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posted: 4/2/2013 3:31 PM

Author Amy Stewart discusses the pleasures and perils of the natural world

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  • Amy Stewart

    Amy Stewart

By Candace Purdom
Andersonís Bookshop

Nonfiction author Amy Steward brings her expertise in the natural world to bear in her new book, "The Drunken Botanist," a look at the plants behind our spirits. Beer gardens with plants that go into the making of beer. Plants with flavors perfect for homemade liqueurs and infusions. How to grow your own cocktails. These topics and more are covered.

The award-winning author visits at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, at Anderson's Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville. A priority number to join the signing line comes with the purchase of "The Drunken Botanist" at Anderson's. Details are available by calling the store at (630) 355-2665 or visiting

Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugar cane, bourbon from corn. Thirsty yet? In "The Drunken Botanist," Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits and fungi that humans have contrived to transform into alcohol through ingenuity, inspiration and sheer desperation.

Of all the extraordinary and obscure plants that have been fermented and distilled, a few are dangerous, some downright bizarre, and one is as ancient as dinosaurs. Each represents a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions and our history. This fascinating concoction of biology, chemistry, history, etymology and mixology -- with more than 50 drink recipes and growing tips for gardeners -- will make you the most popular guest at any cocktail party.

In addition to Stewart, Heather Price from The Growing Place gardening center in Naperville will be on hand to share some local expertise. A representative of KOVAL Distillery in Chicago also will be a special guest.

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