Books: Through a Shot Glass Darkly

THE BOOZE READER by George Bishop. 288 pages. Sherbourne Press. $4.50.

Like a raffish, somewhat questionable stranger at a bar, this raffish, somewhat questionable book glibly rattles off all sorts of odd and fascinating facts about the manufacture and use of liquor. The word "spirits" was originally applied to the alcohol vapor created during the distillation process. The "proof" of any whisky is equal to double the amount of alcohol it contains; 100 proof means 50% alcohol by volume, the other half being distilled water, coloring and the like. "Proof" originally was a place where gunpowder was tested. Early distillers adopted the...

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