by Pink Lady
Raise a glass today – because you can! On this day in 1933 the 21st Amendment was ratified in Utah, the final state needed to repeal Prohibition by a three quarters majority, restoring the American right to manufacture, sell, and transport alcohol. To learn more about Prohibition, why it became enacted in the first place in 1919 and enforced the following year, how it increased rather than deterred our nation’s desire for drink, and the ripple effects we still feel today, check out repealday.org.
As you raise a glass, you can also check out this story from the LUPEC archives on Speakeasy owner, Texas Guinan, originally printed in the Weekly Dig last December.
by Pink Lady
If there is any time to channel your inner flapper, it is this Friday: the 75th anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal. This week, the ladies of LUPEC raise a glass to those who kept the party going during those dry years, like the legendary Texas Guinan.
Texas (née Mary Louise Cecilia) Guinan got her start on Broadway and then moved to Hollywood, where she starred in silent films. She played the first movie cowgirl in her debut, The Wildcat, and enjoyed several years as Hollywood’s “Queen of the West” before returning to New York in 1922.
Soon Guinan was turning a fine profit selling illegal hooch at speakeasies like the El Fey Club, which she opened with gangster Larry Fay. She went on to open her own 300 Club, where she famously greeted guests with, “Hello, Suckers! Come on in and leave your wallet on the bar.” Booze, beautiful hostesses and chorus girls distracted clientele from the high-priced cocktails.
Guinan’s joints were frequently raided by feds, but she never owned up to selling alcohol, innocently declaring, “A man could get hurt falling off a bar stool!” Re-opening after raids, she would sometimes wear a necklace of gold padlocks to show the cops there were no hard feelings. When one club was padlocked, she simply opened a new one.
Guinan died on November 5, 1933, just a month before the end of America’s 13-year dry spell. The New York Times reported a crowd of “something like 10,000 to 12,000 persons” paid respects at her wake. We’ll pay ours by toasting the late, great Tex with one of these.
LITTLE DEVIL COCKTAIL | FROM THE SAVOY COCKTAIL BOOK
2 parts Bacardi rum
2 parts dry gin
1 part Cointreau
1 part lemon juice
Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.