Evolution of the Cocktail

1920 to 1933 - Prohibition in the US

On January 16, 1920, the National Prohibition Act became the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution. This meant it was illegal to manufacture, sell, transport, import, or export any 'intoxicating liquors.’ Despite this, much of the general public still had ways to gain access to the illegal substance, often through speakeasies and private parties. Gangsters focused on bootlegging and moonshine, and Chicago was a centre of booze, gambling and prostitution. Al Capone was the most notorious crime boss and the power behind the illegal activities in Chicago during Prohibition. As a gangster and racketeer, Capone became one of the biggest bootleggers of all time.

The popularity of cocktails at that time was at least partly due to the need to cover up the bad taste of some of the crudely produced hooch served up by the bootleggers. Some of the cocktail recipes used today were invented in the days of Prohibition as cocktail recipes flourished in the illegal bars, parties and clubs of the major American cities.

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