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Bring on the Spirits with Top 5 Prohibition Inspired Cocktails

Updated on January 10, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

I've written, contributed to several books on film. I like to share the insights of the business as best I can for those who appreciate it.

If you saw the movie, then you are familiar with the scene where August and Marlena invite Jacob over for an evening of cocktails and elegance

Popular Spirits of Yesteryear

Celebrating special times is what we care about the most, and when something comes up faster than we care to acknowledge, movies or books like Water for Elephants, capture some popular spirits of yesteryear and today.

The movie overflows with retro radiance and fascination, starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

If you saw the movie, then you are familiar with the scene where August and Marlena invite Jacob over for an evening of cocktails and elegance. It goes without saying that the scene is rather private and intimate because of prohibition. Still, the scene captures the essence of the glamour during the 30's and times to share a festive moment.

Other Hollywood films have captured the same ambiance of the prohibition era. You might be familiar with them as well. Let’s explore the glamour of cocktails in prohibition-era films like Some Like it Hot, The Untouchables and The Roaring Twenties with blends including The Deauville, Manhattan, Whiskey Sour and Hurricane.

It goes without saying that the scene is rather private and intimate because of prohibition. Still, the scene captures the essence of the glamour during the 30's.

Whiskey Sour

One of my favorite scenes in The Roaring Twenties is when naïve Eddie (James Cagney) orders milk at a speakeasy. A counter-part mostly would have ordered the classic Whiskey Sour. The Whiskey Sour has been around since the late 1800s, and remains popular even today! If you’re so inclined, you can add a dash of egg white to the mix to transform the drink into a Boston Sour.

· 45ml Bourbon whiskey

· 30ml fresh lemon juice

· 15ml Gomme syrup

· Orange slice (garnish)

· Maraschino cherry (garnish)

Pour whiskey, lemon juice, and Gomme syrup into a shaker with ice. Shake well, and then strain into an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry and orange slice, and serve on the rocks.


One of my favorite scenes in The Roaring Twenties is when naïve Eddie (James Cagney) orders milk at a speakeasy. A counter-part mostly would have ordered the classic Whiskey Sour.

Manhattan

One of my favorite Billy Wilder films, Some Like It Hot, Marilyn Monroe's character, Sugar Cane, makes Manhattans in a hot water bottle. She’s so natural in the scene. I can’t help but believe it. Luckily, we have cocktail shakers and swizzle sticks.

· 50ml whiskey

· 20ml sweet red vermouth

· Dash Angostura bitters

· Maraschino cherry (garnish)

Stir whiskey, vermouth, and bitters over ice, and then pour strained into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Some Like It Hot

The Deauville

Created in New Orleans in the 1930s, The Deauville is a classic brandy sour with a fantastic fruit bouquet, served straight up.

· 25ml brandy

· 25ml applejack or calvados

· 25ml triple sec

· 25ml fresh lemon juice

Pour the ingredients into a shaker with ice, and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


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Gin Fizz

Brain de Palma captured the prohibition era and the mafia’s heyday brilliantly as we watch Al Capone (Robert De Niro) and some of his cohorts in The Untouchables. I am sure the mob might have thrown back a Gin Fizz or two. The best known of the ‘Fizz’ family of cocktails, this still-popular creation has been a hit since the turn of the 20th century.

· 50ml Gin

· Juice of half a lemon

· 10ml Gomme syrup

· Soda water

Pour gin, lemon juice and Gomme syrup over ice and shake. Strain into a highball glass and top with soda water. Serve on the rocks.

Hurricane

Also a New Orleans staple, the Hurricane was originally made to dispose of poor-selling rum in the 1930s and 1940s, but eventually became popular with sailors and remains a best seller in the French Quarter to this day.

· 15ml dark rum

· 15ml white rum

· Passion fruit syrup

· Lime juice

Shake the ingredients with ice, then pour into a cocktail or tulip shaped glass. Serve on the rocks.

With the holidays almost here, you might want to contemplate throwing a Prohibition Holiday party. If not for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you might want to consider New Year's Eve?

© 2011 Kenna McHugh

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