Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reviewed my book, Vodka: How a Colorless, Odorless, Flavorless Spirit Conquered America (Lyons Press, July 1). It’s a gorgeous half-page spread with some classic vodka advertisements. Reviewer Wayne Curtis, the author of and a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails, comes at it as a vodka skeptic, though the book seems to have persuaded him of the genius of the marketers: “But Mr. Matus convinced me there’s true craft here—it’s just that the craftsmen are not so much the distillers as the marketers and advertisers. Vodka didn’t conquer America; America conquered vodka.” Indeed.
It’s a lengthy and thoughtful review, though I’d like to make one clarification. Curtis says, “An assertion beginning ‘According to the brand’s website . . .’ doesn’t suggest the deepest reporting.” This is a reference to G Spirits, based in Germany. This vodka is poured over models’ breasts before bottling. Believe me, Mr. Curtis, I would have loved to have done “the deepest reporting” on this, but my wife thought a visit to the website was sufficient.