The Cocktail: The Influence of Spirits on the American Psyche Booze and boozers rarely come in for such high accolades, but Joseph Lanza, who has also written a book on the history of Muzak (I… Pop Culture
Book Review

The Cocktail: The Influence of Spirits on the American Psyche

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Writer: Joseph Lanza; Genre: Pop Culture

Booze and boozers rarely come in for such high accolades, but Joseph Lanza, who has also written a book on the history of Muzak (I kid you not), has penned The Cocktail: The Influence of Spirits on the American Psyche, an unabashed love sonnet to gimlets, manhattans, and their equally intoxicating brethren. Lanza traces the history of the cocktail from George Washington to Mr. Jenkins, who on behalf of Tanqueray teaches Gen Xers how to accessorize with gin. With added testimony from folk like M.F.K. Fisher — who once wrote in The Atlantic Monthly that ''a well-made Martini or Gibson, correctly chilled and nicely served, has been more often my true friend than any two-legged creature'' — this book, complete with a lengthy bibliography, will quench your thirst for knowledge of cocktail culture and its swizzle-stick, tiki room, rumba-band-filled world. B+

Originally posted Nov 24, 1995 Published in issue #302 Nov 24, 1995 Order article reprints