Henry Jeffreys has written about books, drinks and food – often all three at once – for various publications including the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, Time Out, Foxed Quarterly and Quintessentially magazine. He has no formal wine training although he did work for two years at Oddbins. His first book Empire of Booze: A History of the Realm in 12 Drinks was the winner of the Fortnum & Mason Best Debut Drink book Award 2017.
Empire of Booze presents a full-bodied and rich history of Britain and the Empire, told through the improbable but true stories of how the world’s favourite alcoholic drinks came to be. Charting the rise of Britain from a small corner of Europe to global pre-eminence, each chapter unveils a drink which originated during a period in British imperial history.
It explains how we owe the champagne we drink today to 17th century methods for making sparkling cider; how madeira and India Pale Ale become legendary for their ability to withstand the long, hot journeys to Britain’s burgeoning overseas empire; and why whisky, a drink indigenous to Britain, became the familiar choice for weary Empire builders who longed for home.
Empire of Booze traces the impact of alcohol on British culture and society: literature, science, philosophy and even religion have reflections in the bottom of a glass.
“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.” Daily Mail