Reid Mitenbuler is a Washington, DC-based writer. He is currently writing a book about bourbon for Viking/Penguin. Find him online at The Bourbon Empire and on Twitter @ReidMitenbuler.
These are fantastic comments and all quite astute. They also represent the perils of boiling down thousands of years of history into a tight space, and the book reviewed addresses all of them in much more detail. The differing rates in the development of wine between different regions over time do involve some distinctions knowledgable wine folks are sure to recognize. The hope here was that listing some generalized trends would grab the interest of readers hoping to learn a little more and point them towards a great read.
Some of these trends varied across time and place...unsafe drinking water was definitely a problem, but certainly not everywhere all the time; as readers noticed, the timelines of beer and wine twist around each other depending on the region/era; and yes, the Greco-Romans differentiated between regions and terroirs, but not always for the same reasons we do today. One of the main points of the book was that wine's history really doesn't travel along the continuum that many other histories of wine describe. It's role, from social and culinary perspectives, has evolved in some very surprising ways. These comments do a wonderful job of raising distinctions readers can learn more about from Lukacs' book.
As somebody who nerds out on coffee in the morning with tons of Hario equipment and electronic thermometers and cloth filters, I totally dig this column.
Here's an article idea: Pavoni Manual espresso machines. I have one, but fail at it 80 percent of the time. The thing's a beast, and I need help.
You're right, dorek, cocktails were around far before the period we're talking about here, and many of the classics were around in some form or another. That sentence was simply referring to cocktails' ability to mask the taste of bad liquor. I recently got to try some Prohibition-era whiskey from the 1920s -- it supposedly was "the good stuff," but the flavors that stood out most to me were prune juice and celery. No wonder you'd want to mix it with something else.
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