On December 5th, in the spirit of Repeal Day—the repeal of the 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution—raise a glass to your federal right to drink alcohol.
In the winter of 1919, Congress passed the 18th Amendment, outlawing the production and consumption of alcohol in the United States.
The original intent was to put an end to social misconduct, crime and family crisis—since on payday, too many breadwinners would squander much of their paychecks at the saloon, leading to brawling, inability to pay for rent and food, aggression at home, etc.
Alas, instead of creating a better society, the law engendered the growth of organized crime, which was happy to bootleg, provide protection to speakeasies, and so on.
Those who wanted to party at home found a way with bootlegged spirits, bathtub gin (which could cause blindness), and other horrors.
After thirteen years of living with Prohibition, the 18th Amendment was repealed on December 5th, 1933 under the leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt*. The date has been referred to as “Repeal Day.”
So celebrate your freedom from bathtub gin with one of the…
TOP 12 GIN COCKTAILS
French 75, with champagne, lemon juice and simple syrup.
Gibson, a gin Martini with a cocktail onion replacing the olive.
Gimlet, with lime juice and simple syrup.
Gin Rickey, with lime juice and soda water.
Gin & Tonic, with tonic water.
Gin Fizz, with lemon juice, sugar and soda water.
Martini, the original made with gin, dry vermouth and an olive garnish.
Negroni, with Campari and sweet vermouth.
Pink Lady, with egg white and grenadine.
Tom Collins, with lemon juice, simple syrup and soda water.
Salty Dog, gin and grapefruit juice with a salt rim.
Singapore Sling, with benedictine, benedictine, bitters, cherry heering, Cointreau, lime juice and pineapple juice.
BATHTUB GIN: WHAT WAS IT?
Gin was the predominant spirit in the 1920s. After the Volstead Act (which led to the 18th Amendment), bathtub gin was “of necessity” created in actual bathtubs or other large containers. The alcohol to make it was either purchased from bootleggers or from legitimate medical suppliers, which sold denatured or wood alcohol.
The Gin & Tonic, photo  (courtesy Drizzle And Drip) and the Martini, photo , courtesy Petrossian, vie to be the most popular gin drink in America. We’re wild about Petrossian’s Caviartini® garnish, caviar cubes made exclusively by the company.
By mixing wood alcohol with other flavorings, such as the juniper berries that flavored real gin, and allowing the mixture to steep in a tub for hours or days, the wood alcohol became more drinkable.
Many gin cocktails were created to cover up the less-than-ideal flavor of bathtub gin.
Actual distillation requires a closed distillation apparatus; it can’t be done in an open container like a bathtub.
The process for converting wood alcohol into a drinkable form was not always reliable, resulting in batches that were poisonous, often leading to blindness and even death: About 10,000 people died from drinking bad alcohol during Prohibition.
*Not everything was rosy after the 19th Amendment was passed, repealing Prohibition. Prohibition gave way to the start of the Great Depression in the early 1930s. Constitution trivia: The 18th Amendment is the only one to be repealed; a total of 27 have been ratified. The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as The Bill Of Rights, were ratified together in 1791.