By the Smoke and the Smell

By Thad Vogler,

Book cover of By the Smoke and the Smell: My Search for the Rare and Sublime on the Spirits Trail

Book description

Spirits expert Thad Vogler, owner of the James Beard Award–winning Bar Agricole, takes readers around the world, celebrating the vivid characters who produce hand-made spirits like rum, scotch, cognac, and mezcal.  From the mountains of Mexico and the forbidden distilleries of Havana, to the wilds of Scotland and the pastoral…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked By the Smoke and the Smell as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I had always believed that a great booze book didn’t need to just be pages of pretty pictures and cocktail recipes—I knew there were booze stories that could make for compelling, novel-like narratives as well. Thad Vogler’s 2017 work was the first to actually prove my theories correct, however.

His journey to both visit the sources—Cuba! Oaxaca! Cognac!—and meet the producers of such vaunted spirits as rum, mezcal, and cognac, all while philosophizing about what artisan spirits production actually means, resonated with me like no other booze before.

Vogler’s humor and bawdy tone also showed me a drinks-related book need…

From Aaron's list on books on booze from a booze expert.

From his time defining the cocktails at the Slanted Door, Vogler has been on a mission to look beyond the industrially produced and artificially flavored and colored spirits that line most bars.

Spirits with a sense of place, like great wines, made with the care and respect, that speak of a region and the hand of the maker are carefully explored in each chapter. Travel with Vogler as he visits distillers around the world in search of singular spirits.

If the wine world has Kermit Lynch and Neil Rosenthal, merchants who wrote elegant travel memoirs, the cocktail world has Thad Vogler. Both barman and proselytizer of good liquor (i.e. non-industrially produced booze), Vogler tells the story of his time on the road searching for mixed drink ingredients that have meaning, depth, history, and above all -- quality. Personal and engaging, By the Smoke and the Smell is a tale of passion, and is one of those rare industry books that is as interesting to cocktail veterans as neophytes.  

From André's list on cocktail books for armchair travelers.

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