The BBH Book Club

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Are you sitting down? Good. Because I’ve got some bad news. As a result of my procrastinationstunning hangoveranxiety due to persistent rash scheduling restrictions, I’ve had to hold off on publishing my usual Friday post. I realize this is simply devastating for many of you, and it breaks my heart to let you down. Fortunately, all is not lost – today’s would-be post will should be up on Monday. In the meantime, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce a new feature here on Boston BarHopper – the BBH Book Club.

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bookclub 010

Don’t let the name fool you. There’s no required reading, and I won’t be organizing discussion groups. It’s not even a club, really. But it will involve books. My thought is that whenever I happen upon a book that has some sort of relevance to my mission – whether it’s about Boston, cocktails, spirits, beer, what have you – I’ll give it a mention here on BBH. And don’t be cowed by the rigidity of that criteria; I encourage you suggest any tomes that might qualify. I figure this will be an occasional thing, something I do once every couple of months (I’m a slow reader, don’t judge).

Anyway, just such a scenario presented itself about a week ago, when I got an email from a gentleman named David Kosmider, founder of 27Press.com, which recently published a book on a topic that’s dear to me – Irish whiskey.

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IrishWhiskeyCoverV2

7 Lessons on Irish Whiskey: An Introduction to Drinking and Enjoying the Whiskeys of Ireland is an informative guide that outlines the fundamentals of what can be a daunting subject. Whiskey itself is an acquired taste, and for the uninitiated, the path to enjoying it is cluttered with questions: Should I drink it with ice? Should I add water to bring out the aroma, or is that messing with the flavor? Which whiskeys should be enjoyed on their own, and which are best suited for mixing in cocktails?

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No matter how long you’ve been enjoying whiskey, there was a time when you didn’t know the answers to those questions. That’s why it’s helpful to have a resource like this at your fingertips. And although 7 Lessons is aimed primarily at whiskey novices, it addresses topics that might be of interest to a more experienced drinker. Maybe you don’t need to brush up on terms like “neat” and “rocks,” but perhaps you’re gaining an appreciation for single malts over blends, or learning to distinguish between Irish whiskey and Scotch. Having a guidebook with you on such an auspicious journey never hurts. Plus, when you find yourself at a fancy bar, staring at whiskeys ranging from $20 to $75 a glass, you can never be too informed.

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In addition to accessible discussions about the flavor profiles of various Irish whiskeys, the book explores the spirit’s long history, describes the events that nearly brought Irish whiskey production to a standstill in the early 20th century, and acquaints you with Ireland’s few remaining distilleries. There are even recommendations for making Irish whiskey cocktails, along with helpful advice on why you should think twice before ordering an Irish Car Bomb here in Boston. And while the focus is on Irish whiskey, there’s plenty of useful and interesting stuff on the spirit in general, including an overview of the distillation process and the characteristics of non-Irish varieties.

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None of these topics are covered exhaustively, but that’s very much by design. "What we're doing with 27Press is working to create really good, short, information-dense, inexpensive beginner's guides on a variety of topics," Kosmider told me (they also have a book on tea). Thus, while learning to appreciate whiskey's subtle charms can be a lifelong endeavor, 7 Lessons is brief and to the point. And unlike a top-shelf whiskey, the book is affordable – you can download it for $0.99 from Amazon (available exclusively for the Kindle). That leaves plenty of money in the jar-o to buy yourself some Jameson, Bushmills, or Tullamore D.E.W. Sláinte!

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The book is 7 Lessons on Irish Whiskey: An Introduction to Drinking and Enjoying the Whiskeys of Ireland. It’s published by 27Press, a new-ish publishing company devoted to sharing their knowledge of food and drink. And if you have a Kindle and 99 cents to burn, you can acquire 7 Lessons at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BOWUBNO .

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