The Drunken Botanist

The plants and flowers you may be drinking tonight

When you look into your cocktail glass, do you know what you're drinking?

A new book by Amy Stewart takes the mystery out of liquor, beer and wine. The Drunken Botanist ($20) profiles the more than 150 plants, flowers, trees, fruits and fungi that are the building blocks of the spirits we imbibe, explaining the history, science and chemistry behind each.

From more common ingredients like rice, wheat and potatoes to obscure vegetables (monkey puzzle, anyone?) and fruits (ever heard of quandong?), the book helps you truly understand the building blocks of your Manhattan or Mojito.

The book also contains recipes for cocktails both classic and exotic. We tried the Mamani Gin & Tonic (see the recipe), named for a Bolivian man who died during an 1860s expedition to source quinine, the root that gives tonic water its bitterness.

Made with muddled jalapeƱo, cucumbers, and fresh basil or cilantro, the vibrant, refreshing libation has us longing for warmer days ahead.

Talk about the botany of desire.