Distilled Knowledge

The Science Behind Drinking’s Greatest Myths, Legends, and Unanswered Questions

By Brian D. Hoefling

Illustrator Leandro Castelao

Release Date
Format Hardcover 208 pages 6 x 9 inches 30 full-color illustrations
Category Food and Wine
ISBN-13 978-0-78921-268-9 SKU 1042672

A charming, uproarious exploration of the scientific answers to our most timeless questions about drinks and drinking

The world is full of questions, myths, and half-truths about drinking. Beer before liquor, never sicker? Should you drink the hair of the dog that bit you?

These questions usually have hilarious answers, but more often than not, the old wives’ tales and wild guesses of bartenders (and –goers alike) drown them out. For the first time in one volume, Distilled Knowledge compiles all the major points of discussion and disputation—with the science to either back them up or knock them down.

Cocktail historian and instructor Brian D. Hoefling’s pithy, conversational text is divided into two parts. The first, “What Hits the Glass,” discusses the ins and outs of fermentation, distillation, aging, and mixing—even solving the age-old conundrum between “shaken” and “stirred.” The second section, “What Hits the Body,” deals with the after-effects of alcohol on the human body, answering a wide range of questions on intoxication, social lubrication, and hangovers.

Readers will receive a complete and comical education through this attractive volume, which features clear, cheeky illustrations throughout. Complete with cross-references, scientific appendices, and a full index, the easily digestible entries are robust enough to put an end to any barroom dispute. A compulsively readable book, Distilled Knowledge is as funny as it is factual and will delight cocktail enthusiasts, beer aficionados, and those who love a good bit of trivia.


2016 Holiday gift guide selection — Alcademics

2016 Holiday gift guide selection — The Hollywood Reporter



The book [...] discusses the chemistry behind various kinds of drinks and often debunks beliefs that circulate at bars and dinner parties. Do carbonated drinks have a stronger effect on blood alcohol concentration? Why does expensive booze taste better? Hoefling can tell you. — The Boston Globe

Raise a glass, get to your happy place and dive into Distilled Knowledge. — Parade

Hoefling is Bill Nye the Science Guy for the barfly, explaining the chemical and bacterial interactions that result in everything from fermentation to hangovers. ... And thanks to handy cross-references, you can skim or swim through the information. The graphics, by Leandro Castelao, are simple but striking. — BookPage

This delightfully upscale trivia book focuses on all things alcohol ... Lively infographics accompany the lively narrative ... This certainly belongs in the circulating stacks where your trivia lovers and drinkers alike can find it ... A handy (if cheeky) reference source. — Booklist 

From a chemistry lesson on fermentation to a look at the biological basis of a head-pounding hangover, it offers a spirited education on the science of intoxication. — Improper Bostonian 

A very excellent little compendium of scientific research into the myths and mysteries of drinking. — PopMatters

Lighthearted, yet based in the most serious science, Distilled Knowledge is a terrific read for those of us who have a 'thirst for knowledge' and a penchant for the drinking life. — American Craft Beer 

This authoritative account should quench your thirst for knowledge about the facts and myths surrounding alcoholic beverages, from how they are made to what effects they have on people. What a delightful read, written in an easy to understand style with superb illustrations. — Richard N. Zare, Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science at Stanford University

There's a great wealth of information here on the process of making booze and the science behind drunkenness. Author Brian D. Hoefling's work is both fun and insightful—with plenty of trivia items worth keeping in the back of your mind. — Cool Hunting

Think while you drink with Distilled Knowledge — The Manual: The Essential Guide for Men

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