One of my favorite dates in American history is Dec. 5, 1933 — the day Prohibition was repealed. Not that I personally was in attendance for the vote on the 21st Amendment, but I can imagine the tipsy aftermath and how my Irish ancestors would have celebrated the intoxicating turn of events.
The abolition of the 18th Amendment, which banned the creation, sale and transportation of anything that allowed yourself to pour a stiff one, didn’t happen overnight. But why not toast the day where everything came together for a national party featuring adult beverages?
I definitely enjoyed researching my topic, and I hope that you have a fantastic time reading about — and drinking — what I’ve found. My boozy besties, here are some of the perfect Prohibition-influenced cocktails you can sip in the area.
Fantasy Space for Happy Hour Fanatics: A dreamscape for any bar-loving-foodie, this downtown bar with boldly flavored eats, like the Crispy Lava Wings with pineapple-habanero glaze ($14), surrounds you in a botanical bounty that makes it easy to say, “OK, one more round.”
Mai Mai Mai: This Mai Tai is poured into a glass nestled in a toy hippo's mouth and called the Hip-Hop Anonymous ($42). The description on the menu? “Will make you crawl out of the jungle to serve you and your friends topped with passion foam." That sounds like a fun deal to me.
Staple Sarasota Spot: Serving Sarasotans for over 38 years, this café brings European living to St. Armands Circle. Hang out at the bar and choose from 16 plates including my personal pick, costa brava ceviche ($16) with cobia, tropical fruit and more to scoop up with coconut glazed chips.
Like One of Your French Girls: The French '73 ($14), not as most would know as the 75, is named in honor of the year in which the restaurant and bar opened. Ketel One Botanical vodka, Champagne and St. Germain come together in a pretty pour for you to appreciate.
Speak-easy Secret is Out: This speak-easy-style hideaway, located in the back of a supreme selection of spirits, is one of Sarasota’s best kept secrets. It offers a plethora of events, such as dining pop-ups, classes and dinners. Follow them on Facebook, and you'll be amazed at what you are missing out on.
This Won’t Be Your Last: Crafted with equal parts gin, maraschino, green chartreuse and lime, the infamous Prohibition-era cocktail Last Word ($15) was first seen in Detroit in the 1920s. It is now being served up here in Sarasota at the Dive and it is as beautiful as it is tasty.
I'll Take One of Everything Sir: Every single time we have visitors, this is the first boozy stop on our must-see-and-sip tour. While the vanilla lavender crème brûlée is beautiful, I can’t skip over the “Grown Ass Kids” section featuring boozy cereal bowls, including my favorite Frosted Flakes with white chocolate and espresso liqueurs.
Sippin’ on Sazerac: Made with Earl Grey-infused bourbon, absinthe rinse, demerara syrup, orange bitters and topped off with a maple syrup cube, this Prohibition-inspired cocktail goes down more quickly than I’d like to share. The Sir Sazerac ($12.75) is sweet, stiff and smooth.
Happenin' Happy Hour: You won’t want to miss this happy hour, daily from 3-6:30 p.m. over at UTC. Enjoy $5 house wines, $5 cocktails and $8 bar bites like the magnificent mini arepas prepared with pulled chicken in adobo, shaved cabbage, red onion, cilantro lime tartar and queso fresco.
Mesmerized by Manhattan: The Upper East Sider ($12) is prepared with Bulleit rye, Amaro Averna and black walnut bitters. It's topped with a cherry and orange twist, making you feel just like a real-life Rockefeller.
Local Love in Hillview: Serving up a fantastic happy hour and delicious dinner, Veronica’s gives an essence of the past with an updated take. Don’t leave without getting the roasted gulf oysters with chorizo stuffing and saffron aioli ($26).
Straight Up: This modern oyster bar in Southside Village makes a mean martini. I asked a connoisseur of the craft cocktail, my boss, for the best in town and she named this speak-easy-feeling spot as the one.
New Kid on the Block: Newly added to Lakewood Ranch’s Waterside Place, this Italian restaurant with full bar crafts cocktails that bring you back in time. Bite into the Fiore di Zucca con Ricotta ($17.95) — fried zucchini flower! (Insert chef’s kiss here.)
Clever Twist on a Classic: Clementine Side Car ($17). This classic sour cocktail is closely related to older brandy drinks and can differ from restaurant to restaurant. Osteria 500’s addition of clementine flavor makes it my local favorite. Made with Remy Martin VSOP, Cointreau, fresh clementines and lemon juice.
We Live Where You Vacation: Dry Dock provides a serene spot that makes you say, “I can’t believe I live here.” The must-get while drinking dockside? Prince Edward Islands Mussels ($19) served with a citrus butter sauce.
Call Me Old Fashioned: Per the Dry Dock staff, you can ask for any bourbon when ordering their Maple Cinnamon Old Fashioned ($15). However, they use Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon perfectly mixed with maple cinnamon simple syrup, topped with one cinnamon stick and two filthy cherries.
Here's to the 21st Amendment! And cheers to all of you and your loved ones this holiday season.
Emma B. Jolly has worked at Observer Media Group for five years as the digital fulfillment specialist with previous experience at Sarasota Magazine, Harper's Bazaar and even "The Jerry Springer Show" (yes, that's right). In her spare time, she enjoys doing anything near or on the water, being a cat mama and, of course, being a foodie with her new hubby.