In the last decade gin has experienced a striking renaissance, with the growth of small-batch distilling and the revival of Thirties couture, décor and drinks. But the history of this potent, elusive liquor runs far deeper than passing fashion. Beginning in the alchemical laboratories of medieval Europe, this books follows the adventures of gin over four dark, decadent centuries of consumption and excess. From the tyranny of ‘Madam Geneva’ to the doomed romance of Casablanca, this is a cultural history with a twist – an unforgettable voyage into the anatomy of pleasure and pain.
You can read buy a copy of The Dedalus Book of Gin on Amazon here. The Dedalus Book of Gin is published in the US by Grove Atlantic, and in a rather gorgeous Russian edition by New Literary Review. Audible are making it into an audiobook, release date TBC. I lead a popular guided walk around the landscape of the London Gin Craze – do drop me a line at richard [at] richardbarnettwriter [dot] com if you’d like to arrange one.
The paperback edition, released in Feb 2016, was Nicholas Lezard’s choice in the Guardian.
‘Barnett’s adjectives are to his work as botanicals are to gin: they give it its piquancy and flavour’ – Nick Lezard, The Guardian
‘Barnett artfully charts the aromatic distillate’s unlikely path from medicine to public menace, blending references as varied as the Archidoxa of Paracelsus and the American television series Mad Men to create a nuanced portrait of the drink and its impact on humanity’ – Times Literary Supplement
‘His expertise and passion for the subject is immediately gin-clear… an intoxicating blend of history and entertainment that is sure to stimulate drinkers and teetotallers alike’ – Publishers Weekly
‘Barnett takes the reader on a historic journey from the city-states of Italy at the end of the Dark Ages to the gin-fuelled dance floors of the Stork Club in New York City… If you love a classic gin martini, pour yourself one and tuck into this fascinating story… Oh, and make sure the gin bottle is full’ – Dale Degroff, author of The Craft of the Cocktail
‘Gin has always had a bit of an identity problem: is it the drink of the jet-setting sophisticate, or is it the chosen tipple of the secret, shamed, drinker, living up to its sobriquet of “mother’s ruin”? As this fine book points out, it’s both … A potent read, then, and guaranteed hang-over free’ – The Crack Magazine