According to this LA-based, bourbon-loving historian, women have always been at the heart of hooch, not just as serving wenches, but in the making and consumption of it too. O’Meara offers a feminist-slanted whistle stop tour detailing our long love-affair with alcohol, lightly erudite and full of fascinating facts. Our earliest tree-dwelling ancestors ‘discovered’ alcohol by eating rotting, fermenting fruit, thus gaining an evolutionary advantage by being able to consume a lot of calories quickly. Yes, booze is fattening! Cleopatra loved it, Catherine the Great bribed soldiers with it, and in the middle ages everyone drank it because it was safer than water. Li Qingzhao, the 12th century Chinese poet, famously described cheeks ‘flushed from wine’ while Ada Coleman, known as ‘Coley’, became the first female head bartender at the American Bar at the Savoy, serving Charlie Chaplin and Marlene Dietrich among others, and making the bar world famous. What better present for your curious, clever, glass-clinking girlfriends.