Happy Repeal Day!

Happy Repeal Day, folks!

That’s right, 78 years ago Prohibition officially ended, and booze flowed freely again in the U.S. Of course, it hadn’t particularly stopped flowing during America’s “Noble Experiment,” and in some cases consumption actually increased, but hey, it was back to being legal. Well — and here’s one more caveat — it was legal in the sense that no Federal laws prohibited alcohol…it was mainly left to the states to decide on whether or not to enforce continued Prohibition (according to our friend Wikipedia, the last state prohibition laws weren’t eliminated until 1966).

In any case, Repeal Day gives us an excuse to celebrate and have a drink. Drop by your local bar or tavern and celebrate with friends, or — if you have a basement supply like I do — mix up a drink and raise a toast to the 21st Amendment. I figured Jamie Boudreau’s take on the Old-Fashioned was a suitable way to toast the old with the new:

Cubed Old-Fashioned

1 ounce Bourbon or Rye (High West Bourye)
1 ounce Dark Rum (El Dorado 15-year)
1 ounce Cognac (Rémy Martin V.S.O.P.)
1 ounce Old-Fashioned Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters
2 Dashes Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass or a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange zest and a cherry.

Old-Fashioned Syrup

225 mL Turbinado or Demerara Sugar
100 mL Bourbon (Maker’s Mark or Maker’s 46)
50 mL Angostura Bitters
50 mL Filtered Water [Ian’s Addition]

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool, then bottle. Keeps for a month.

This cocktail is incredibly rich and boozy, perfect for December. Take advantage of the opportunity to play around with your dark, aged spirits in the Cubed OF: remember, quality spirits go in, a quality drink comes out. The demerara rum I’m using here and quite a bit of depth and molasses to the mix, the bitters holding it and the sugar in check. I do like Jamie’s later version with Mount Gay Extra Old — it emphasizes the bourbon and cognac a bit more — but as he recommends in his original post, try it out with a number of different spirits and sweeteners (he used Appleton V/X and Rittenhouse Rye in the original). I tend to go heavy on the chocolate bitters, as well, adding another dash or two.

Need something to watch while sipping your Repeal Day-potable? Ken Burns provides all the info you’ll ever need on our Dry period in Prohibition. Hopefully the local public broadcasting stations are airing it today! It’s a great documentary, if you haven’t seen it already.

Photo by IJL.

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