1920s Cocktails, Recipes | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures 1920s Cocktails, Recipes | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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RECIPES: 1920s Cocktails, Part 2

The tall, cool Southside cocktail. Photo
courtesy Tanqueray Gin.
  Yesterday we presented three of the most popular cocktails of the 1920s, including the Gin Rickey, the French 75 and the Martini. Prohibition was in effect from 1920 through 1933, so Jazz Age cocktails were made with bootleg liquor.

While President Woodrow Wilson vetoed the National Prohibition Act (informally known as the Volstead Act), his veto was overridden by the House and the Senate.

Prohibition became law on October 28, 1919, as the 18th amendment to the United States Constitution.

The amendment prohibited the production, sale and transport of “intoxicating liquors,” although it did not define what “intoxicating liquors” might be.

Prohibition became effective at midnight on January 17, 1920.

Rather than turn America into a more decent society, it engendered disrespect for the law and the rapid growth of organized crime. By 1933, public opposition to Prohibition had become overwhelming.

In February 1933, a proposed constitutional amendment to repeal Prohibition was introduced. In December, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th Amendment and restored control of alcohol to the individual states. Today, there are no completely dry states in the country, although there are some dry counties.

Why did Prohibition become law in the first place? In the first two decades of the 20th century, America was a church-going, God-fearing culture. The Temperance Movement was instrumental in generating negative feelings about alcohol. By 1916, legal prohibition was already in effect in 26 of the 48 states.

The history lesson is over; how about some cocktails?



The Southside was the signature cocktail at New York’s legendary 21 Club, a former speakeasy. It’s also said to have been the favorite drink of notorious Prohibition-era bootlegger Al Capone and his gang, whose home turf was the south side of Chicago.

Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1.25 ounces gin
  • .5 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • Crushed ice
  • Soda water

    1. MUDDLE one mint sprig with lime and simple syrup. Add gin and shake well.

    2. POUR into a collins glass over crushed ice and stir until the outside of the glass frosts. Top with soda and garnish with sprig of mint.


    The White Lady cocktail—probably not a favorite among gentlemen. Photo courtesy Tanqueray Gin.

    Introduced in the late 1920s, the White Lady was a variation of a gin cocktail called the Delilah, which used crème de menthe. The Savoy hotel’s barman, Harry Craddock, replaced the mint with orange liqueur and the White Lady became an instant classic. (The Savoy hotel is in London; there was no prohibition in the U.K.)


  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • .75 ounce orange liqueur
  • .75 ounce fresh lemon juice

    Pour all of the ingredients into a shaker, fill with ice, shake and strain into a chilled coupe glass.



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