The best books on drink of 2017

Henry Jeffreys discovers the controversy surrounding champagne and the magic of brewing beer

Out of this year’s bumper crop of drinks books, it’s good to see one that gets to the point of why we drink. From A Short History of Drunkenness (Viking) I learned how alcohol affects different people and cultures in very different ways. Lou Reed had it right in “The Power of Positive Drinking” when he sang: “Some people drink to unleash their libidos / And other people drink to prop up their egos.” The ancient Egyptians were into binge drinking, vomiting and then having an orgy all in a bid to get closer to the gods, or so they claimed. With a great eye for a story and a counterintuitive argument, Mark Forsyth has enormous fun breezing through 10,000 years of alcoholic history in a little more than 250 pages.

Less drunken but almost as ...