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Prohibition Era Cocktail Recipes

Get out that cocktail shaker, and mix yourself a Prohibition style drink. Or try our suggestion, and serve up the Ken Burns Effect. It’s the Cat’s Meow.

July 25, 2011

Ken Burns Effect

This drink is based on the cocktail the "French 75", but has been updated in honor of Ken Burns. If added correctly, this drink will create a two tone black and white style beverage.


  • 1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Chambord
  • champagne


Shake with cracked ice and strain into hardball chilled glass of cracked ice and top with chilled champagne.

If added correctly, this drink will separate from the other liquor at first, creating a two tone, or black and white style beverage. This drink is based on the cocktail the "French 75", but has been updated in honor of Ken Burns.

The Luigi

The Luigi was a popular 1920s cocktail that offered a sweeter alternative to a Martini.


  • 6 tsp gin
  • 6 tsp dry vermouth
  • 1 tsp grenadine
  • dash of Cointreau
  • juice of 1/2 orange or tangerine
  • orange peel


Shake in cocktail shaker with ice and strain into glass adding peel.

Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford was a silent-film star known for her golden curls and was one of the first big Hollywood celebrities. She and her husband Douglas Fairbanks were considered movie royalty and their legacy lasts to this day—they were the biggest investors in the Roosevelt Hotel, one of the Hollywood Boulevard landmarks. The Cuban cocktail named for Mary is one of the first “exotic” cocktails that foreshadowed the trend of tropical cocktails that would become all the rage after Prohibition.


  • 1 1/2 oz white rum
  • 1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grenadine


Stir with cracked ice and strain into chilled glass with cherry.

The Monkey Gland

The Monkey Gland was created by Harry MacElhone, the owner of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris and is also known as the McCormick. The drink was named after the surgical procedure of grafting monkey testicle tissue to humans as a practice intended to produce a longer and healthier life. The original recipe used absinthe but due to lack of availability, pastis or Benedictine was often substituted.


  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 2 dashes grenadine
  • 2 dashes absinthe substitute (Pernod or Benedictine)
  • orange peel for garnish


Shake with ice and strain into glass adding peel.


This French cocktail became the defining cocktail of the Prohibition era. Its origins are debated: though it is believed to have been invented sometime after World War I by an American Army captain, the Ritz Hotel in Paris claims they were the first to create it.


  • 1 1/4 oz cognac
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice


Shake with cracked ice and strain into chilled sugar-rimmed glass.

Whiskey Old Fashioned

As its name suggests, the Old Fashioned is one of the oldest cocktails, dating as far back as the 1880s. It was around before, during and long after Prohibition. It is possibly the first drink to be called a cocktail, originally defined as a mixture of spirits, sugar, water and bitters. It was believed to be a way to improve the taste of liquor. The Old Fashioned later became a favorite of President Harry Truman and his wife, Bess.


  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1 tsp water
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 1/2 oz whiskey
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • thin-cut lemon peel


Muddle one sugar cube with water and and Angostura Bitters in bottom of a glass until sugar dissolves. Add whiskey (or popular straight rye, bourbon or scotch) and stir. Add ice cubes and stir then squeeze lemon peel over and drop in. Let sit for minute.

The White Lady

The White Lady is essentially a Sidecar but made with gin rather than brandy. As with many cocktails the origins are debated, though Harry MacElhone also claims to have invented this one as a tribute to Mata Hari in 1919. It was a popular drink during the Prohibition era, known for its simplicity.


  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1 1/2 oz lemon juice


Mix ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice.