Seventy-five years ago today, Utah signed the 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition. By 7 p.m., FDR officially declared liquor legal and an hour later a shipment of whiskey arrived at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.
Today in the Times-Picayune, I wrote about what happened in New Orleans during the nearly 14 years of Prohibition. While researching the article, I ran across this quote from a November, 1933 edition of the paper:
Musty old recipes are being hunted in attics and bureau drawers as skilled bartenders, casting off the derogatory prohibition titles of bootleggers, are preparing for a return of the days when correct drinking will again be among the fine arts and mixing drinks an abstruse science.
Already many of the old favorite cocktails are creeping in and while thousands of of New Orleanians are wondering “just when the repeal of prohibition will become effective,” other thousands are tickling their palates with famous drinks of the pre-Volstead era.
The straight liquor days of prohibition are waning in the opinion of most New Orleans restaurant owners and operators of more elaborate speakeasies.
The Sazerac, the Ramos fizz, the delicious Chicago cooler, the Sarninga bracer and the Widow’s Kiss were somewhat out of place when dry officials were lurking in the shadows and certified credentials were necessary for admission to most speakeasies--when a man didn’t have time to sip and enjoy a forbidden drink. But those days are no more.
Be sure to have a Sazerac or a Ramos Gin Fizz tonight. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly legal. Although judging by the online reactions to my story, the Anti-Saloon League still has adherents among the commenters at NOLA.com.