Happy Repeal Day!! Are you celebrating wildly? Are you drunk yet?
On this day in 1933, Utah was the final state to overturn statewide restrictions on alcohol, thus ratifying the 21st Amendment, ending Prohibition in America. Woot! All across the country, Americans legally celebrated Repeal by drinking, an activity that had more or less gone on unabated from the day in January 1920 when Prohibition was passed in the first place.
Repeal brought an end to a set of laws that were decades in the making and which consumed American politics and culture the way health care and fiscal cliffs do now. Entire political parties had been formed over temperance, and all over the country towns and cities had been founded to deny its citizens of the evils of drink.
Of course the repeal of Prohibition hardly ended the complex relationship that Americans have with their tipple. Regulation of alcohol was delegated to the states, which meant that to this day we have fifty different laws governing its sale and consumption. Eighteen state governments still conduct liquor sales directly or indirectly, including Utah, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. In several other states you cannot buy alcohol on Sunday, and still more possess counties that are dry to this day — so prohibition is still practiced, long after the law was repealed.
Fortunately we live in California, where such restrictions aren't so onerous, a fact which should hardly prevent us from celebrating Repeal Day in style, which you can do at a variety of local watering holes. Chaya Brasserie is rolling out $12 dollar Prohibition era cocktails all week; at The Parish, downtown, you can get a Bee's Knees, a depression-era drink made with gin, lemon, and honey. Special Repeal Day cocktails can be had at most of the bars of the 1933 Group, including The Thirsty Crow, Bigfoot Lodge, and Sassafras; and at the Big Bar, you can, over a jigger of whiskey, view a screening of Brian DePalma's The Untouchables.
Patrick Comiskey, our drinks columnist, blogs at patrickcomiskey.com and tweets at @patcisco. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.