In Southern Spirits, Four Hundred Years Of Drinking In the American South, With Recipes, author Robert F. Moss acknowledges the stereotypes that most of us have of “Southern drinking culture” – mint juleps, plantation punch, bourbon, moonshine and lazy afternoons on the veranda. But like most histories, this surface culture becomes much more interesting when you delve deeper. The book is a true history of boozing in the South, and is an easy, entertaining and fascinating read. You’ll read about the things you probably thought you already knew all about like Prohibition and rum runners, plus more obscure subjects like French Wine Cola and the North Georgia Moonshine War.
There are recipes to begin each chapter, but the book focuses on telling a story, rather than recipes and photography, and it tells that story well. That said, you should still serve the Antebellum Mint Julep at your next Derby party if you want to let your friends in on how it really should be done. (It’d be hard to go wrong with the Charleston Light Dragoon Punch either.)
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