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This is a comparative study of how drinks and drinking, as embodied semiotic and material forms, mediate modern social life. Drink, as an embodied semiotic and material form, mediates social life. This book examines the fundamental nature of drink through a series of modular but connected ethnographic discussions. It looks at the way the materiality of a specific drink (coffee, wine, water, beer) serves as the semiotic medium for a genre of sociability in a specific time and place. As an explicitly comparative semiotic study, the book uses familiar and unfamiliar case studies to show how drinks with similar material properties are semiotically organized into very different drinking practices, including ethnographic examples as diverse as the relation of coffee to talk (in ordering at Starbucks). Further chapters look at the dryness of gin in relation to the modern cocktail party and the embedding of beer brands in the ethnographic imagination of the nation. Rather than treat drinks as mere propos in the exclusively human drama of the social, the book promotes them to actors on the stage. "Semiotics" has complemented linguistics by expanding its scope beyond the phoneme and the sentence to include texts and discourse, and their rhetorical, performative, and ideological functions. It has brought into focus the multimodality of human communication. "Continuum Advances in Semiotics" publishes original works in the field demonstrating robust scholarship, intellectual creativity, and clarity of exposition. These works apply semiotic approaches to linguistics and non-verbal productions, social institutions and discourses, embodied cognition and communication, and the new virtual realities that have been ushered in by the Internet. It also is inclusive of publications in relevant domains such as socio-semiotics, evolutionary semiotics, game theory, cultural and literary studies, human-computer interactions, and the challenging new dimensions of human networking afforded by social websites.