If your thirst for knowledge equals you thirst for spirits, then the book by authors Sherry Monahan and Jane Perkins entitled The Golden Elixir of the West: Whiskey and the Shaping of America is the perfect read. The golden elixirs that were made in copper stills by emigrants and served in saloons and dance halls in the nineteenth century lubricated the economy and shaped social institutions. This is the history of the spirit, its origins, its migrations across the country, and its place in the culture of the West. This book also tells the story of whiskey’s place in the American’s Manifest Destiny through first-hand accounts, evocative photographs, and historic cocktail recipes.
Monahan and Perkins are clearly authors in love with their work. The Golden Elixir of the West is a fascinating book that is well researched and well written. Readers will not only learn the process for making whiskey and the types of whiskey served at saloons in the Old West, but how to properly mix a quality whiskey cocktail of their choosing. Featured in the chapter Belly Up to the Bar are recipes for whiskey punch, orange cordials, pink tea, and a whiskey toddy.
The Golden Elixir of the West: Whiskey and the Shaping of America is entertaining and educational. You’ll want to raise a glass to the pioneers and heroes of the American whiskey industry at the end of the read.
Reviewed by Chris Enss, COWGIRL Book Editor, and a New York Times Best-selling author who writes about women of the Old West