – with one exception. Ask any band about the moment they first laid eyes and hands on their debut album, all pressed and packaged and ready for public consumption. It’s one thing to send your child off to their first day of school and quite another to pick them up, knowing that in the between hours, they’ve changed and returned to you evolved somehow. Absolutely familiar yet different in ways you can’t quite put a pin on; the baby bird having finally soloed.

This may all sound a bit introspective, but it’s exactly how Lesley felt last week when we held the first copy of her just-released book, Gin: A Global History. Despite having proofed draft after draft, spent months procuring recipes and images, and searched through ancient texts and distillers’ archives – despite having lived and breathed the book for the last few years – Lesley stared at the book incredulously. It was one thing to have written it and something else entirely for her to hold it in her hands, feeling the weight, touching the slickness of the jacket, and smelling the freshly printed pages. I couldn’t wait to brag about her accomplishment – and, as luck would have it, I just happened to have the perfect place to tell the world how proud I am of my wonderful wife and her wonderful book.

In case you haven’t guessed, “Gin: A Global History” tells the story of that most important of cocktail ingredients, beginning with Pliny the Elder and ending with gin’s current artisanal renaissance. Along the way, gin and the juniper that defines it fight the Black Plague, come to the aid of the Dutch, bring London to its knees, take to the Seven Seas, invade America, battle the Feds, and lose the Cold War. In many ways, as Lesley tells us, the story of gin is the story of Western Europe and America. From its humble medicinal origins and the genever of the Low Countries, gin traveled to England, only to cripple London during the Gin Craze of the early 18th century before giving rise to the classic London Dry style. Today, there’s a gin for everyone – malty genevers, sweet Old Toms, martini-friendly dry gins, and individual expressions containing literal bouquets of flavors.

In addition to the charming history lesson, the book includes profiles of dozens of gins on the market today, as well as recipe contributions from Gaz Regan, Dale DeGroff, Ted Haigh, Philip Duff, Charlotte Voisey, David Wondrich, and Hugh Williams – not to mention Jerry Thomas and Charles H. Baker Jr. “Gin: A Global History” is more than just a history of the spirit, it’s a perfect compendium of gin knowledge for the aficionado and the enthusiast alike.

But, don’t just take my word for it; I’m more than a bit biased, of course. I suggest that you read the book for yourself, and to make that an even easier proposition for you, we’re going to be giving away copies now and again throughout the rest of the year – starting today. For the first drawing, all that you need to do is successfully answer the gin trivia question below. Include your answer in a comment to this article, and next Monday (April 30, 2012), a toddler wearing a Native American headdress will randomly draw from a fire helmet (we don’t pretend to understand his ways) the name of someone who has provided the correct answer. Now, the question –


Which of the following is not a name once or currently associated with gin?

a) Old Raj

b) Old Mr. Boston

c) Old Gregg

d) Old Tom

Please join me in congratulating Lesley on all of her hard work, and we hope that if you pick up the book, you thoroughly enjoy it. Gin: A Global History is available through online merchants and booksellers across the globe.

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53 Responses to ““Gin: A Global History” is Released – Win a Copy”

  1. sygyzy
    April 25, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    c)       Old Gregg

  2. Laaz
    April 25, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Big Congrats Les!

  3. Phift1169
    April 25, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    Old Gregg!!! You ever drink Bailey’s from a shoe?

  4. April 25, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    i’m going with C, Old Gregg.

  5. April 25, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    c)       Old Gregg

  6. April 25, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    My friend Gregg now has a new nickname … Old Gregg! And that’s my answer. :)

  7. Mtalbert
    April 25, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Congratulations on the book!  I can’t wait to read it.  I’ll go with C. Old Gregg

  8. david
    April 25, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    It is, in fact, (c) Old Gregg.  And I’m glad to see that at least Phift1169 has the same thought I did about where that choice came from.

  9. Liz C
    April 25, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Old Gregg, and a hearty congratulations!  I can’t wait to see a copy.

  10. chrisab
    April 25, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    I suspect it’s Old Gregg.

  11. April 25, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    It’s got to be Old Gregg. And I swear I didn’t look at anyone else’s answer!

  12. April 25, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    c)       Old Gregg for sure. ‘Boston’-answer was actually my first hunch, but that is actually an old New England gin.

  13. Elyn
    April 25, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Ha, great quiz. The answer is C. Old Gregg.

  14. Ngrotte
    April 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Old Gregg 

  15. Chris Pencis
    April 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    I’ll go with Old Gregg as well… I’ve got a bottle of an Old Tom, not tried Old Raj (but always wanted to) and I don’t have a time machine for Old Mr. Boston

  16. Undeadgoat
    April 25, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    “C: Old Gregg” is 100% incorrect! I hope I win, I love gin, alcohol histories, and product histories but I can’t afford to pay full price for recreational reading at this stage in my life.

  17. Ziggity
    April 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    c) Old Gregg

  18. April 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Huge congrats… I can’t wait to read it… through a win or amazon.  Looks adorable and perfect reading.

  19. April 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Old Gregg gin just doesn’t sound quite right

  20. Jeremy H.
    April 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Old Gregg

  21. Carolyn Tabor
    April 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    So Proud! Old Gregg

  22. Carolyn Tabor via Facebook
    April 25, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    So Excited!

  23. Sue
    April 25, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Okay. C. Old Gregg.

    Way to go, Lesley!

  24. Ross
    April 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    C. Old Gregg

  25. valueprogress
    April 25, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Answer: C – Old Gregg!

  26. Brandonpaulweaver
    April 25, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    old gregg!

  27. Awelton
    April 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Old Gregg!

  28. Emtilt
    April 25, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Certainly Old Gregg.

  29. Bforrests
    April 25, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    Old Gregg.

  30. Amit Khanna
    April 26, 2012 at 12:24 am #

    It’s old Gregg.. good one, you may want to limit the comments visibility here on forth.. (just trying harder to win, that’s all, although full disclosure – will probably still buy it even if I don’t win..)

  31. Jvanek1jvanek
    April 26, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    Old Gregg. Love the blog, thanks!

  32. Nora E Lambrecht
    April 26, 2012 at 4:57 am #

    Old Gregg?

  33. April 26, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    Like everyone else, I’m going with c) Old Gregg.

    Congrats on the book! Holding the finished product after so much work must be quite a feeling.

  34. logophobe
    April 26, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    Old Gregg indeed.

  35. Bandol
    April 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Old Gregg.  

  36. Gintellectual
    April 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Old Gregg

  37. Djhansen1
    April 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Old Gregg

  38. Raphael Crawford-Marks
    April 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    C) Old Gregg

  39. Stan W
    April 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    C. Old Gregg   Final Answer!

  40. Steve Zulauf
    April 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    First time visiting here, and congratulations to Lesley on the book!
    C) Old Gregg for me as well

  41. Sarah
    April 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

     I’m in on Old Greg!  Great post.

  42. Dylan Jones
    April 27, 2012 at 5:58 am #

    Old Gregg

  43. Jaredchristensen1
    April 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    C) Old Gregg!

  44. April 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    I’m also going with c) Old Gregg.

    Even if i don’t win, I’ll probably end up buying a copy.

  45. A.C.
    April 28, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    C – Old Gregg

  46. FUSSYlittleBLOG
    April 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Old Gregg. Congratulations Lesley! My wife’s first book recently came out, but sadly the things she and I write about don’t exactly overlap. Plus (for her sake) I try to shield her identity as much as possible. It’s an amazing accomplishment. 

    If you happen to come to upstate New York during the book promotion tour, please drop me a line. Or you know if Gaz ever invites you to his pad, I hear he lives in the region too.


  47. April 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    old gregggg

  48. Eric
    April 28, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    What is C.) Old Gregg

  49. Greg Mays
    April 29, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Old Gregg of course! The book looks swell.

  50. Greg Mays
    April 29, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Old Gregg of course! The book looks swell.

  51. Robert D
    April 29, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Old Mr Boston.

  52. Katie D in LBK
    April 29, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Old Gregg.


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