Cheers! to the 100th anniversary of the start of prohibition
It might just be coincidence, but it’s certainly interesting. This pandemic that has us all shuttered at home — and likely drinking more — comes 100 years after the start of Prohibition in the United States.
At the time, President Woodrow Wilson described the idea of banning the manufacture, sale and transport of alcohol as, “a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far-reaching in purpose.”
Others had different views, including mob boss Al Capone, who said, “Prohibition has made nothing but trouble.”
While we’re facing more uncertain times now, there’s plenty of ways to make the most of this situation. Sure, we would have rather gone to our local Mexican restaurant for Cinco de Mayo, and would definitely rather stop by our favorite bar for Friday’s happy hour. But, with a bit of creativity, you can make a tasty cocktail and enjoy happy hour at home.
Here are a few fan favorites that are easy and delicious.
We scoured the web for the best Bloody Mary recipe, and one from Kathryne Taylor gets our vote. She forgoes any store-bought mixers and makes her own mix at home.
The ingredient list is lengthy but worth it. It includes:
- 2 ounces (4 cups) tomato juice
- 8 ounces (1 cup) vodka
- 1 medium-to-large cucumber, peeled and seeded
- ⅓ cup distilled vinegar
- 1 teaspoon celery seed (not celery salt!)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt, optional
- Lemon or lime wedges
- Kosher salt, for the rims of of the glass, optional (or add chili powder)
- Lots of ice, for serving
- Garnishes (choose any): Celery stalks, skinny carrots with leafy tops, mini bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, dill pickle spears, pickled okra, and/or green cocktail olives
See the full instructions from Taylor at her site, Cookie + Kate.
Adam and Joanne from Inspired Taste make a great old fashioned recipe that offers a few ways to mix up the traditional drink, such as swapping out the whisky for dark rum.
The ingredient list for their classic old fashioned includes:
- 1 T simple syrup
- A few dashes of bitters
- Bourbon or whiskey
- Garnish with an orange peel
The duo also demonstrates how to create large, clear ice cubes at home. So be sure to check out their page.
One of our favorite margarita recipes comes from Baking a Moment. We love it because it’s easy — with just three ingredients — and it’s delicious. The must-have ingredients are fresh limes, orange liqueur, such as triple sec or grand marnier, and tequila.
Allie, from Baking a Moment, says there’s no need to skimp on the fresh limes. “Fresh lime juice makes the BEST margaritas! Believe me when I tell you, it makes all the difference in the world. Stay away from bottled juice, and stay away from margarita mix. There’s just no need, when a REAL margarita is so easy to make. And it tastes so much better!”
Follow her full recipe here.
The folks at VinePair call the Negroni “the epitome of a balanced cocktail.” It’s boozy, sweet, and bitter. And it’s easy to make, with equal parts of three ingredients.
The classic Negroni is made with gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. The drink was apparently invented in Florenece, Italy, after Count Camillo Negroni requested an Americano with more kick while imbibing at the city’s Caffe Giacosa. Read the full tale, and see the full recipe here.
You may not have a well-stocked bar, especially while in quarantine. But no need to fret. There are plenty of delicious cocktail options that require just two ingredients.
- Having ginger beer or ginger ale on hand sets you up for success. Mix it with dark rum for a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, with vodka for a Moscow Mule, or with whiskey or Pimm’s for a more alcohol-forward beverage.
- Orange juice is another great mixer that you’re more likely to have on hand. Mix that with vodka for a screwdriver, with Campari for a Garibaldi, or with bubbly wine for a mimosa.
- Have some soda water on hand? You can mix that with vodka, Lillet, or Campari for a tasty drink. A squeeze of lime will bring it over the top.
See more two-ingredient cocktail ideas from VinePair.
Get cocktails to go
We must add: Make sure to do all you can to support local restaurants and bars right now, while staying safe. Most states have relaxed their regulations on liquor to allow bars to sell cocktails to go. So pick an evening when you want to treat yourself, pick up a cocktail you can’t quite get right at home, and be sure to tip well.
After all, we all want our favorite neighborhood hangouts to be there when this pandemic is behind us. We’ll have plenty of reason to get out and celebrate.
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Journalist and author Danielle Nadler grew up in South Dakota, where a patient writing teacher fostered in her a love for stories told well. She's worked for newspapers in the Midwest, on the West Coast and the East Coast, and recently launched a storytelling company called Tales and Ales.