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Holiday cheer [podcast]

As we approach the end of 2021, we can look back at the previous two years of restrictions, lockdowns, COVID tests and vaccination lines, not to mention all the political strife… or we can look to the unknown, ahead to the new year. But let us pause for a moment and enjoy the now: a holiday season that should be livelier than last year’s. After all that’s gone on, we could use some old-fashioned holiday cheer.

On today’s episode, in the spirit of the holiday season, we spoke with Editor-in-chief David Wondrich and Associate Editor Noah Rothbaum of The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails to talk about their book, the growth of cocktail culture, and some of their favorite holiday drinks from around the world. Then, to speak on Christmas traditions, we revisited our interview with Gerry Bowler, the author of Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday, from an Oxford Comment of Christmas Past.

Check out Episode 68 of The Oxford Comment and subscribe to The Oxford Comment podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our expert authors.

Recommended reading

To learn more about holiday drinks (and drinks in general), your first stop will be David Wondrich and Noah Rothbaum’s The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails. Here is the Introduction and their entry on the holiday drink to end all holiday drinks, eggnog! Wondrich and Rothbaum have written extensively on cocktails elsewhere, and they can both be heard on their own podcast, Life Behind Bars.

Explore a chapter (and some recipes) from Which Fork Do I Use with My Bourbon?: Setting the Table for Tastings, Food Pairings, Dinners, and Cocktail Parties, by Peggy Noe Stevens and Susand Reigler, on the many possible variations on the “cocktail party.”

Bridging the gap between drinks and Christmas, here is Paul Freedman in The Oxford Handbook of Christmas on the “food and drink” of Christmas around the world.

How did Christmas traditions develop in America in particular? Penne Lee Restad explores the history behind the Christmas tree and gift giving in Christmas in America: A History.

Lastly, for more on the history of Christmas and the controversies surrounding its celebration since its inception, check out Gerry Bowler’s Christmas in the Crosshairs. Also, you can listen to Episode 51 of The Oxford Comment, The History of Holiday Traditions”, from which Katelyn Phillips’ interview with Bowler was excerpted for this podcast, in its entirety on the OUP Academic SoundCloud.

Happy holidays from the Oxford Comment team!

Featured image: Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash.

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