An award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel, Mark Spivak was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the restaurant critic for Palm Beach Illustrated. Mr. Spivak’s work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Ritz-Carlton, Continental, Art & Antiques, Newsmax, Dream of Italy and Arizona Highways. From 1999-2011 he hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.
Mark Spivak began writing Iconic Spirits after becoming fascinated with the untold stories behind the world’s greatest liquors. As a writer, he is always searching for the unknown details that make his subjects compelling and unique.
Mr. Spivak’s latest book is Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History.
Readers can learn more about Mark Spivak and his work by visiting the following links:
Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?
In this book, I chronicle the untold stories of twelve spirits that changed the world and forged the cocktail culture. Some are categories and others are specific brands, but they’re all amazing tales: the connection between moonshine and NASCAR; the story of the Gin Craze in 18th century London, an epidemic of mass drunkenness that lasted for 50 years; why absinthe was considered to be the most dangerous substance on earth; how a homeless man rose to become #66 on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans.
How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?
These spirits are iconic because they all really did change the world in some way. I was fortunate to work closely with the publisher on the cover design. We went through 20-25 images before we finally found the right one.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?
“I wanted to be a billionaire,” said Sidney Frank, the creator of Grey Goose. “I wanted to count the money while I was on this side of the ground.”
What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?
Most of my efforts will be focused on internet coverage and radio interviews, along with as many personal appearances and book signings as I can schedule.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
Although I work at odd times throughout the day, I tend to get up very early (around 4 a.m.) so that I have nearly a full day’s work done by the time everyone else is waking up.
What are some ways that you like to relax?
Cooking and drinking Bourbon, preferably at the same time.
What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?
There are literally hundreds of writers freelancing for magazines who are far more creative than their editors will allow them to be.
What author would you most like to meet and why?
I think I really would have enjoyed meeting the late Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.–our sense of humor and world view are similar.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?
I’m sworn to secrecy on the details, but my next project will also be focused on spirits and the enjoyment of life.
What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?
I’m really shy.