Repeal Day, the Other December Holiday

Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke

Weekly insight into the world of drinks with Paul Clarke from the Cocktail Chronicles and Imbibe magazine.

20081203repealday.jpgWhile everyone else is getting ready for Christmas, Hannukah and the whole winter holiday experience, those who enjoy a good drink are gearing up for their own celebration: Repeal Day, December 5.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the repeal of the 18th amendment and the end of Prohibition. Until recently this was merely a minor historical footnote, but over the past few years, thanks in large part to bartender & blogger Jeffrey Morgenthaler, the anniversary has gained greater significance, as bars, bloggers and spirits brands commemorate the end of 13 long, dry years.

In San Francisco, bars including Bourbon & Branch, Alembic and Elixir are celebrating Repeal Day by offering special Prohibition-themed cocktail menus; a full roundup of area events is listed on Erik Ellestad's blog, Underhill Lounge. In New Orleans, bars and restaurants such as the Napoleon House, Tujaques and Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop are participating in Repeal Day events sponsored by Dewar's. In Chicago, bars including the Clark Street Ale House and In Fine Spirits will be hosting special events (more places and events are listed at 312 Dining Diva), and in Boston, Lauren Clark from Drink Boston informs us that Eastern Standard is planning a major blowout dinner, drinks and dance event that starts on Thursday night and continues to an early morning breakfast on Friday.

Of course, you don't have to go to one of these places to celebrate the passage of the 21st amendment; as Morgenthaler notes at, "Simply celebrate the day by stopping by your local bar, tavern, saloon, winery, distillery, or brewhouse and having a drink. Pick up a six-pack on your way home from work. Split a bottle of wine with a loved one. Buy a shot for a stranger. Just do it because you can."