This time the Candlelight Club looks to its roots, in the urban speakeasy. For every legitimate bar that closed as a result of Prohibition, half a dozen illegal ones opened. By the mid-1920s there were, according to some estimates, as many as 100,000 speakeasies in New York City alone.
Some got by simply by bribing everyone from the police to the Federal Prohibition Agents. Others used secrecy—the term "night club" was coined in this era as a euphemism and members were given passwords to gain entrance. The 21 Club had four different alarm buttons in the lobby, which automatically sealed off the five secret booze stores and tipped the shelves in the bar, dropping all the bottles into the sewers. Some of the alcohol was actually stored in the basement of the building next door, accessed through a brick door that weighed two tons. At the Colony the booze was kept on a lift that could whisk it into the attic or the basement if there was a raid. Claudio's was built on a pier—at low tide liquor was lifted up through a trap door from boats sailing underneath.
To celebrate this age of guile and ingenuity—when drinking suddenly became more glamorous and exciting, ordinary citizens became criminals and for the first time bars became hangouts for women just as much as men—the Candlelight Club presents some cocktails made famous in the "speaks" of the Big Apple.
There will be dancing to live 1920s jazz from the Boomtown Swingalings, with vintage DJing from Auntie Maureen.
And we will have not one, but two dance troupes, to thrill you with a live dance-off—the Gatsby Girls versus the Gatsby Boys! Who will win? You, the audience, decide.
SW4 gin, red vermouth, white vermouth, orange juice
Created in 1906 at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel and named after the newly opened Bronx Zoo.
Keep it Under Your Manhattan
Whiskey, Applejack, amber vermouth, clove bitters
The Manhattan is the classic New York drink, and possibly the father of the Martini, said to have been invented in 1874 at the Manhattan Club. Our version adds a little apple for the Big Apple (Applejack is an apple brandy made in New Jersey).
SW4 gin, maraschino, pink grapefruit juice, pineapple juice, Angostura bitters, gomme syrup
Created during Prohibition at the Colony, which attracted a pretty classy crowd for an illegal drinking den—including the Vanderbilts and the Windsors.
Brandy, sparkling wine, burnt orange bitters, lemon sherbet
A twist on the French '75, a drink invented in Paris after WWI and named after a piece of artillery (it was said to hit with the same impact). It became popular with US troops who brought home a taste for it.
Bath Tub Sour
SW4 gin, lavender and white chocolate syrup, lemon
Some attribute the growing taste for cocktails in the 1920s to a desire to mask the rough taste of some of the illicit "bath tub" gins served in speakeasies. This is a playful take on one of the simplest ways gin was drunk, with sugar and lemon juice.
Knock Three Times
Whiskey, fresh mint, lemon juice, bergamot syrup, soda
Adapted from the Southside, but using whiskey instead of gin. The Southside was the house drink of the 21 Club.