Gin Austen by Colleen Mullaney is a cute cocktail book that roughly weaves its way through Austen’s novels. Ostensibly it’s a way to experience Austen’s works through unique mixed drinks.
Everyone and their mom has sent us this book and asked if we’d heard of it. Yes, we’ve heard of it! And now I’m going to review it.
The first chapter is about Austen’s life. It’s *very* general and the two recipes are kind of shoved in there. It feels like they could have just waited until end of the section for easy reference instead of forcing it into a description of Jane’s early life.
The second chapter is all about Georgian drinks which is a stronger chapter. There’s more depth and really informative stuff. It’s Georgian drinks 101: flips, juleps, shrubs, slings and more.
The next chapter is on barware. Very general, but I guess necessary to a recipe book. Same for glasses chapter, really basic. The ingredient chapter has slightly more info.
There are some cool syrups if you want to add something to your bar. Earl grey, hibiscus and lavender syrups are included, along with a recipe for Orgeat! The bar terms chapter has a funny instruction: “shake” instructs us to shed our ladylike demeanor to do so properly.
After all the basics are laid out, the book is then divided by Austen’s books and corresponding cocktails to those stories. The chapters tell a very vague framework of part of the plot then a cocktail is inserted. The names of the cocktails are the best part really.
The Price of Love
Life’s Not Fairfax
He Came and Wentworth
Hand in the Tilney
Hot Barton Rum did sound reviving for those of us running about the countryside. The Persuasion chapter notes: “These cocktails have strong legs to help you weather rough seas.” Brandon gets an old fashioned name for him.
Overall the recipes have lots of flavors, sparkling wines and very botanical influences. Maybe too much at times (elderflower and apricot, creme de viollets and mandarin vodka). I tried a gin drink from Northanger Abbey and tequila one from Emma and just wasn’t impressed. I feel like more thought was put toward clever names and pretty looking or sounding recipes than something worth sipping.
A lot of the recipes involve a lot of ingredients you won’t find at one store. Especially not a neighborhood grocery store.
Overall, I’d say this is extremely skippable unless you need a copy for your shelf or are a huge fan of botanical drinks.
And the drinking game section is the best part.
Who should read this: people who LOVE off-the-wall flavors.
What you should drink with this: Wine, like Jane would probably have recommended instead.
– Admin B