Tales of the Cocktail Notes


This post will only make sense to you if you were in the talk I gave at Tales of the Cocktail called The Drunken Botanist:  A Preview. It was a sneak preview of my new book, coming out in March 2013, called The Drunken Botanist:  The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks.  I promised to share links to a bunch of sources, so here they are:

Handbook of Alcoholic Beverages — this new two-volume set covers a wide range of research and technical information that I referenced throughout my talk.


Poisonous Plants.  (This is not a comprehensive list of every poisonous plant in the world; just the ones the FDA is keeping track of.)

Flavoring agents that can be added to food (or liquor)

Everything Added to Food in the US database

GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) database

Medicinal plants, and a great book on plant resins: see a list here.


Mind-Altering & Poisonous Plants of the World

North American Guide to Poisonous Plants & Mushrooms

Poisonous Plants — handbook


Order Cuban ‘mojito mint’ from Richter’s, Territorial Seed

‘Redventure’ celery from seed at Territorial.  Garden centers can order plants from Log House (wholesale accounts only)

‘Roman Beauty’ rosemary also available at Territorial and in the new Sunset plant collection under the name ‘Chef’s Choice.’


From the Independent:  A good general description of specific anosmia.

From NOVA:  A good discussion of taste and perception.


Genetic Determinants of Cilantro Preference

Characteristic Aroma Components of the Cilantro Mimics

NPR:  The Cilantro Divide


Specific Anosmia Observed for β-Ionone, but not for α-Ionone: Significance for Flavor Research

Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of Gras Herbs and Other Economic Plants — Compounds found in violets

 Phytochemical composition of Viola


Gentian Research Network at Rutgers

EU report on gentian as medicne


The Encyclopedia of Herbs is a good place to start. Chemistry of Spices is also useful.

Conservation of wild-harvested plants

Plantlife International: Conservation of wild-harvested botanicals.

CITES:  Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

Traffic:  Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network

Senegalia senegal (Gum Arabic)

Gum arabic report from State Department

Excellent NPR story.

Great blog post summarizing the debate over the name change.

Near East Foundation gum arabic program.


Thesis on malting & fermentation of sorghum

SABMiller: Sorghum, cassava, local barley in Africa

Sweet sorghum producers & processors (US)

US grain sorghum producers



6 thoughts on “Tales of the Cocktail Notes”

  1. That book sure seems very interesting. There is nothing better than having a wonderful garden to grow and a good drink to have. I really hope that this book has some recipes for things found in my garden. I’d really like to learn how to further maximize what my garden can give me. If I can make drinks from plants, I’ll turn it into my very own business. Thanks for sharing this. I’m looking forward to getting it.

  2. This looks like it’s going to be a must read book for my wife and I. We’re growing almost all of the herbs you listed in your post, which may mean we’re going to need to increase our alcohol consumption come March 2013 (assuming your book contains recipes corresponding to these ingredients). We have a group of friends who are fantastic local homebrewers (of beer), one of whom has recently turned his considerable skills towards making mead infused with locally sourced herbs and fruits. By any chance, do you plan to devote any space in your new book to botanical ingredients that are ideal for mead-making recipes?

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