Sometimes the ingenuity and creativity of human beings are superbly exacerbated in the most complex or adverse moments. Something like that is what happened in the famous alcohol prohibition that lived US in the early 20’s known as Prohibition. Bottles and dispensers in bars were empty due to the impossibility of refill bourbon or gin legally.
In 1919 the US government decided to veto the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages as a deterrent to the growing consumption of the time. That legislation, lasted 14 long years (until 1933) and only allowed drinking for therapeutic purposes.
Against what authorities wanted, Prohibition encouraged two important facts: the formation of gangs and a massive black market around the sale of alcohol. Despite the ban, it was curiously the decade where more cocktails emerged from creativity, today we call them classics like Negroni, Whisky Sour or Bloody Mary.
In an unprecedented step, Law, which sought to prevent consumption, achieved that in 1925 only in New York were counted between 30,000 and 100,000 hidden bars. Tempting and famous “speakeasies“, hidden locals where alcohol was served defying the authorities and forced the government to create special police patrols to control them.
Another consecuence of the rule that “dried” bars in north america, was a new boom for cocktails. Legend has it that while “mixology” was not new, during those 14 years many bartenders were creating new cocktails with natural juices, sugar or soda to mask precisely the forbidden alcohol.
Other versions suggest that the boom actually came to disguise the taste of the poor quality of some alcohols, caused by the great difficulty that distilleries had to make good alcohol not homemade, prepared in secret and without the right measures.
Anyway, the controversial American legislation, was a turning point for the world of mixology. If we analyze the consequences will surely be more positive than negative. Consumption was not avoided and many things were improved: the emergence of new cocktails or the incorporation of live music in locals.