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Contents; Introduction vii; Chapter 1: Monks and Monasteries 1; Chapter 2: They'll Never Take Our Whisky 21; Chapter 3: The Gin Craze 55; Chapter 4: Pure Irish Spirit 91; Chapter 5: Worse Things Happen at Sea 115; Chapter 6: We'll Drink Again 149; Chapter 7: A Scottish Fairy Tale 179; Chapter 8: Exploding Garages and Secret Speakeasies 201; Recommended Further Reading 239; Acknowledgements 241; Index 243
Shortlisted for the Fortnum & Mason Debut Drink Book of the Year Award 2016
Ruth Ball is related to Admiral Edward Vernon, the man who invented grog as a way to serve the rum ration to the navy in 1740. She grew up in the Peak District, and studied Chemistry at Imperial College London. After graduating, she realised Heston Blumenthal didn't have a graduate programme for scientists, and so founded Alchemist Dreams, a company dedicated to making handmade liqueurs blended to order. Starting out from Ruth's own kitchen, the company now boasts The British Library, Starwood Hotels and The Science Museum Group as clients. In researching traditional spirit-making Ruth found that many of the best sources came from the wrong side of the law - and this book was born.
***** 5 Stars - "Many laugh out loud moments... I absolutely loved the recipes...It's such an interesting book that I am sure I will pick it up again for many years to come. It has certainly made drinking whisky and gin much more interesting... just the right amount of history and humour'"- The Book Magnet; "Full of great stories about the sordid and often lethal business of illegal alcohol" - Henry Jeffreys, The Guardian Best Drink Books of 2015; "For boozy, literary-minded dreamers... a lively and engaging read" - Countrywives.co.uk; "Evok[es], with its tales of gin being piped in alleyways, a mood of nostalgic Blitz-era gentility" - Stephen Bayley, Spectator; "I'm forever fascinated by the underground, and the sub-cultural drinking habits of bad old Blighty are a rip-roaring read" - King Adz, author of The Urban Cookbook and Street Knowledge; "I've finally found a book about the history of spirits I can be wholeheartedly enthusiastic about. ... I loved everything about this book; the enthusiasm it brings to its subject, the try this at home approach, it's humour, and the stories it brings to life. It really has a lot to recommend it. The alchemist sounds intriguing too - apparently one of her commissioned cocktails was for the British library - it had to evoke the flavour of old books, now that's something I'd like to try." - desperatereader.blogspot.uk; "Ruth Ball has written an interesting and fun book on Britain's favourite subject - the demon drink, and I love it." - AtticusFinch; "A damn fun read... I love the mix of historical facts with recipes and personal stories from the characters involved. And the characters we meet on the way are fascinating - as are the ingenious lengths they go to in order to conceal their illicit booze making from the authorities. To avoid giving away any spoilers, the best I can say is that you must read this book and learn that there are people out there who quite literally died so that you could enjoy a dram of whisky when you fancy one." -- Madame J-Mo; "An engaging, witty and informative read for anyone interested in the colourful and exciting history of booze" - Ginfestival.com; "Alchemist and drinks genius Ruth Ball has written a thrilling history of people and events surrounding the intoxicating world of spirits" -- Lemonaste blog