Books | ‘Distilling the South: A Guide to Southern Craft Liquors and the People Who Make Them’ by Kathleen Purvis

The food editor at North Carolina’s ‘Charlotte Observer’ talks about “mansplaining,” the distilling process and a variety of spirits, some from area distillers.

Courtesy of The University of North Carolina Press

Don’t skip Distilling the South’s introduction, which is probably not normal advice for most books. There you’ll find cute stories and common-sense tips—and a warning about “mansplaining.”

This is what happens when the writer is Kathleen Purvis, a seasoned reporter (food editor at North Carolina’s Charlotte Observer) and a fierce woman, one who openly calls out the men in the booze industry who “talked down to me—or answered all of my questions by turning to my husband—and male visitors who felt the need to ‘translate’ for me.”

There’s much more to this book, of course, with explainers on the distilling process, types of spirits and how to taste, with the majority dedicated to exploring craft distilleries from Virginia to Florida. (NoVA is represented by George Washington’s Distillery, Catoctin Creek Distilling Company and Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery.) Each of her “liquor trails” contains a curated itinerary of less than a dozen distilleries, with mini-biographies on each establishment, notes on the varying state liquor laws, an extended listing of area distilleries and recipes. And, it’s a good start for planning summer vacations.

(June 2018)

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