Drinking Boston at the barWhile Boston is often depicted as a stronghold of Puritan beliefs and Brahmin wealth, many don’t realize how impactful the city’s immigrant groups were on the city’s social and political history.

Boston history writer and journalist Stephanie Schorow explores this, as well as Boston’s long and storied relationship with alcohol, in her new book Drinking Boston: A History of the City and Its Spirits, which she will discuss the book at the Boston Public Library on Thursday, March 14th at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. With the event taking place just days before St. Patrick’s Day, Schorow will focus on Boston’s rich immigrant history and the saloons and barrooms that helped to foster the city’s distinctive culture. From the German breweries of Roxbury and Jamaica Plain to the barrooms that served as both Irish community centers and cogs in the ward-based political machine, immigrant populations had a surprisingly enormous influence on the way Bostonians drank and socialized.

In Drinking Boston, Schorow serves up a remarkable cocktail representative of Boston’s intoxicating story: its spirit of invention, its hardscrabble politics, its mythology, and the city’s never-ending battle between personal freedom and civic reform—all told through the lens of the bottom of a cocktail glass. Schorow introduces readers to the cast of characters who cDrinkingBoston_Small Thumbhampioned or vilified drinking and the places where they imbibed—legally and otherwise. Bringing us to present day, this literary pub-crawl visits some of Boston’s most beloved and enduring neighborhood watering holes, ending with an examination of Boston’s very own recipe for the current cocktail renaissance sweeping the nation. Join Schorow at the Boston Public Library to learn more.

Schorow is the author of six books on Boston history, including Boston on Fire: A History of Fires and Firefighting in Boston, The Cocoanut Grove Fire, The Crime of the Century: How the Brinks Robbers Stole Millions and the Hearts of Boston, among others. A seasoned reporter, she has worked for the Boston Herald and the Associated Press.