Cocktails During The US Prohibition

Perhaps the first cocktail bars were the speak easies that sprung up following the National Prohibition Act 1919 (US) (also popularly known as the Volstead Act), which brought about Prohibition in the United States of America. Unlike the male dominated bars for hire Melbourne mostly beer that existed prior to Prohibition, speak easies in many cases attempted to boost profits by welcoming women as well as men, a considerable change in the drinking habits prevalent in the United States of America. Another change in American drinking habits brought about by the speak easies and Prohibition was the popularisation of spirits and cocktails in American drinking culture. Prior to Prohibition, beer held an almost unassailable position among the tastes of the American drinking public. Ironically, many American breweries supported the Volstead Act because they were under the impression it would ban spirits and wine while still allowing beer to be sold. Once Prohibition came in to force, however, spirits, which were generally easier to brew in constrained clandestine conditions, and which were more potent in smaller quantities and were therefore easier to transport, became the major drink in almost all locations except a few cities near the Canadian border, such as Detroit, where legal Canadian beer could be smuggled into the United States of America to be illegally sold there at a great mark up. The awful taste of many of the bath tub gins, hooch, moon shine, and other illicitly distilled spirits needed to be some how masked, which led to the development of a great variety of novel cocktails, including some, such as the pink lady, the gin rickey, the white lady, and the gin sour, which are still known today.

Partially in homage to this heritage, in addition to capitalising on the popularity of prominent Prohibition era period dramas such as Boardwalk Empire, some cocktail bars in the United States of America have started to advertise themselves as being speak easies, hoping to evoke the decadence and glamour of the Jazz Age more so than the risk of dying from tainted alcohol, which was sometimes deliberately ‘denatured’, or poisoned, by the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ Bureau of Prohibition rather than confiscated when found in order to kill off those drinking illegally in order to dissuade other would be drinkers. Go here mobile bar hire.

The Prohibition agents employed by the Bureau of Prohibition were poorly paid and notoriously corrupt, with some agents actually becoming major suppliers of illicit alcohol during the time of Prohibition. While certain individual agents went on to gain some public esteem, especially following the passage of the twenty first amendment to the United States constitution, which repealed the eighteenth amendment which, together with the so called ‘Volstead Act’, the National Prohibition Act 1919 (US), set the legal framework for Prohibition, mostly they were not well liked among the American public, who resented their perceived heavy handedness and corruption.