Tag Archives: Gin: A Global History

July 23rd – “Gin: A Global History” Comes to 320 Main

Lesley’s taking her show on the road! If you’re Southern California based (or inclined to be so for the night), please join her on Monday, July 23rd at 7pm for an evening of talking gin and drinking gin hosted by our good friends at 320 Main in Seal Beach.

Sponsored by Beefeater and Plymouth gins, the event includes not only a copy and signing of “Gin: A Global History” but also light appetizers and gin cocktails from Jason Schiffer and his crack 320 Main team.

We hope you’ll join us!

Where: 320 Main, 320 Main St, Seal Beach, CA

When: July 23rd at 7pm
Admission: $20 includes purchase of the book
Sponsored by Beefeater and Plymouth Gin

RSVP: reserve@320mainsealbeach.com
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Gin Pahit

By Lesley Jacobs Solmonson


4 or 5 dashes Angostura Bitters
3 – 4 oz Dry Gin

Shake the Angostura into a stemmed cocktail glass. Per Charles H. Baker, from whose book (Jigger, Beaker, & Glass; 1939) this recipe is taken: ‘Tip the glass like the Tower of Pisa and twirl it between thumb and fingers. Whatever Angostura sticks to the glass through capillary attraction is precisely the right amount.’ Pour out any bitters that do not cling. Fill the glass with gin. Alternatively, you may put both ingredients in a shaker, then shake and strain.

We recommend the former method, with the gin and the glass being ice cold.

Featured Glassware:  Octavie Martini by Villeroy & Boch


* * *


So, you’re out of vermouth, but want a martini?  Swirl a few drops of bitters and add some gin, presto, you’ve got yourself Gin Pahit, Pink Gin, or Gin and Bitters — however you choose to call it.  You might even call it a martini sans vermouth.  It’s a powerful drink to say the least, and one that gives credence to the English phrase “stiff upper lip”.  After drinking one of these, your lip will indeed be quite stiff, and proper, and, well, British.

Today, we offer an outtake from “Gin: A Global History”, focusing on gin’s role in empire building, and how gin cocktails went hand in hand with conquest. Read More…

And the Winner is…

Whenever we do a giveaway, part of me wants the prize to go to a reader who I’ve gotten to know over the years, and another part of me is concerned that if someone like Daniel over at FUSSYlittleBLOG wins, things will seem rigged.   The logical solution is just to draw a name randomly as expected and if it appears as if favoritism was shown, oh well — we did the best we could.  Part of that “best” is, of course, recusing ourselves from the selection process altogether and turning things over to the toddler.  The lad surprised us this time out by forsaking the usual fire helmet as the drawing vessel of choice in favor of a straw cowboy chapeau — or his “varmint hat” as he prefers it to be known.

As luck would have it, empirical selection method employed and all, the answer to our question “Which of the following is not a name once or currently associated with gin?” was “Old Gregg” and the winner just happens to be called Greg — or Old Gregg Greg, as he shall henceforth be known on the site.  So, a big congratulations to Greg Mays of New Mexico, and an even bigger thank you to him — and all of you — for reading and contributing your guesses.

Now, a few of you even knew a bit about Old Gregg, a Rick James-inspired hermaphroditic fish who is Keeper of The Funk and exclusively drinks Baileys.    If you’re unfamiliar, here’s your chance to catch up:


Stay tuned for more chances to win a copy of “Gin: A Global History”.


The First Sign of Lesley’s Book, “Gin: A Global History”

We just received the Spring/Summer 2012 new titles catalog from Reaktion Books, and along with it, the first sighting of Lesley’s forthcoming book, Gin: A Global History, which is part of Reaktion’s Edible series.   As a proud husband and writing partner, I felt compelled to brag a little.

Gin traces the history and evolution of the most important of cocktail liquors from its medicinal origins to the rise of each of the predominant styles – genever, Old Tom, London Dry, and the newer artisanal products – as well as the world’s love-hate relationship with the juniper-based spirit.    From ancient Arabia to the terror of the Black Death, from “Dutch Courage” to the Gin Craze epidemic, and from the magnificent gin palaces of London to the speakeasies of American Prohibition – the story of gin is an epic drama spanning centuries and continents. Read More…