On January 16th, 1919, Congress passed the 18th Amendment, banning alcohol in the hopes of putting an end to crime, mental illness, poverty and overall drunkenness.
Ironically, organized crime increased to take the place of previously legal methods of production and distribution to supply America's intensified thirst for alcohol during Prohibition. Supporters of Prohibition argued that increased law enforcement would make the amendment more effective, however, respect for the law decreased and crime, drunkenness and indignation towards the federal government increased.
During the next 13 years, support for Prohibition diminished as Americans opened their eyes to the myriad of problems caused by Prohibition. Repeal organizations increased and in 1932, while running for President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's campaign included the repeal of Prohibition. The 21st Amendment restored American's right to a celebratory drink on December 5, 1933.
We celebrate Repeal Day because it was on this day that the traditions of craft fermentation and distillation were restored. Bartenders as contributors to the culinary arts are once again celebrated. Americans can enjoy alcohol unlike any other day that is celebrated in the U.S., as Repeal Day is written in our Constitution and it celebrates the laws that secure our rights as U.S. citizens.
So how will you celebrate Repeal Day? You can simply pick up some beer or wine on you way home from work, just because you can. Or you can visit a local bar or tavern and have a drink. Maybe even buy a shot for someone sitting next to you. One fun thing to do would be to visit a Speakeasy. These prohibition-style bars can be found all over the nation and many are gearing up to celebrate on December 5.
One such speakeasy is Alchemy in Tallahassee. This clandestine bar is accessible only by secret password and swiftly transports guests back to the roaring twenties when drinks flowed freely and Jazz was king. According to Alchemist Patrick "8th Floor" Ake, "Alchemy is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition with live entertainment by "The Messengers" and cocktail specials." One of the featured cocktails will be Prohibition Punch, but their top-selling seasonal cocktail, Fireside Old Fashioned, will also be available. [divider]
Fireside Old Fashioned
courtesy of Thomas Bacot, Alchemy
- 2 Orange triangles
- 2 Cherries
- 2 Sugar cubes
- 2 Dashes Aromatic Bitters
- 2 Dashes Whiskey Barrel Bitters
- 3 Dashes orange bitters
- 1/2 oz St. Germaine
- 1/2 oz Vida Mezcal
- 2 oz Jim Beam Rye
Preparation: Muddle fruit, bitters and sugar, shake, and fine strain over a large ice cube in a rocks glass. Garnish by flaming an orange peel and zesting the glass.
To celebrate the Repeal of Prohibition Day on December 5th, the Lower East Side bespoke cocktail bar, Mulberry Project’s partner and head mixologist, Real Petit, developed the Pear Brandy Crusta cocktail. With brandy so luxurious during Prohibition, it was hard to find so was used by the rich as a marker of their social and financial status. Said to be enjoyed by F. Scott Fitzgerald while he wrote the era defining novel The Great Gatsby, the Pear Brandy Crusta contrasts the warmth of the brandy with the bitterness of the grapefruit for a retro infused taste. [divider]
Pear Brandy Crusta
- 1/2 oz. Poire Williams
- 1 1/2 oz. Hennessy VS
- 1/2 oz. Maraschino liqueur
- 1/2 oz. Combier
- 3/4 oz. Lemon juice
Preparation: Shake all ingredients with ice then strain and pour the liquid into a sugar-rimmed glass and garnish with a whole grapefruit peel.