Istanbul 1570 AD
Ottoman Sultan Murad III receives a letter from a female ruler of a tiny country on the edge of Europe he has never heard of. She seeks an alliance against their common enemy, Rome and the papacy. Murad responds to this Sultana Isabel, as he calls her, and it is the beginning of a cultural and trading relationship that lasts until 1922 when the Ottoman Empire finally falls. Elizabeth I (Sultana Isabel)'s courtiers return from Istanbul speaking of being served the finest drinks at court, exquisite in their complexity, intoxicating in every way bar the absence of alcohol. All the while, the glint of the mater shrubbers' eyes twinkles in their glasses.