Wednesday, November 7

Infused: Book Review Big Shots: The Men Behind the Booze by A. J. Baime

When reviewing books, I seek ones that are out of the ordinary (no surprise to my readers) and ones that are helpful in learning more about a subject. They should also be enjoyable because no one is going to force themselves to read a dry, boring book. If I were to select a boring, non enjoyable book, well … let’s just say readers would be unhappy, and they would send me angry comments. Fortunately I find books covering all three requirements, including this one.

With the growing passion for education of spirits, wines and beers, Big Shots: The Men Behind the Booze by A. J. Baime will come in handy for numerous reasons ~ including good, old-fashioned humor. Based on a lifetime of a writer's boozy lifestyle, the ... ahem ... research has turned up various behind-the-scenes looks into the colorful world of alcohol.

Filled with tidbits, Baime describes the history of how our favorite adult beverages come about. Stories include how Bailey's Irish Cream really got its name, where the "secret family recipe" of Jack Daniel's actually came from and what connection A-1 steak sauce has to Smirnoff vodka.

If you were not aware of Captain Morgan’s scandalous past, he was not quite the lovable character portrayed on the commercials or bottle. A thief, rapist and, by many, considered the original pirate and worst of all ever in the piracy world, Morgan didn’t make rum, but did drink himself to death with the stuff.

Tawdry stories of illicit pasts are not the only parts of this book. Baime also educates with detailed instructions on differentiating tequila from mescal and the origin of rum and more. Pure humorous anecdotes are his own escapades in Mexico and elsewhere as a man who truly believes in “method” writing.

Bottom Line: For a frolicking literary romp through closets filled with the skeletons of the spirits world, Big Shots by A.J. Baime is delicious neat or on the rocks.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, at and and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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