The tavern, the inn, the coffee house, the tea shop: these are places where, throughout history, we have met and socialised and where the issues of the day could be discussed over a drink. Rough Spirits and High Society shows the surprising, often subversive ways in which drinking has changed the world, and the ways in which society has struggled to control the places where people drink. Postal services developed between networks of inns and enabled modern communication. The first insurance companies were created in the coffee houses. Gin palaces prompted moral outrage. The suffragette movement found its birthplace in tea shops which allowed women to meet across social classes. This generously illustrated book unveils the little-known ways that drinks, whether alcoholic or caffeinated, have found their place at the centre of our social and political lives.