Cover Image: Girly Drinks

Girly Drinks

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Member Reviews

Girly drinks was a delightful journey around the world into the various capacities women facilitated the culture of alcohol consumption. O'Meara's history lesson included great cultural variances, which was refreshing. Having read her other book, this author's style is in a very easy-to-read conversational format, injecting a bit of wit and humor throughout. I think anyone, whether they consume alcohol or not, would enjoy the women's history and assorted stories about some of the most famous female connoisseurs. Many of the drinks I am excited to ask for the next time I visit a bar, or even visit the liquor store to concoct my own "girly drink." Also, I will definitely recommend this to all of my girlfriends!
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Fascinating overview of how women shaped drinking culture and industries with lots of historical characters deserving of more recognition.
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Part fun, part serious, part history, part feminism and all kick ass! I would expect nothing less from someone as talented as Mallory O'Meara. The passion and attention to detail poured into this book is evident in every page. I highly recommend to anyone who imbibes. I promise you will learn something you didn't know about alcohol and the role women played in bringing it into every day social life.
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Serious but totally entertaining! 
When most people think it was the men that led the hype over alcohol, from discovery to the creation and beyond this gives a better story and a voice to the women who were very much in the front of the line when it comes to all things beverage.
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I thought this book was really fun. It was very much up my alley and more feminist than I was expecting, to be honest! While nonfiction may not be everyone's cup of tea, it is often what I am drawn to the most. As a woman that spent 10 years working in the service industry, I loved this historical, conversation, and (at times!) refreshingly humorous take. At the end of the day, all drinks are girly drinks because women played a role in their creation... and that's pretty incredible.
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I am not sure what I expected from this book, probably a look at how and what alcohol women have consumed over the years. Even though it is subtitled "A World History of Women and Alcohol" I guess I wasn't expecting it to be as in depth and fascinating as it turned out to be. This is so much a history of the contributions of various women to the development and business of alcohol rather than trends, although some of those are included as well.

The author starts with "The Dawn of Time" and the discovery of alcohol, and progresses forward through time and various women including (among others) Cleopatra, Catherine the Great's contribution to the empire of vodka, Lucha Reyes in the 30s and 40s with tequila, and Julie Reiner in the 2000s, ending in the present time with Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela's studies and brewing science.

The author does also touch on the progression of female drinking trends and some of the triumphs and drawbacks of these trends. This is a fascinating book overall and almost read like a book of short stories. I barely put it down until I was finished because it is approachable, yet taught me a great deal about many women I had either never heard of before or had no idea their contributions in the history of alcohol.

I highly recommend this intriguing book, it reminds me why I should pick up non-fiction a bit more often, because I'm always surprised at what I learn.
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There is a reason history projects should be done by people trained on how to do it, and this book is a prime example as to why. While interesting subject material, the text lacks professionalism and is more focused on providing "cool" asides rather than demonstrating a handle on the topics and skillsets required to do this topic properly. 

This reads like an extra-long Wikipedia article, lacking depth and context, a result of the author being neither academic nor journalist. 

This is not a history of women and alcohol, it is a collection of stories of historical women (who were all cool, to be fair) presented amongst the barest of context for the time they lived in, all circling around O'Meara's thesis that "patriarchy didn't let them drink" but spending actually no time whatsoever to explore what that thesis means and how it might be complicated when you're looking at women's experiences from Mesopotamia, China, Indigenous North America, etc. The author also lacks competency in knowing the history of these periods to do them justice - you can't just read one book on the role of women in Ancient Greece and think you can write a book on it (the brevity of her bibliography is proof of this). 

It is because of this, that there are actually errors in the book. I am not an expert on a vast number of the periods/places she mentions in this book and so I cannot comment on their accuracy, however, the areas that I am an expert on are full of half-accurate statements from everything from The Modern Girl through to the Indian Act (Canada). These half-accurate issues are a byproduct of the author's lack of expertise, a lack of a good editor, and shows why context is absolutely essential for understanding the past. You cannot simply make a glib footnote about something and move on. 

I love popular history and I really wanted to like this book - research should be accessible and fun to read, especially in history. But this is not what I want; poorly researched and poorly written semi-accurate works. 1.5 stars because many of the figures she highlights are interesting and hopefully it spurs someone who picks up this book to research more and become interested in history and I liked her overall vibe of "all drinks are girly drinks".

(review copy provided for free from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review)
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This was a fun and well written/researched book.  I truly learned quite a bit about the early days of beer and wine, as well as how women played an important role in it.
I think that if you have an interest in feminist history, this would be right up your alley, or if you want a feminist history of drinking, this would definitely be your book.
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Thought-provoking, humorous and informative, Mallory O'Meara deliciously concocts an extensive world history of feminism and alcohol. The author uncovers and tells the untold stories of female brewers, distillers and drinkers that played an important role in the creation and consumption of alcohol throughout the ages. This is my second book by the author and the one thing I love is her writing style. Her sharp sense of wit and lighthearted conversational tone is captivating and provides a sense of connection with the author. It truly felt like O'Meara and I were having a conversation over drinks on all the fascinating tidbits on the history of empowering female profiles that made an impact in the alcohol industry. The portrait of 15 women illuminates how they discovered and championed against the longstanding patriarchal tradition. I am glad this untold history is finally being told and these women should be celebrated and credited for their great contributions. Cheers to O'Meara for the riveting historical context on the queens of "Girly Drinks"!

Thank you to NetGalley and Hanover Square Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Mallory O'Meara writes a brief history of women involved in the business of alcohol, not necessarily women drinking alcohol. She does discuss a bit of that, i.e., the title, "Girly Drinks" and how that phrase came about, but the concentration is on the business end.

When she, O'Meara talks business, that can mean everything from distilling, brewing, blending, bottling, and selling. Most of the women she mentions begin with chemistry degrees to understand the process of 'making' alcoholic beverages. Science is the foundation in this business unless you were born into it and learned everything while watching the process on your father's knee. And yes, father is the correct parent because it has been a male dominated industry for a very long time.

Wine and vineyards were probably the first to accept women into their fold before liquor distillers and beer brewers. Rum accepted a woman first, then gradually other spirits starred to open their doors as well. It wasn't until the 2000s that women made some progress, but the numbers are gradually growing.

Girly drinks were originally cocktails with more soda, fruit juice and/or sugar than alcohol; and probably pink. Wine coolers weren't too bad but they were made with cheap wine and bubbly sodas until tax on wine went up and they couldn't be made cheaply anymore. That led to cheap alcohol and soda pop plus coloring. 'Alcopops,' which got sweeter and more colorful, and accused of marketing to teens. They went bye-bye too.

The 'Cosmo' famous drink by Carrie Bradshaw on 'Sex and the City' was probably the only girly drink that wasn't terrible. But the Cosmo too outlived it's trendy life.

The book is fairy interesting, but remember, it's more history than anything else. Just know what to expect and you'll be fine. Very readable and not scientific. 
I'd rate it a solid three stars.

Thank you to Netgalley and Hanover Square Press
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This book was fabulously put together. With meticulous detail, sharp wit, and an overflow of interesting facts (especially about the role of marginalized and BIPOC women), GIRLY DRINKS is a truly fascinating read. This book offers no shortage of discussion topics, which makes it perfect for a book group. And what makes it stand apart from other history books is the expert combination of sass and research. So if you are looking for an amusing (though at times, disheartening - especially when considering the marginalization of women throughout history) book that's chock-full of captivating historical detail all around the creation and consumption of alcohol, Mallory O'Meara's book is the book you want to pick up!
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So very very dense. I was hoping this would be a fun easy to read cultural history, but it's very much an academic book. Doesn't mean it's bad, just not what I was expecting!
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I was surprised how informative and thorough this book was. I greatly enjoyed the history of women and alcohol as drinker, brewers, and the social attitudes towards women involved with alcohol. I highly recommend this title.
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Why are drinks gendered? And why the heck have all these awesome women been filtered out of our history?

Girly Drinks by Mallory O’Meara is one of the most approachable nonfiction books I’ve read. Mallory takes us through the history of alcohol and all of the women that, honestly, are the reason we have the alcohol we do today! I immensely enjoyed her writing and felt like a friend was telling me a cool story throughout the entire book. I was constantly texting my friends cool facts about drinking history (did you know early saké had the consistency of oatmeal?) as I read.

If you like alcohol and feminist history, I think this is a must read!
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I appreciated the author's candid writing style and sense of humor. I did not know alcohol has such a long and sexist history.

It is exactly what it says: a history of the ladies who manufactured and consumed alcohol throughout history. There are a lot of fascinating tidbits delivered in a breezy way that keeps you comfortably skimming through. The ideal summer read on the deck.
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Mallory O'Meara’s GIRLY DRINKS has the perfect conversational breezy tone for making the history of alcoholic drinks and the parts women played fun. Witty, sparkling, fiercely feminist, this book is a quick, engaging read. Even casual drinkers will be captivated by the knowledge she shares. Did you know we have Hammurabi and his code to thank for the idea that women shouldn’t drink? This is great micro nonfiction with an informational and engaging tone.
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This book unfortunately did not live up to my hopes. The content was fascinating, and I learned a lot. The writing style was also funny and engaging, with a fantastic use of footnotes.

However, I would have preferred a book with more in depth analysis, and I found the structure to be distracting. I appreciate the attempt to give a global picture for each time period, and sometimes it worked beautifully to highlight the similarities and differences in experience. It often  felt jarring though, as is paragraphs had been randomly intercut with no thought to the transition.
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For history buffs who like their drinks shaken and stirred, a diverse, connective thread is woven between women and alcohol. From boozy luminaries such as Cleopatra to Mary Firth to Catherine The Great to the Widow Clicquot, we then travel time and distances to (re)discover past innovators from China to Mexico to Jamaica to South Africa. These ladies disrupted the status quo and the liquors we toast with. This is a stellar tribute and hopefully only the next of many more feminist histories to look forward to from Mallory O’Meara
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Mallory O'Meara picked a great topic and through very thorough research and great writing, made it fascinating. I have already recommended this book to several of my friends, and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
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So fun! Girly Drinks is the perfect book for a dive into history and feminism and is a great read for those trivia lovers and fact hounds. We all know those amateur mixologists and this book is perfect for them!
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