Dear Gentle Readers–

Many of you probably do not know that Dec. 5th marked the anniversary of the 21st amendment being ratified. The text of the 21st amendment is repeat as followed:

Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

It was ratified by Utah in 1933. We all of course know that drinking may have been actually illegal, it was still easy to come by if you know where to get it.

Prohibition Trivia

Gentle reader, if you’ll indulge me on a trip down memory lane (someone else’s memory of course,) I would like to regale you with a few peices of Prohibition trivia.

The first one:

One of my favorite expressions that comes out of Prohibition is the expression “The Real McCoy.” William S. McCoy was a rum runner from who “imported” from the Bahamas back in New Jersey.  He never diluted his liquor nor did it run dry, unlike many others. Of course, no etymologist has been able to substantiate the origin of the expression, but c’est la vie.

And the second:

One of the biggest reasons, I bring up this important anniversary is because Prohibition helped create the legend of mixology that the United State has become so famous for. Think of the many liquors we drink and their country of origin.

Sherry:    Traditionally drank as an aperitif unmixed.

Brandy:   Distilled and fermented Wine, typically drank by itself.

Gin:           Usually diluted with water.

Vodka:     Typically drank by itself.

Whiskey: Typically drank by itself.

Scotch:    Typically drank by itself.

The major exception is rum, which has always had a presence of being mixed with other juices. Rum was created in the Caribbean and primarily exported to the United States.

During prohibition, the quality of liquor left something to be desired and the taste of the liquor had to be masked. This was fairly new phenomenon in cocktails in the United States. Because of the prevalence of bathtub gin and other poorly tasting liquors, Americans had to find new and creative ways to drink the liquor they had always just mixed with water or tonic (soda water) in the past. Thus, the cocktail.

Interestingly, this is also when woman started drinking. This may be why we associated sweet cocktails with women as opposed to scotch and soda with men, because men were drinking it before scotch importation became illegal and unreliable. This is not based on anything, just my thought.

During Prohibition, there was a shift from whiskey into gin, so tonight, gentle reader, I give you the

American Classic Gin Martini

Also masquerades as a Martunia

2 parts Gin

1 part Dry Vermouth

1 part Sweet Vermouth

  • Add ice to a martini shaker.
  • Add all ingredients.
  • Shake dramatically.
  • Pour and enjoy!

Evaluation:

I love this cocktail. However, as a drinker I’m err on the side of a freak show since I enjoy the taste of gin, dry vermouth, and sweet vermouth. I have discovered that it is rare that I have found vermouth lovers. It’s a disappointment to the liquor, really, but I suppose to each their own. People who really like Martinis, like my fraternity brother Jefferson, has and does enjoy this cocktail.

Cost:

750 mL bottle of gin: $20

750 mL bottle of dry vermouth: $7

750 mL bottle of sweet vermouth: $7

Total cost: $34

As always, happy and safe drinking!

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