99 Drams of Whiskey

Kate Hopkins

Buy it from Lyon Books

Though she sets out to find the “perfect shot,” Kate Hopkins is more effective at railing against the whiskey snobs of the world. A travel diary and history lesson drenched in whiskey, the book, with a subtitle of The Accidental Hedonist’s Quest for the Perfect Shot and the History of the Drink, unconditionally succeeds at making the spirit approachable. Tasting notes and humorous storytelling make it all but impossible not to want to follow her down the list of the world’s whiskies. Unfortunately, with surprising frequency, it appears both the writer and editors had enjoyed a few drams of usquebaugh before tackling the manuscript. No fewer than a dozen painfully obvious grammatical errors are present (interestingly enough, more so toward the end of the book). Hopkins’ research into the history of the drink seems solid, but her approach is often half-assed. On her tour of Scotland, she doesn’t visit the distinct Islay region, opting instead to buy an “Islay Gift Pack.” Her excuse? She didn’t have time. Like a bartender with a bowl of salty peanuts, Hopkins succeeds in making you thirsty and providing the means to satisfy your craving. And that’s something we can all drink to.