Celebrate the 8oth anniversary of the end of Prohibition at one of these spots around town.
By Kelly A. Magyarics
Celebrate the end of the failed experiment known as Prohibition in the city where it all began. In case you need a refresher, Congress passed the Volstead Act on October 28, 1919, which was designed to enforce and carry out the intent of the Eighteenth Amendment, prohibiting alcoholic beverages in the United States. The Eighteenth Amendment was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment, which went into effect December 5, 1933.
Got all that? If not, don’t worry. Just raise a glass and be grateful that it’s not brain cell-killing hooch or bathtub gin. Happy days are here again!
On Thursday, December 5 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., Jack Rose Dining Saloon hosts its third annual Repeal Day Celebration. All three floors of the whiskey den will be converted into a Prohibition-era bash, with classic cocktails, whiskeys and punches, burlesque dancers, cigars and 1930s bar snacks.
Drink specials will include the Clover Club and Astoria for $9, specialty whiskeys for $8, Prohibition punches for $7, and bottomless bubbles for $20. In the just-opened Whiskey Cellar — a dimly lit, hidden basement bar decorated with leather chairs and couches and whiskey barrel tables — owner Bill Thomas will also put some historic whiskies on the bar’s cellar draft system. There is no admission fee. For more information, click here.
The DC Craft Bartenders Guild is holding its sixth annual Repeal Day Ball on Saturday, December 7 at Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital. An expected 400 attendees will get to try cocktails crafted by Washington, D.C.’s and the nation’s best mixologists while dancing along to Prohibition-era tunes. VIP tickets are $150 and allow guests to kick off the party an hour earlier (8 p.m.) General admission tickets are $100 and grant admission at 9 p.m. The event is black tie, and a portion of the proceeds go to the Museum of the American Cocktail, the nonprofit organization dedicated to education in mixology and preserving the rich history of the American cocktail. Click here for more details.
To get in the spirit a little early, here are a few classic sips to try yourself (they will also be served at Jack Rose’s Repeal Day event.)
This cocktail from 1897 was the house Martini at the famous Brass Rail bar in the Old Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. It’s heavy in Vermouth and uses Old Tom Gin, which is sweeter than London Dry versions.
1 oz. Old Tom Gin
2 oz. Dry Vermouth
2 dashes Orange bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish
Add all except garnish to a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
This libation dates back to 1910, and originated in the bar of the old Bellevue Stratford in Philadelphia, where the “Clover Club” (a group of those in the literary, legal, financial and business fields) wined and dined. The classic version uses grenadine or raspberry syrup; this interpretation uses fresh raspberries.
2 oz. London Dry Gin
¾ oz. Lemon juice
¾ tsp. Sugar
1 Egg white
Add all ingredients to a shaker and shake. Add ice, and shake again until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, with no garnish.
Kelly Magyarics is a wine and spirits writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com , or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.