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Continued: 'Drunken' author toasts 'botany and booze'

  • Article by: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 10, 2013 - 12:45 PM

Q: What was the most interesting thing you discovered?

A: There are a lot of plants that have been turned into alcohol that you never think about. Like sorghum, a grain. In Africa, they use it to brew homemade beer. In China, they use it to make a white-lightning-like spirit. A guy in Indiana is making a nice rum-like spirit using sorghum molasses from Amish farms down the road. And sorghum is gluten-free.


Q: What’s your favorite spirit or cocktail?

A: I like a Manhattan. It’s a lovely drink. I have been drinking Lillet, a French wine blended with citrus, herbs and spices, a little more boozy than regular wine. It’s nice mixed with other things. I’ll have that with dinner.


Q: What were you drinking the last time you were a drunken botanist?

A: I don’t know. I’m on the road right now. I tend to be very sober when I travel. It was probably something great, like an Old Fashioned.


Q: What’s the best plant-based drink for a hangover?

A: Hmmm. Probably coffee. Or water with a little lemon juice. It’s better not to drink too much, but if you do, you just have to give your liver a rest, let it do its work. There’s nothing for a hangover but time.


Q: Aside from the drink recipes, what do you want readers to take away from your book?

A: To understand that everything that gets made into alcohol starts with a plant. They’re all botanical. That’s the point. Except for cheap synthetic stuff that no one should be drinking.


Q: Did you find any exceptions to that rule?

A: In Mongolia, they drink fermented mare’s milk. You make do with what you’ve got.


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  • Amy Stewart, author of “The Drunken Botanist.”

  • the drunken Botanist

    What: Amy Stewart, author of six garden-related books will discuss her latest ;"The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks.’ Peter Hemstad of the University of Minnesota also will discuss the U’s grape-breeding program, and offer samples of wine made from hardy grapes.

    Where: Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

    When: 7 p.m. Thu.

    Cost: Free.

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