C is for Cocktail Guest Post: Prohibition Cocktail Recipes by Dan McCarthy

Seems I’m not the only one who enjoys Prohibition cocktails! 🙂 Freelance writer Dan McCarthy has been known to knock back a drink or two–and today he’s going to share his awesome cocktail knowledge with all of you! He’s been reading my cocktail articles, and he was kind enough to offer to write a guest post. Not only does he have a ton of fun facts and great information about Prohibition drinking, but he has a really cool infographic with a bunch of 1920s drink recipes! So, without further ado…take it away, Dan! 🙂

Toasting the cocktails with cocktails. How meta! ;)



That time in America’s history where all the fun went out of the party!


Did you know that the Prohibition reforms were driven by rural Protestants, along with social Progressives in both the Republican and Democratic parties? These crusaders believed that alcohol contributed to “sin and vice”, so the “moral, upstanding man or woman” should abstain.

To this end, the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed, prohibiting the production, distribution, and sale of most alcoholic beverages.

Note: “Most” alcoholic beverages were forbidden – wine was still permitted in religious ceremonies.

Interestingly enough, the federal laws said nothing about private ownership and consumption of alcohol. It’s believed that the U.S. Presidents of the Prohibition Era (along with Congressmen and Senators) had some of the largest alcohol collections at the time.

In many parts of the country, the local Prohibition laws were very strict, and some U.S. States banned possession of any and all alcohol. What were the people to do to get the drink they wanted? Drink in secret, of course!

Thus began the tradition of the speakeasy, the Prohibition-Era liquor establishment that became so famous – and is still famous to this day!

Speakeasies found a clever way around the Prohibition laws. They charged their clients a fee to enter the establishment and enjoy some spectacle, such as looking at exhibitions of unusual exotic animals (usually pigs). Of course, while the client enjoyed the spectacle, they were given a “complimentary” alcoholic beverage.

These establishments soon cropped up all around the United States. When they were shut down by local law enforcement, they simply found a new venue and a new way to “circumvent” the laws. New York was a hub for speakeasies, it is from these secret drinking establishments that some of the greatest cocktails have been born.

Here are a few of the best Prohibition-Era cocktails:

  • Whiskey sour – Whiskey was one of the easiest liquors to manufacture on the sly, thus it became one of the primary ingredients in Prohibition cocktail recipes.
  • Gin Rickey – Yet another easily available (highly smuggled) alcohol, gin made an easy addition to Prohibition cocktails. Lemons, limes, and mineral water were also incredibly simple ingredients to purchase and store for cocktails.
  • Sidecar – For those with a more refined palate and a large liquor cabinet (legal or otherwise), the Sidecar (a blend of Triple Sec, Cognac, and lemon) proved to be the “Model T Ford” of the era!
  • Mint Julep – This cocktail was incredibly popular in the South, thanks to both its refreshing taste and its strong alcohol (bourbon). The Southern States always had more illegal alcohol, as law enforcement had a tough time patrolling the rough terrain of Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and Georgia.

These cocktails were created during a time when alcohol was illegal, but they remain a popular choice to this day!

Image is courtesy of Courtesy of City Nights Disco

Image is courtesy of Courtesy of City Nights Disco


This is a guest post by Dan McCarthy, a freelance writer who loves to share his creative ideas. When he is not working he likes to travel and try new cocktail recipes.


About lupachi1927

My name's Megan, and I'm a writer with an interest in history. While I might not be a real historian, I'm a very thorough researcher. This blog is my place to post about all the interesting historical tidbits I find that can't use in the novel I'm working on, which takes place in Chicago in 1927. If you're looking for research help, writing feedback, or just want to say hi, feel free to drop me a line! :)
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4 Responses to C is for Cocktail Guest Post: Prohibition Cocktail Recipes by Dan McCarthy

  1. jazzfeathers says:

    Loved the article. And the infographic is absolutely goargeus!!!


  2. Pingback: Did You Know? Guest Post Guidelines Are Now Available | A Smile And A Gun

  3. Love you blog, I’ve started a blog creating a list of all cocktails and how to make them, it’s work in progress at the moment but the list is expanding

    The blog is


    Liked by 1 person

    • lupachi1927 says:

      Aw thanks! 🙂 Your blog looks lovely so far, and your photos are gorgeous! Are you going to be focusing mostly on modern cocktails, or are you planning to include more obscure ones? If you’d like, I’d be happy to send you some links to some older online cocktail guides. Feel free to drop me a line. 🙂


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