It’s October 1st, and Ruth Ball‘s brilliant, highly entertaining debut, Rebellious Spirits, is out RIGHT NOW. It’s a delicious warm cosy book for the autumn, like sitting down with a good friend and a glass of something warming and listening to them tell fascinating stories by candlelight.
If you live in the UK and you want to have that experience in real life as well as in book form, sign up for one of these events! You’ll get to meet Ruth in person, try some of her favourite historical cocktails from the book, and share stories with a select few like-minded liqueur-lovers who I’m sure will be excellent people.
Ruth Ball at the Buxton Literary Festival: November 13th, 2pm. (NB I suspect there will not be cocktails at this one)
Oh, and here is what the book is all about:
For as long as spirits have existed, there has been someone doing something really naughty with them: selling gin through pipes in a London back alley; standing guard on a Cornish clifftop waiting for a smuggler’s signal; or dodging bombs and shrapnel running whisky in the Blitz. It is a history that is thrilling, utterly fascinating and uniquely British.
Packed full of historical recipes, from Milk Punch to a Wartime Martini, along with cocktails from contemporary bartenders, Rebellious Spirits is a treasure trove for the curious drinker.
From the gin dispensed from a cat’s paw at the Puss and Mew shop which could have been the world’s first vending machine, to whole funeral cortèges staged just to move a coffin filled with whisky, the stories show off all the wonderful wit and ingenuity required to stay one drink ahead of the law. The accompanying recipes are just as intriguing: How did we drink gin before tonic? Was punch really made with curdled milk? Or breakfast served with brandy porridge, and gin mixed into hot ale? What did the past really taste like?
‘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