Gin: A Global History taught me tons about one of my favorite libations. The first truth is that gin in fact stems from an older drink, genever, that was closer in coloring and taste to a whiskey. “Gin” was a British distillation (pun not intended) of the original, and initially it was heavily sweetened to hide the impurities from the new kinds of stills being used to distill the beverage. Over time tastes grew more “dry”, although in America a new “cocktail” culture would take off. Such as the matutinal, or the morning drink. This of course evolved into the “three martini lunch”, eschewed by President Carter in his campaign. Fascinating stuff.
Few books have made me reconsider a city historically like Philadelphia’s Lost Waterfront – by walking through the Delaware waterfront block-by-block, Kyriakodis reveals a Philadelphia that none of us knew; and parts that not even our ancestors’ ancestors would have experienced. From early settlement caves along the river to the creation of Water Street and later Delaware Ave, the book makes an amble down the waterfront so much richer to experience.