Happy Belated Repeal Day!
Dec 5th marked the 77th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition... lucky for us!
Prohibition was that evil time between 1920 and 1933 in which drinking was *gasp* illegal. While this sounds out-and-out horrible, we can attribute the induction of Prohibition for some of the greatest cocktails and bars of all time. Who doesn't love throwing on their best flapper dress, doing the Charleston and having a classy Sidecar or Old Fashioned anyway?
...maybe that's just me?
Today you can still get your 1920's speak-easy feel on at many establishments throughout the country. In particular - and perhaps it's because I'm so in to wine - the 21 Club... one of NYC's best-hidden speakeasy clubs in the era and still around today located at 19 W 52nd Street. Not quite such a secret anymore, the 21 Club is a highly regarded, NYC icon, visited by much of NYC's high class society and celebrities from across the board.
What makes this place so famous?
Back in the 1920's the 21 Club was known as "the place to be," to the affluent drinkers of the era.
"Perhaps the most elaborately disguised vault in New York City, '21's Wine Cellar was built to be invisible. Behind several smoked hams that hung from the basement ceiling and a shelved wall filled with canned goods, stood a perfectly camouflaged 2 1/2 ton door that appeared to be part of the wall. Opened only by inserting a slender 18" meat skewer through one of many cracks in the cement wall, the secret door silently slid back to reveal '21's most coveted treasure: two thousand cases of wine."
In fact, the place was so well hidden that even when authorities came to "close the place down" in 1932, they couldn't seem to find the alcohol and so, 21 Club went on to see another day... and thank goodness because when I had the opportunity to visit the wine cellar in 2009 I was in heaven.
I'll leave it up to Stephanie to tell you about some of the best cocktail-inspired speakeasy bars in the country.
Did we celebrate with an all out bash? Not exactly... but you can bet we raised a glass.
I opted for a glass of red wine: Pittnauer Burgenlander Röt 2008, a blend of Pinot Noir, Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch from Austria (of course!)
Stephanie opted for a Maker's Mark Whiskey Sour (with cherries!) with a friend at a birthday dinner.
Steve celebrated with a glass of Catena Malbec from Argentina while his wife sipped on a Cremant Rose from the Loire.
Jean joined in the fun with a mimosa and a glass of Chateau Tour Calon 2000... slow day!
No matter if you sipped yesterday or not, it's important to recognize this momentous holiday. For anyone that enjoys a good cocktail, glass of wine, beer or anything in between raise a glass to Repeal Day!