Cassidy on May 10, 2013 0 Comments Today marks the opening of Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” in theaters. If you’re thinking this film has already received too much publicity, we’ll kindly disagree. Based on the trailer and soundtrack (we’ve been listening to it on repeat!),the costumes, directing, music, and acting are all exquisite—after all, who can say no to Leo? Set in the 1920’s, during America’s “Golden Age,” excess abounds and, despite laws against it, alcohol is of no exception. Thinking of a time when buying wine was illegal causes a chill to run up my spine. I can only imagine how America’s wine growers felt. Wine Industry Loopholes Seeing as the Volstead Act and our 18th Amendment did not, in fact, make it illegal to drink alcohol — only to manufacture, transport and distribute — many people stockpiled their booze before the bans were in effect. While the 18th Amendment banned manufacturing alcohol and sales of “intoxicating liquors”, the Volstead Act shut down every bar and saloon in the US. This took the trade underground, where speakeasies and bootleggers emerged. In fact, there are rumors that the Yale Club of NYC had 14 years of alcohol supply stored in their basement. You could kiss your whiskey goodbye, but wine was given a little more leeway. With the Volstead Act, wines purchased for sacramental usage, religious ceremonies and Catholic mass were exempt, resulting in some 800,000 gallon increase in demand for sacramental wine. However, this act still kept wine making in wineries or homes under moderation, and the sale of wine made in vineyards was only for governmentally-monitored warehouses. Even though the consumption of wine increased by 100 percent, many wineries were forced to shut down production since every vineyard could not sell the government-regulated sacramental wine. Because the harvesting permitted was only for grapes serving non-alcoholic purposes such as raisins, grape juice and jam, those that did survive ended up creating terrible tasting wines. Wine lost its sophisticated reputation and succumbed to the basements of producers with little knowledge of wine making. With so many vineyards shutdown and converting to other grape production, it took years after prohibition for the wine industry to come back. Lucky for us, it survived and we live in a time where the industry is flourishing. Get Your Drink On – Gatsby Style Just because alcohol is legal now doesn’t mean that the thought of going to a speakeasy isn’t still alluring. Bars in all major cities attempt to recreate the enticement, secrecy and glamour of the 1920’s speakeasy. New York City’s PDT, standing for Please Don’t Tell, is the closest I’ve felt to the decade, mostly because of their secret entrance disguised as a phone booth. That’s all I can say and perhaps I’ve said too much. Get in on the action no matter where you live by creating your own speakeasy-themed party. Play the perfect music and serve these bootleg-worthy drinks and you and your guests will be transported back to the Roaring Twenties in no time. We recommend giving The Great Gatsby soundtrack a listen, which is full of 1920’s jazz-inspired music infused with modern lyrics and beats. </code><code><a href="http://open.spotify.com/album/0ke0VwcET1D6neauEyk4U4">Various Artists – Music From Baz Luhrmann's Film The Great Gatsby</a> We recommend serving a Champagne Punch to add an element of gold and glamour to the party, as well as your glasses. Champagne Punch 1 cup water 2 tablespoons orange Curacao 2 cups sugar 2 lemons (juiced) 1 quart California champagne 2 cups tea infusion 4 tablespoons brandy Ice 2 tablespoons Medford rum 1 quart soda water Make a syrup by boiling water and sugar for ten minutes. Mix champagne, brandy, rum, Curacao, lemon juice, and tea infusion. Sweeten to taste with syrup and pour into a punch-bowl over a large piece of ice. Just before serving, add soda water. Or try this Planter’s Punch that’ll take you back to when “rum-running” was quite literal. Rum became very popular in drinks as it was smuggled in by truck or boat from Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Planter’s Punch 2oz dark rum ¼ oz Grenadine Equal parts sour mix and pineapple or orange juice Splash of Club Soda Shake and pour. Garnish with Maraschino cherry and orange twist. However you decide to commemorate the Roaring Twenties, I’m sure it’ll be the cat’s pajamas. Cheers!