Repeal of Prohibition, age 74

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On this day, December 5, in 1933, they partied like it was 1999.

Prince wasn’t even born, tech stocks hadn’t been invented, and the dreaded Y2K bug hadn’t yet terrorized the land. No, 74 years ago today, wine, beer and spirits flowed freely for the first time in fourteen years as the ratification of the 21st Amendment ended Prohibition. Can you imagine–fourteen years of a (legally) dry country? [shudder]

You can read more about how this complicated period affected the story of American wine in my forthcoming book, Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink.

Until then, let’s raise a glass in honor of having the ability to do so–providing you’re over 21, of course.

By complete coincidence, one friend wrote me yesterday saying that he had just enjoyed a bottle of 1933 Justino Malmsey Madeira (find this wine), saying it was “really, really good…still had enough acidity for another 74 yrs.” Now that’s toasting in style.

After the jump, find a list of bars in NYC that are celebrating Repeal tonight. In the comments, post bars in your city that you know of or any plans you have for tonight.

Unfortunately NYC wine bars aren’t feeling particularly nostalgic. But if you are, here’s a list of other bars from NYmag.

Beauty Bar
Botanica
d.b.a.
Puck Fair
Crocodile Lounge
Doc Watson’s
Bua
Old Town Bar
Tom & Jerry’s
Spike Hill
Black Betty
Savalas
Conker Hill

Image: #LC-USZ62-12142 from the Library of Congress.

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One Response to “Repeal of Prohibition, age 74”


  1. Don’t know why or how Inglenook had a 1933 Cabernet when Prohibition was repealed in December. Maybe the wine was destined for the altar? In 11/90 the wine was excellent. Smelled of cabernet, but not of Rutherford. The industry had better corks in the ’30s and ’40s. An Inglenook of my birth year was dry except for roughly an 1/8 inch on 7/26/09. I drill holes in the ’60s and ’70s wet corks. Even some of the ’80s corks are deteriorated. A shame for CA. Even petit chateau from Bordeaux use better quality corks.


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