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  • Published: 3 November 2016
  • ISBN: 9781783522255
  • Imprint: Unbound Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

Empire of Booze

Winner of the 2017 Fortnum & Mason Debut Drink Book award, this is a fascinating take on British history told through the stories behind the world's favourite alcoholic drinks

Winner of the Fortnum and Mason Best Debut Drink Book Award 2017

From renowned booze correspondent Henry Jeffreys comes this rich and full-bodied history of Britain and the Empire, told through the improbable but true stories of how the world’s favourite alcoholic drinks came to be.

Read about how we owe the champagne we drink today to seventeenth-century methods for making sparkling cider; how madeira and India Pale Ale became legendary for their ability to withstand the long, hot journeys to Britain’s burgeoning overseas territories; and why whisky became the familiar choice for weary empire builders who longed for home.

Jeffreys traces the impact of alcohol on British culture and society: literature, science, philosophy and even religion have reflections in the bottom of a glass. Filled to the brim with fascinating trivia and recommendations for how to enjoy these drinks today, you could even drink along as you read…

So, raise your glass to the Empire of Booze!

  • Published: 3 November 2016
  • ISBN: 9781783522255
  • Imprint: Unbound Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

About the author

Henry Jeffreys

Henry Jeffreys was born in London in 1977. After graduating from the University of Leeds, where he studied English and Classical Literature, heworked in the wine trade for two years before moving into publishing. In 2010 he started a blog about wine called Henry’s World of Booze. Following its success, he was made wine columnist for The Lady, as well as a regular contributor to The Spectator, the Guardian and The Oldie on booze and other matters. He was shortlisted for Drink Writer of the Year at the 2014 Fortnum & Mason Awards, and in 2017 he won Best Debut Drink Book for Empire of Booze. He lives in Blackheath, south London with his wife and daughter.

Praise for Empire of Booze

Entertaining . . . [Jeffreys] clearly knows his booze.


Charming . . . Never mind books about drink – a book you can drink, now that’s a Christmas gift.


Well argued and full of fascinating booze-related facts . . . it's an ambitious undertaking, but [Jeffreys] achieves it with a sharp eye and an understated humorous touch I rather liked.

Daily Mail

Fascinating pub trivia . . . Henry Jeffreys is a wine columnist and drinks writer who clearly knows his stuff

Mail on Sunday

Henry Jeffreys is everything you want a wine writer to be: funny, knowing, unpretentious but also un-blokeish, funny, clever, refreshing, original, funny and inquisitive. And did I say funny?

Craig Brown, author and parodist

Even if you don't like wine, and you don't like reading, you will enjoy reading Henry Jeffreys on wine and other 'tipples'.

Rachel Johnson, author and journalist

I am a great admirer of Henry Jeffreys and have been eagerly awaiting his booze and empire book for many years!

Elif Batuman, author, academic and journalist

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