“What America needs now is a drink,” declared Franklin D. Roosevelt after Prohibition was beautifully and blessedly repealed. And that’s how and why we now celebrate Repeal Day. OK, actually we didn’t really start honoring this day until Jeffrey Morgenthaler, respected Portland barman and author of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique, reminded us back in 2006 that we should. After all, out of all the alcholidays, it is the only one that offers a legit reason to celebrate with booze.
St. Patrick’s Day is a national feast day in Ireland, Cinco de Mayo a Mexican holiday that celebrates a battle victory. Repeal Day? That’s when after 13 dry years America was finally allowed to drink again. So yes, we should celebrate. Besides, those other holidays have “been so co-opted by beer and liquor companies that they hardly mean anything anymore,” says Morgenthaler. “I think Repeal Day is a great excuse to get together with a friend and have a drink, and just celebrate the fact that we can!”
But he doesn’t want to specify which cocktail is the best with which to toast the occasion “for fear that it will become branded one day. Have a beer. Have a glass of wine. Anything at all you want. Because, thanks to the 21st amendment, you can!”
However, if you are looking for suggestions on how to toast the happy souls back in 1933 who were finally allowed to drink again, here’s what L.A. bars are doing for Repeal Day this Friday.
You can’t beat 1933 Group’s annual $1 Repeal Day cocktails which are available at every one of its locations. Most of its bars, from Harlowe to Thirsty Crow, will offer $1 Old Fashioneds while La Cuevita has a jalapeno-infused Tequila Press and Bigfoot West has both a Dickel Old Fashioned and Kapple Pie cocktail (Kappa pisco, apple juice, mulled spiced simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice). Dollar drinks are limited to two per person and will be available only from 5 to 7 p.m.
Beelman’s Pub will serve up bathtub gin, well, bathtub gin punch out of a “giant bathtub punch bowl” as well as barrel-aged Brookyn cocktails, both for $7 all day.
At precisely 12:05 p.m. Big Bar will crack open its newest barrel-aged cocktail, The Repeal Reserve ($10) made with barrel-aged Twelve Five rye, Snap liqueur, Pedro Ximenez sherry, and Angostura. Bartender Eugene Lee describes the cocktail as possessing “lots of great fall spice tone from the Snap, and the Pedro Ximenez adds of soft nuttiness. A fall Old Fashioned!”
Brilliantshine in Santa Monica is doing five classic cocktails like an Aviation for only $5 from 5 to 10 p.m. Since this is Julian Cox and Josh Goldman’s place, you can rest assured that these cheap drinks will be well made.
Ebanos Crossing is running an extensive happy hour from 4 to 8 p.m. with $1 tacos and $5 Old Fashioneds, sponsored by Evan Williams. And you’ll be drinking for a good cause as a portion of the proceeds will go to Inspire Artistic Minds to help give scholarships to bartenders as well as provide them with educational experiences.
At Faith & Flower, Esquire‘s pick for the best new restaurant of 2014, bartender Michael Lay will be serving up classic cocktails–Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Negronis, Whiskey Sours and French 75s–chilled with fancypants hand-cut ice for only $5.
At the newly opened Lost Property in Hollywood featured cocktails made with either Jameson or Red Breast Irish whiskey are just $5. If you show up sans ’30s attire, just look on the walls among the “lost” items for a flat cap, flapper hat or party jewelry that suits your style and claim it. Although the bar will be open til 2 a.m. the drink specials will run until 10 p.m.
Of course Melrose Umbrella Company, the bar whose theme is post-Prohibition is doing something for the special day. We’re talking super-cheap drinks on offer, courtesy of Old Forrester: your first Old Fashioned will be only 5 cents and $5 all day starting at noon!
All this week Next Door Lounge is celebrating “Prohibition Days,” with a different special each night til Friday. You can score $1 soup and baguette as well as $1 barrel-aged moonshine during “Happier Hours” from 5 to 8 p.m. And it debuted its new barrel-aged rum cocktail, Illegal Smile with Dos Maderas Rum 8 years, G.E. Massenez Crème de Peche, Girolamo Luzardo Liqueur, and passion fruit. For Friday, however, order up a (new) Old Time Burger and Old Fashioned cocktail pairing for $15.
In Marina del Rey, take in a marina view while sipping on $6 old-time gin favorites at Cafe del Rey:
- Monkey Gland–gin, orange juice, grenadine, and absinthe
- Blackberry Bramble–gin, lemon juice, Chambord, simple syrup, club soda, lemon wedge, blackberries
- Ramos Gin Fizz–gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, lime juice, egg white, heavy cream, orange flower water, club soda
Del Monte Speakeasy is throwing its 3rd annual party featuring punch bowls and cocktails, a ragtime jazz quartet, and “Prohibition Fare” pig roast by Venice Beach Wines. Admission is $25, all inclusive.
Angel City Brewery will transform its beer hall into a speakeasy with Prohibition-era live music, beer cocktails, and KTCHN DTLA dishes inspired by the ‘20s and ‘30s. Naturally, all attendees are required to dress as gangsters and flappers. Beers on tap include Angel City’s Dark Rye Lager, For the Sake of Ale, and Pomegranate Saison. Admission is free, you just gotta pay for the food and drinks.
Every night at Pour Vous is a party but this time guests will be transported to the post-Prohibition era. The dress code, aerial/burlesque show and even the DJ will be thrown back to the Anything Goes ’20s/’30s era. The classic cocktails–rye Sazerac, Old Fashioned, Gin Rickey, Death in the Afternoon–will be $10.