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lesliec

Prohibition-era cocktail suggestions

19 posts in this topic

A friend of mine is about to appear in a play called The Cat's Meow, about goings-on on William Randolph Hearst's yacht of that name in 1924.  You may have seen the 2002 movie with Kirsten Dunst, Cary Elwes et al.

 

On opening night it's been suggested they have cocktails available, and it makes sense to me to have at least some of them appropriate to the era.

 

A quick troll around eG and elsewhere suggests the Twelve Mile Limit and the Scofflaw.  What else would you suggest?  If I'm making them, as I fear I'll be roped in to do, simplicity would be nice - I'm not a professional by any means; I can take 10 minutes to make something interesting at home, but I don't think that would fly for a thirsty queue.  Another consideration is that many/most of the audience probably won't be used to full-power spirits, so if one or two lower alcohol ones (unlikely as that sounds for a Prohibition cocktail!) come to mind it would be useful.

 

Let's see your drinks.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
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After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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I would venture to guess that the goings-on on William Randolph Hearst's yacht in 1924 were barely constrained by Prohibition, given, you know, unfathomable wealth and all. So I think you would have license to use basically any classic from the Jerry Thomas 1860s era right up through the 20s.

How many folks are we talking about here? And what facilities and ingredients do you have available?


Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Hi Chris.

 

I think you're right - being Hearst would probably have enabled all manner of things not available to the common herd.  So yeah, the Martini (or Martinez) could certainly put in an appearance, I'd think.

 

The theatre will seat something like 85 people.  Facilities are minimal (I suspect I'll be bringing my own mixing glass, spoon, jigger, etc. if this comes off).  Ingredients will depend on what drinks we decide we'd like to offer and how much the production wants to spend.  If they ask me very nicely I may be able to contribute a bottle of Colonel Hawthorne's finest gin, but otherwise we'll be buying what we need.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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During the dark years my father made his own bathtub gin, and he was an officer of an oil company.  I don't know what he did with the bathtub gin -- though I recall he was fond of old fashioneds.

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I do make my own gin.  Not in the bath, though - that would upset various cats who like to play in there.

 

I don't think I've heard of a gin Old Fashioned, but it's an interesting thought.  Might have to have a play with that.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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Maybe not stricktly during prohibition, but when Patty Hearst got out of jail the first thing she asked for was a mai tai.  Wise woman.

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HERE's a list of popular cocktails of the period. Highballs and Planter's Punch were also very popular at the time, and would be easier/faster to make and they could also be made weak, if so desired. Punch could obviously be made up in advance and just poured over ice and garnished with citrus. Highballs could be offered in a couple combinations by having bourbon and brandy on hand with soda water or ginger ale offered, with simple citrus garnish.

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I have a couple of cocktail books from mid-30s.  Some of the selections include Singapore Gin Sling, Manhattan, Whiskey Sour, Orange Blossom, Gin Fizz, Gin Rickey. 

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Some very helpful suggestions there. Thanks, people.

(Tonight's drink is a Colony, from the link in Michaela's post above. Not bad.)

Let's extend the question: what glasses would they have used, other than highballs and old fashioneds? Standard cocktail, coupe, what?


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

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You're looking rather dapper in that new photo, Leslie.


DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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A Timelord is at home in any era.


DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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Some very helpful suggestions there. Thanks, people.

(Tonight's drink is a Colony, from the link in Michaela's post above. Not bad.)

Let's extend the question: what glasses would they have used, other than highballs and old fashioneds? Standard cocktail, coupe, what?

How about some little Nick and Nora glasses?  The first film came out the year after the repeal of prohibition - but they would allow you to serve small cocktails which might help with your logistics.

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That's a great thought, Kerry - if I can find them here!  They're a nice shape for home, too.  I'll have a rummage at my favourite supplier and see what they've got.  Thanks.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

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