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[caption id="attachment_7051" align="aligncenter" width="675"] The cover from Emma Janzen's book.[/caption] (As you’ll read Emma is Chicago based so it’s only natural that we have a book release party during this weekend’s Mexico in a Bottle Chicago pre-game show. We’ll be at Estereo 3-6PM this Saturday so drop on by to talk to the author yourself and have a cocktail while you’re at it.) I had the pleasure of meeting Emma Janzen at Tales of the Cocktail this summer but it’s only since then after reading “Mezcal: The History, Craft & Cocktails of the World’s Ultimate Artisanal Spirit” and chatting with her that I’ve had the chance to unpack the themes in her book and the process that she took to get there.

[caption id="attachment_3807" align="aligncenter" width="266"]The cover of "How the Gringos Stole Tequila" The cover of "How the Gringos Stole Tequila"[/caption] It’s the crime of the century and Chantal Martineau’s How the Gringos Stole Tequila: The Modern Age of Mexico's Most Traditional Spiritexplains exactly how they got away with it. The real questions you’re left debating are whether that theft was the fruit of circumstance and whether the damage can be repaired. But, really, this is no true crime book, it’s a walk through the history and present of the agave spirits industry told through a series of encounters with some of the brighter and more interesting personalities that rule it. To start, it’s incredibly encouraging to see this book do away with any pretense of a dualism between tequila and mezcal. At least in these pages, all agave spirits are part of one big happy family and history. Hell, a bottle of Mezcales de Leyenda even appears on the cover telegraphing just how prominent a role our favored spirit occupies in this narrative.

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