theloft - 27th Jun, 2012
Late in 1919 US Congress passed the Volstead Act which banned the manufacture, sale, consumption or possession of alcohol and prohibition was born!
Time tested cocktails like the Mary Pickford, Southside and Last Word were born out of this failed social experiment that turned drinking into an underground adventure. We take a look at three of our favourite speakeasy cocktails and the history behind them…
Tanqueray Gin, mint, fresh lime juice & sugar
The Saltis-McErlane gang of South Chicago needed something to make their hooch taste better and so they came up with the Southside cocktail made up of gin, mint, sugar and lime. The Southside was then made popular at a club called Jack and Charlie’s.
During prohibition, two cousins from Austria, Jack Kirendler and Charles Berns established this speakeasy. While there were several raids, the cousins had done a fine job designing an intricate system to hide their illegal booze.
They would use a series of levers that would sweep liquor bottles through a chute into the sewers; furthermore, the bar had a wine cellar that was hidden, and had access to the basement of the neighbouring building proper speakeasy style!
The Mary Pickford
Bacardi Superior, pomegranate, maraschino liqueur & pineapple juice
“America’s Sweetheart”, Gladys Marie Smith, aka Mary Pickford was a legend of the silent movie era staring in over 120 films until her retirement in 1933.
This particular cocktail was created for Pickford by a bartender at the Hotel Nacional Havana, Cuba while she was there filming.
Martell VS, Cointreau & lemon juice
This cocktail was created in London by a bartender named MacGarry at a place called ‘Buck’s Club’ and then later made popular at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.
The original “French school” Sidecar was made of equal parts cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice. Later, an “English school” of Sidecars emerged, as found in the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), which call for two parts cognac and one part each of Cointreau and lemon juice.