Rebellious Spirits: Audacious Tales of Drinking on the Wrong Side of the Law

Rebellious Spirits: Audacious Tales of Drinking on the Wrong Side of the Law
eBook ISBN: 9781783961801

A delicious taste of the secret, exciting and often dangerous history of illicit spirits


Britain has always been a nation of enthusiastic drinkers. Any attempt to regulate, limit or ban our favourite tipple has been met with imaginative and daring acts of defiance: selling gin through pipes in a London back alley; smuggling brandy across Cornish clifftops; or dodging bombs and shrapnel running whisky in the Blitz.

The history of spirits in Britain has more illicit in it than licit – and that history has shaped these isles. Packed with wild stories, as well as authentic recipes from the past, Rebellious Spirits reveals the colourful characters and tall tales behind Britain’s long and lively love affair with booze.


***** 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" --

"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." --

"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" -

"Alchemist and drinks genius Ruth Ball has written a thrilling history of people and events surrounding the intoxicating world of spirits" - --Lemonaste blog