Book Review: Lift Your Spirits: A Celebratory History of Cocktail Culture in New Orleans

10:44 June 10, 2016
By: Beau Ciolino

Be prepared to dive deep into New Orleans cocktail culture and history with Lift Your Spirits: A Celebratory History of Cocktail Culture in New Orleans, a cocktail encyclopedia of sorts authored by Elizabeth M. Williams and Chris Mcmillian. The book begins with a quote from Lafcadio Hearn in 1880 that sets the mood and experience of Lift Your Spirits: “Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under a lava flood of taxes and fraud and maladministration so that it has become only a study for archaeologists…. But it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio.” Each page serves as a reminder of the unique beauty New Orleans holds as a city that is both decidedly lively and in complete ruin, simultaneously a place to cherish memories or easily forget them.

The gorgeous and informative book covers the full history of cocktails in New Orleans from the Colonial Era to modern day imbibery. Along with a rich depiction of the past three hundred years of drinking culture in New Orleans, offers over 40 recipes to make the beverages that have become a trademark of the city’s cocktail scene.

Whether you’re looking to recreate classics such as the Sidecar, Ramos Gin Fizz, and Corpse Reviver, or simply trying to educate yourself on the basics of cocktail creation, Lift Your Spirits has got you covered. Alongside many of the recipes, you’re offered pages of information about the history and invention of the cocktails enjoyed throughout the bars and lounges of the city.  An easy read, I’d suggest pouring yourself one (or two) of the drinks referred to in the book before you sit down to absorb its contents.

You can purchase Lift Your Spirits: A Celebratory History of Cocktail Culture from LSU Press here



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