Disclosure: A sample of Templeton Rye Whiskey was provided for this post.
New Years Eve, my hubby and I attended a party at a local bar. The party was, of course, a roaring twenties theme. Since starting Cocktail Crafty I have attended more 1920’s themed parties than I can count. My husband pointed this out and asked why do bartenders love to celebrate Prohibition. “You would think”, he says, “this would be considered a dark era in drinking history.” In theory, perhaps, but in reality Prohibition was anything but.
If not for Prohibition, cocktail culture may not be what it is today. While Prohibition was meant to stifle drinking in America, in essence it was fuel for the fire. Without prohibition, bartenders would not have been forced to get creative in an effort to cover up harsh bootlegged booze, inspiring many of the cocktails you drink today. Without speakeasies, Jazz would not have had a stage to shine. And American’s wouldn’t have had to resort to more illicit methods of obtaining their hooch. Would the world even know the name Al Capone? I doubt it.
On January 17th, 1920, the country went dry and ushered in an era that will forever live on in infamy. An era that turned the majority of Americans into blatant criminals. It would also turn a then 21 year-old Capone into a household name. By the way, Mr. Alphonse Gabriel Capone was born January 17th, 1899. I don’t think that it should be considered mere coincidence that the same day the country unwisely tried to force temperance on an entire nation is also the birthday of the most notorious bootlegger.
Today we look back on Prohibition with bittersweet fondness. The spirits industry would not be what it is today without prohibition. Your favorite mixologist would just be a silly looking guy in a page boy hat and suspenders. And a certain rye whiskey wouldn’t have experienced a re-birth.
January 17th is National Bootleggers Day, as well as the birthday of Templeton Rye. When I received a sample of Templeton Rye, I could hardly contain my excitement. It’s actually one of my favorite whiskies. Made in the same style as Capone’s whiskey of choice, Templeton Rye has a delicate toffee flavor wrapped in layers of spice. It’s smooth going down and plays well in a cocktail. It certainly did in my version of the New York Sour.
New York Sour
This Bootleggers Day, try a glass of “the good stuff” and raise with the hope that we never have to see the likes of Prohibition again.