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4.8 out of 5 stars
Booze: River Cottage Handbook No.12
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2013
John Wright has a very readable style of writing and a viciously dry sense of humour that will keep you glued to the pages of this book right the way through. Another reviewer has drawn comparison with Bill Bryson, which I think is very apt. For what is ostensibly a reference book, I found myself reading it from front to back over the course of a few days over Christmas, having received it as a present. I now can't wait until the foraging season starts, so I can get out and start finding some ingredients to make some wines. I have had great successes with hedgerow wines before (my 2012 blackberry and elderberry is a delightful drop and only improving with age), but many of the recipes are new to me, and this, along with the RC hedgerow foraging book will be essential pieces of kit in my mission to make all my own booze for 2014.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2013
All these books are good. Like this one as, as always, recipes are "simply" explained and there are a number of mixes as well. I like to be able to read a "cook" book, I have far too many,but this one fits nicely into what I have
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2013
Perfect gift for the man who drinks a lot and wants to brew his own but has not been successful in the past
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Booze: River Cottage Handbook No 12 is quite simply the best book of its kind available.
Personally I concentrate more on the infusions section but I'm sure that the wine, Cider and
Beer chapters are equally as informative.
The sheer variety of infusions mentioned boggles the mind and I have been busy making Pomegrante Rum,
Raspeberry Vodka and the much praised Rhubarb Vodka in readiness for Christmas 2014.
On my to do list are:
1: Rosehip Vodka.
2:Blackberry Whisky.
3:Haw Gin.
4:Cherry Brandy.
5:Orange Liqueur.
6:Dandelion Brandy.
7:Watermint Vodka.
and lastly Elderflower Vodka.

It makes for a far more varied drink selection over Christmas if you get these infusions made and
bottled before the festive season. Friends and relatives will be beating a path to your door.
Buy this book. I've had hours of fun making the drinks suggested !
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2013
It's been such a good year for fruit and I was wondering what to do with it having already made loads of jams and jellies. So I have tried several of the recipes from this book and have now have a shelf lined with jars all bubbling away. I was given a copy of this book last week, and this is me buying it for my son too and I can imagine it would make a really good present for a man this Christmas. The recipes are really easy to follow, just as easy as the sloe gin I used to make. They are grouped into four sections. Infusions is mainly gins and vodkas and it is some of these I have tried already. There is one called Orange Liqueur which only takes a day to make and it was very good! Luckily there are some late blackberries here so I also have got some Blackberry Whisky started and some Haw Gin. Can't wait now for the spring flowers to try some more. The other chapters are wines, ciders and beers. The Melon Fizz, a sort of champagne, was literally ready in just two days and I was a bit nervous about the container (although it was fine in the end) as John said his exploded everywhere once. That tasted good too and was very different. Most of his recipes have a personal story or joke in them so the whole book is very entertaining. You can actually enjoy reading it, it's not just a recipe book. And there is an awful lot more in it than I expected. I am now starting on the Rose Hip Wine. So I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in making their own "booze".
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2013
An excellent read! Just got this book delivered this morning and I'm already past page 88. I have been a follower of the author, John Wright, since the 'River Cottage' days with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. John is an inspiring character and I have his other publications from the River Cottage Handbook series. I brew my own wine with my friend and we very much do this through a 'wrote learning' process, but the process, the chemistry is clearly explained and allows the reader to understand the science behind the brewing process. I highly recommend this book for amateur and aspiring brewers'.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2013
I was really looking forward to getting this as soon as I heard it was coming out and have not been disappointed. It is an excellent book and a thoroughly enjoyable read. We've made some fruit wines before, being keen foragers, and now feel ready to tackle brewing. John's Orange Pale Ale is the first on our list or maybe the Heather and Honey Ale. The instructions are very clear, concise and easy to follow, without being dumbed down and there is a good range of booze recipes to choose from. For us novices it also helps that there is a glossary type format that clearly explains what all the terms mean. Like the other books of his that I've read (Mushrooms: River Cottage Handbook No.1 and Hedgerow (River Cottage Handbook, No.7)) it is also really interesting. Lots of historical references and personal anecdotes, all with John's self-deprecating sense of humour and irony, so you find yourself smiling the whole way through even when he's telling you all the things that can go wrong! Until we've finished making some of the recipes, I can't comment on the quality of the brews though :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2014
Not only does this have fabulous recipes that are easy to reproduce, it's written with a wry sense of humour. Looking forward to our first rhubarb vodka in the spring!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 February 2015
As a newcomer to home brewing (even though I don't drink alcohol myself), I have spent the last year buying books which cost a lot and were rubbish when I followed them, especially for cider making. I ruined an entire stock of cider from apples from 9 trees and couldn't work out why. This book explains all the brewing processes for beer, wines and cider, clearly and easily. I now know where I went wrong and how to brew better ciders and beers than I have in the past. I'm eagerly planning to try the the Mead recipe and the Sugar Puffs beer one. I kid you not!
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on 16 March 2015
This book is definitely a winner for making Christmas gifts! I have made the Raspberry Vodka AND the blackberry whisky which have both gone down an absolute treat! I bought this book originally as a present for my dad, as he is hugely enthusiastic about food for free as well making our own wines etc. the recipes are easy to follow. I do reccommend that you make the drinks in large plastic bottles, then pour into fancy glass ones when it's ready- as it the fruits tends to stain the glass first off! Can't wait to try the elderflower fizz!
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