the hot plate

Book Review: Lift Your Spirits

August 17, 2016
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Lift Your Spirits: A Celebratory History of Cocktail Culture in New Orleans by Elizabeth M. Williams and Chris McMillan delves deep into the Crescent City’s cocktail history.

Through Williams’ careful research and clean prose and McMillan’s long experience in the spirits industry, a story emerges that will surprise, entertain and educate you.

The book debunks long-held myths about cocktail history even as it acknowledges the importance of myth in history. It is as if the authors are saying, “Hey, you may be wrong about what you thought. But, that’s OK!” In this way, the book’s title holds true. This is a celebratory history, intelligent and researched and unpretentious.

With over 40 recipes, the best way to read the book is to skip to the recipe that illustrates each chapter. Make that cocktail. Sit in your most comfortable chair, put your feet up as you sip and read that chapter. It is not often that you can taste history while reading about it. Repeat nightly

You’ll love this drinking journey and emerge better for it. It is one of our favorite books this summer.

Lift Your Spirits: A Celebratory History of Cocktail Culture in New Orleans Elizabeth M. Williams & Chris McMillan, LSU Press, May 2016


A Spirited Dinner at Tales of the Cocktail gave Amy Zavatto the idea for her book, Forager’s Cocktails. She had gone to dinner at the now-closed Restaurant Iris, where the cocktails were all made with fresh herbs and fruits.

Forager’s Cocktails is full of recipes that will help you get the most out of what is growing, season by season. Coupled with Zavatto’s thoughtful writing, the book is a necessary addition to any cocktailian’s library.

Zavatto’s writing has been published in a variety of publications, including Edible Manhattan.

Forager’s Cocktails: Botanical Mixology with Fresh, Natural Ingredients Amy Zavatto, Sterling Epicure, November 2015


Cocktail expert and attorney Philip Greene has a unique relationship to New Orleans. A founder of The Museum of the American Cocktail (located within the Southern Food and Beverage Museum on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard), Greene counts Antoine Amédée Peychaud as one of his ancestors. To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion is a true literary exploration into the drinks that appeared in Hemingway’s books and Hemingway’s hands. It is a revised and expanded edition of a book published in 2012.

Rather than a simple glorification of drinking in Hemingway’s life, it offers another lens through which to view the characters and drinks mentioned in his novels, stories and letters. Greene’s appreciation for Hemingway is palpable when he says that he would quote entire books if it didn’t break copyright laws. The quotes he does use are perfectly chosen and curated like only a founder of a museum could do.

To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion Philip Greene, Perigee, November 2015

Article from Edible New Orleans at
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