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Nothing recalls the Jazz Age like a good cocktail.

Twentieth Century – Corpse reviver, but not. Sub crème de cacao for orange
The Scofflaw – Whiskey, vermouth, and great story
Mary Pickford – Rum and Pineapple juice = Tropical and refreshing…Art Deco Cuba
The Sidecar – Brandy/Cognac sour – Art Deco Standard

Twentieth Century Cocktail

A forgotten gem of the Art Deco era, The Twentieth century is a cocktail created in 1937 by a British bartender named C.A. Tuck, and named in honor of the celebrated 20th Century Limited train which ran between New York City and Chicago from 1902 until 1967. The 20th Century Line was known for its elegant travel accommodations and opulent dining experience. This cocktail is a fitting match for the luxurious rail travel by which it was inspired.

First published in 1937 in the Café Royal Cocktail Book by William J Tarling, President of the United Kingdom Bartenders’ Guild and head bartender at the Café Royal.

While you may not think that gin, chocolate, and lemon work well together, this recipe offers a pleasant surprise. The mix of gin and crème de cacao is startling and the lemon acts as a foil to the sweet liqueur. Follow it all with the elegance of Lillet Blanc it all comes together to create a sour drink transporting us back in time.

During its 65-year run from 1902 to 1967, the train carried who’s who of celebrities and tycoons, from Bob Hope and Bette Davis to the Wrigleys and Fields. Today’s “red carpet treatment” phrase was probably cemented into pop culture because guests walked a ruby red carpet when boarding in New York.

An iconic symbol of status, the Twentieth Century Limited train was featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 movie, North by Northwest, starring Carey Grant, who played ad executive Roger Thornhill. Think of the film like the original Mad Men.

But the cocktail was not created on the train itself. So, how did it get its name? The train was so remarkable, it lent inspiration across the pond as well. The drink was created and named by an English barkeep named C.A. Tuck, who ran the bar at London’s chic Café Royal.

Opening brightly with a zing of citrusy lemon, follows suavely with subtle  chocolate hints and fabulously expressive botanical notes.

Original
2/5 Gin
1/5 Crème de Cacao
1/5 Lillet Blanc
1/5 Lemon Juice

Modern riff
1.5 ounce London Dry Gin
1 oz Crème de cacao
1 oz Lillet Blanc
1/6 oz lemon juice

Riff 2
1.5 oz gin
.5 oz white crème de cacao
.5 oz Lillet Blanc
.25 oz lemon juice

Lillet blanc softens the gin, while the creme de cacao adds a touch of sweetness that’s balanced by the lemon juice. And when you break down the recipe, just a riff on the Corpse Reviver No. 2 with the creme de cacao taking the place of the orange liqueur


The Scofflaw Cocktail

A drink to thumb our noses at the Volstead Act that put the Dark Ages of drinking in place.

A Little History

The temperance movement was running strong at the time.  That meant the infamous 18th Amendment creating Prohibition was ratified by the states in a single month.  With that out of the way the forces of evil had one remaining step: the creation of a law to enforce the amendment.  The Volstead Act was the result.  Woodrow Wilson wisely vetoed it, but Congress overrode his veto within two days.  Just goes to show you that now isn’t the only time Congress has been full of nutcases.

Many people, of course, wanted nothing to do with this Prohibition business and took matters into their own hands.  The Volstead Act permitted a doctor could prescribe booze for a patient.  This was a good deal for the doctors and the pharmacies that filled the prescriptions.  During the first year of Prohibition, even before they caught on its potential, doctors prescribed roughly eight million gallons of alcohol.

The Volstead Act also allowed anyone to make 200 gallons of “non-intoxicating cider and fruit juice each year at home.”  Intoxicating was defined as 0.5% alcohol, but the Internal Revenue Service struck that down.  A company called Fruit Industries Ltd. stepped in and produced a useful grape concentrate brick they called Vine-Glo.  The package included a warning: “After dissolving the brick in a gallon of water, do not place the liquid in a jug away in the cupboard for twenty days, because then it would turn into wine.” 

THE SCOFFLAW COCKTAIL

In honor of thinly-disguised civil disobedience. 

The prohibitionists weren’t happy with the disobedience everyone knew was going on.  In 1926 a Boston banker named Delcevare King sponsored a contest to come up with an epithet to shame drinkers.  The contest got a lot of attention and 25,000 entries were submitted.  The winner was “scofflaw,” a nice compound word combining ‘scoff’ and ‘law.’

Sure enough, bartenders promptly thumbed their noses at the abolitionists and the Scofflaw Cocktail was invented.  Harry’s New York Bar in Paris is usually cited as its birthplace, but there is some evidence it might have been created a few blocks away at Maxim’s.  The version printed in the Savoy Cocktail book calls for equal parts whiskey and dry vermouth along with half measures of Grenadine and lemon juice.  This cocktail has vague hints of a cross between a Dry Manhattan  and a Whiskey Sour.

History

Whether invented at Harry’s New York Bar or Maxim’s, the Scofflaw was a direct Bronx cheer toward the invention of the word “scofflaw” in an attempt to shame Prohibition-era drinkers in the U.S. Bearing a vague resemblance to both a Dry Manhattan and a Whiskey Sour, it’s tasty and quick to mix up.

RECIPE

  • 1½ oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz Dry vermouth
  • ¾ oz Fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz Grenadine
  • 1 dash Orange bitters
  • Garnish: lemon twist

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add rye, vermouth, lemon juice and Grenadine to your trusty cocktail shaker.
  1. Add ice and shake until frosty cold.
  2. Strain into pre-chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Express twist over drink and garnish.
  4. Drink.
  5. Be glad Prohibition didn’t last.

Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford was a 1920s movie star. She featured in silent movies alongside Charlie Chaplin when rum was one of the most popular commodities. Mary Pickford was a monumental figure at the beginning of the Hollywood scene. The petite blonde star of silent movies was known around the world as “Little Mary” because she often played the roles of little girls and boys well into her 30’s. She was instrumental in forming the United Artists Studio and won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in 1928’s “Coquette.”

The cocktail was born from a visit to Havana with Chaplin and her husband. A bartender served them the drink and decided to name it after her.

The drink’s creation is credited to Eddie Woelke, who also devised El Presidente cocktail, and was one of the many bartenders who fled to Cuba during Prohibition in the U.S. It’s a very simple drink that sweetens a mix of light rum and pineapple juice with grenadine. The beautiful pale pink color and delightful tropical flavor make it ideal for summer entertaining.

RECIPE

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish

The SideCar

Directly named for the motorcycle attachment, The Ritz Hotel in Paris claims origin of the drink. The first recipes for the Sidecar appear in 1922.

  • 2 oz Brandy/Cognac
  • 3/4 oz Lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Triple sec

Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.


Three Limit Cocktail

William McCoy was born in Syracuse, New York, on August 17, 1877.  Around 1900 the family moved to a small Florida town just north of Daytona Beach, where William and his brother Ben operated a motor boat service and boat yard, where he earned a reputation as a skilled yacht builder.

The McCoy brothers fell on hard times during Prohibition.  Their boat excursion and freight business would not compete with the new highways and buses being built.  Ever enterprising, they decided to smuggle booze.  They sold what was left of their business and bought a schooner, the Henry L. Marshall.

They made several successful trips smuggling whiskey from the Bahamas to the east coast, mostly “Rum Row” off New Jersey.  That let them buy a larger boat they named Tomaka.  Being successful, they became enemies of the U.S. Government as well as organized crime.  Two reasons:  they anchored their boat in international waters, selling to small boats that ran the booze to shore, and they didn’t pay any protection money.

He also made a reputation for honest dealings, and only selling high quality unadulterated whiskey. The phrase “The Real McCoy” pre-dates his rum running days, but he was happy to embrace the sobriquet.

William McCoy also took particular pride in never paying organized crime, politicians or law enforcement for protection.  He considered John Hancock of pre-revolutionary times his role model and called himself an “honest criminal.”  But the government didn’t have much of a sense of humor, and in 1923 the Coast Guard was ordered to capture him even if in international waters.  They eventually got him, and he spent nine months in jail, only to return to Florida and invest his booze money in real estate.

The Three- Mile Limit Cocktail

In the midst of Prohibition a variety of cocktails, like the Scofflaw, were invented to figuratively thumb the nose at authority.  One such cocktail was the Three Mile Limit, the original width of territorial waters. 

Ted Haigh, in his book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, quotes a 1934 newspaper article on Tommy Millard, who is credited with authoring the drink.

The Three Mile Limit cocktail is an oft forgotten Prohibition-era drink that’s. Small amounts of Rye whiskey and Brandy add complexity and dryness, while grenadine and lemon juice balance things out.

A classic cocktail from the time of Prohibition the Three Mile cocktail denotes the demarcation of international waters where booze was, generally, safe to have.

RECIPE

  • 1 oz White rum
  • ½ oz Brandy or Cognac
  • ½ oz Rye Whiskey
  • ½ oz Grenadine
  • ½ oz Fresh lemon juice
  • Garnish: Lemon twist

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to your trusty mixing glass.
  1. Add ice and shake to chill.
  2. Strain into pre-chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Express lemon twist over drink and garnish.
  4. Drink.

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Upcoming Events

23
Jun, 2024

Cocktails of the Deco Era: A Taste of Prohibition

Chandler June 23, 2024 15:00
Indulge in Art Deco’s liquid legacy with this cocktail-tasting experience. Enter a different time when skirts were shorter, jazz was hotter, the cocktails were stronger…and there were ostriches.  That’s right.…
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$50

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