In 1919, the cocktail world (and indeed, the alcohol world) was thrown for a loop. The passage of the National Prohibition Act (aka the Volstead Act) resulted in the 18th Amendment: "After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited." At midnight on January 17th, 1920, alcohol, it seemed, was off-limits, driven by a variety of factors--increasingly vocal temperance movements, desires for social reforms, and economic concerns in the post-war age among them.
The result, of course, were not what anyone expected: Alcohol consumption went underground, Jazz Age venues became speakeasies, crime (especially bootlegging) rose, and American bartenders went abroad to continue their trade. Despite the ban, 1920-1933 was marked by a range of cocktail publications and artifacts, the evolution of the "mixed drink" (fruit juices, sodas, and other mixers were added to cocktails to cover the taste of wood alcohol and bathtub gin), and a whole generation of seemingly "sick" Americans (a medical exception to Prohibition was passed in 1921, leaving patent medicines and bitters--often 40% alcohol--legal to buy). However, change was on the horizon...
From Knox Gelatine: Desserts, Salads, Candies and Frozen Dishes, c.1936
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