Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ten Unknown Facts About the World of Booze and Cocktails, as Described in Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, by Mark Spivak

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Ten Unknown Facts About the World of Booze and Cocktails, as Described in Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, by Mark Spivak


1. The connection between moonshine and NASCAR: The racing circuit has been careful to cover this up, in their efforts to portray the sport as clean, wholesome family entertainment. All the early drivers were bootleggers. They jazzed up their cars to avoid the revenue agents, raced informally among themselves, and in 1947 got together and founded NASCAR.

2. Absinthe was once considered to be the most dangerous substance on earth, the repository of all the evil in the universe. One drink was considered sufficient to send someone on a downward spiral of alcoholism, insanity and death. Absinthe was banned in the U.S. in 1912, and not legalized again until 2007.

3. Millions of cases of Campari and other bitters are sold each year, yet the taste receptors on our tongues warn us not to drink them: Bitter substances are regarded as potentially toxic or poisonous, yet they are also regarded as some of the sexiest potions on earth.

4. The worst epidemic of mass drunkenness is history was the Gin Craze, which occurred in 18th century London; 15-20% of the population was drunk for nearly 50 years.

5. Spirits baron Sidney Frank made his initial fortune with Jägermeister, a German herbal liqueur that tasted like NyQuil mixed with mouthwash. In 1996, he invented Grey Goose from the flash of an idea, and sold it in 2004 for $2.2 billion.
6. Nearly 60% of the Cognac sold in America is consumed in hip hop clubs.

7. Bacardi went bankrupt three times before becoming the world’s pre-eminent rum brand.

8. The worldwide demand for Scotch whisky was actually created by a microscopic bug---phylloxera---that devastated French vineyards toward the end of the 19th century. No grapes meant no Cognac, so consumers turned to Scotch for solace.

9. Bourbon was recognized by an Act of Congress as America’s native spirit, a “distinctive product of the United States.”

10. John Paul Dejoria was homeless twice in his life. He started John Paul Mitchell Systems on a shoestring, went on to found Patrón Tequila, and today is ranked by Forbes magazine as the 66th wealthiest person in America.

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Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the restaurant critic for Palm Beach Illustrated. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Ritz-Carlton, Continental, Art & Antiques, Newsmax, Dream of Italy and Arizona Highways. From 1999-2011 he hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Mark began writing Iconic Spirits after becoming fascinated with the untold stories behind the world’s greatest liquors. As a writer, he’s always searching for the unknown details that make his subjects compelling and unique.His latest book is Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History.

Visit Mark’s website at http://www.iconicspirits.net.

Become a fan of Mark Spivak at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mark.spivak.3

Pick up your copy of Iconic Spirits at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Iconic-Spirits-Intoxicating-Mark-Spivak/dp/0762779268/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344434224&sr=1-1&keywords=iconic+spirits

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