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.