Eighty years ago today, the 21st amendment to the Constitution ended 13 years of Prohibition and, as the song goes, happy days were here again. Several years ago, Jeffrey Morganthaler, the influential Portland mixologist, suggested in a blog post that we should all raise a glass on Dec. 5 to properly toast the reason we can drink in public without fear of jail time.
And I’m doing just that as one half of the team putting on Repeal Day Santa Barbara for the third year in a row. We took Mr. Morganthaler’s idea and started a little bar tour that this year has expanded to eight of downtown’s favorite drinking establishments. The fun begins at 5 p.m. today at participating bars including Roy, Marquee, Milk & Honey, Cielito, Cadiz, Pickle Room, Blue Agave and Wildcat Lounge. Each bar will offer specialty cocktails and more. Dressing up in Roaring ’20s attire is encouraged. For more details, go to http://repealdaysb.com.
But what of the cocktails back then? Whiskey and gin were in back in those days, vodka had yet to become popular, and tequila was so new, bootleggers called it “Mexican whiskey” (which in a way it is).
Legend has it that Al Capone’s favorite drink was called the Southside and the good news is that Roy’s bartender, Brenda Hall, has added it to the menu this month after some pre-Repeal Day research. Think of it as a classic gimlet with added mint. It’s a nice, chilly and refreshing drink with that balance of sweet and sour. Yes, Capone was a blood-thirsty gangster, but he had good taste!
5 sprigs mint
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce lime juice
2 ounces g in (preferably Beefeater)
Muddle mint, syrup and lime juice i n shaker, add ice and gin, shake well and strain into cocktail glass.
Yield: 1 drink
7 W. Carrillo St.
966-5636 or www.restaurantroy.com