Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Repeal Day

December 5th marks the anniversary of Repeal Day, the day in 1933 when the 21st Amendment was ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and ending Prohibition.  Lucky invitees in the DC area were able to celebrate in style last night at the 4th annual Repeal Day Ball at the Maison Biltmore (Drink Boston's Lauren Clark was one such lucky duck).  For those looking to celebrate, here are 2 cocktail ideas that I think are appropriate for the occasion:  the Scofflaw and the Twelve Mile Limit.

According to Robert Hess, the term scofflaw dates back to a contest held in 1924 to come up with a term to combat continued drinking under Prohibition that "best expresse[ed] the idea of a lawless drinker, menace, scoffer, bad citizen, or whatnot, with the biting power of 'scab' or 'slacker.'"  The winner was "scofflaw," which continues in modern usage to refer one who continuously flouts the law.  Not long after the term was coined, the drinkers provided their own retort, with Harry's New York Bar in Paris creating a cocktail named after the term.  A modern version of the Scofflaw is as follows:
Scofflaw (LUPEC Boston via Cocktail Virgin Slut)
1.5 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. French (dry) vermouth
3/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. grenadine
Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass
Hess provides a recipe that is more true to form for the era, using Canadian whisky:
Scofflaw (via Drink Boy)
1 oz. Canadian whisky
1 oz. dry vermouth
1/4 oz. lemon juice
1 dash grenadine
1 dash orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass

The Twelve Mile Limit hearkens back the Prohibition era laws that prevented sale, but not ownership of alcohol in the U.S.  The workaround some used for these laws was to have people go out by boat off the coast a sufficient distance to be in international waters.  In the early prohibition era, the distance that accomplished this was 3 miles off the coast; laws were later changed in an attempt to stop this practice, extending the limit to effectively 12 miles.
Twelve Mile Limit (Ted Haigh, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
1 oz. white rum
1/2 oz. rye whiskey
1/2 oz. brandy
1/2 oz. grenadine
1/2 oz. lemon juice
shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass

Cocktail Hacker has some great history on the Twelve Mile Limit cocktail here.

Looking for a good bar to celebrate Repeal Day?  USA Today has a list of "Ten Great American Cocktail Lounges" including, for the Boston locals, Eastern Standard.


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