5 Speakeasy Cocktails...And Their Shady Pasts

Unless you've been living under an especially heavy rock, you're aware that this season is all about the Jazz Age. Thanks to the release of the obscure film adaptation of The Great Gatsby (maybe you've heard of it?), we're awash in bob haircuts and fringe hemlines and drop-waist everything. Frankly, if we see another Art Deco earring, we're going to throw it at someone. Hard.
One thing we're not over? The light, bubbly, historical cocktails that Gatsby has brought back to the mainstream. The Prohibition era, while meant to eradicate drinking in the U.S., in fact had the opposite effect — it made us get creative with our cocktails, and resulted in some of the finest drinks still served at bars today.
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Though Jazz Age partiers often relied on bootleg booze, it's believed the high fliers (like the Gatsby set) continued to serve the real deal, sneaking in liquor deliveries via off-shore islands under cover of night. In celebration of this sneaky history, Tanqueray (which may or may not have participated in such transactions, wink wink) has rounded up some of the most infamous cocktails of the era, along with a little backstory of why each is such a classic. Enjoy these for yourself — no password required.
Photos: Courtesy of Tanqueray
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Gin Rickey

Said to be the preferred pour of F. Scott Fitzgerald, this simple serve is best imbibed on a hot summer day. Don’t forget the chunky ice cubes.

1.25 oz Tanqueray London Dry gin
1 oz lime juice
5 parts soda water

Build in a highball glass, stir, top with soda water. Drag to mix and garnish with a lime wedge.


Photo: Courtesy of Tanqueray
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The Franklin

Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously celebrated the end of Prohibition with a dirty gin martini. His preferred brand is lost to history, but this classic cocktail ushered in a new era of American drinking.

1.5 oz Tanqueray London Dry Gin
1 tbsp dry vermouth
2 tbsp olive juice
2 olives

Fill a mixer with all ingredients, including the olives. Cover and shake hard 3 – 4 times. Strain contents of the mixer into the cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive.


Photo: Courtesy of Tanqueray
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French 75

Created at Harry's Bar in Paris and popularized by The Stork Club in NYC, this cocktail got its name from its potency. Sippers claimed it had the kick of a French 75mm field gun. (Ed. Note: lightweights!)

1.25 oz Tanqueray Ten
0.5 oz simple syrup
0.5 oz lemon juice
Top with Champagne

Shake and strain into a rocks glass and top with Champagne.


Photo: Courtesy of Tanqueray
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The Southside

The Southside is the signature cocktail at legendary former speakeasy the 21 Club. It’s also said to be the favorite drink of notorious Prohibition-era bootlegger Al Capone and his gang.

1.25 oz Tanqueray Ten
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz simple syrup
2 sprigs of mint
Club soda

Muddle one mint sprig with lime and simple. Add Tanqueray and shake well. Pour into glass over crushed ice and stir until the outside of the glass frosts. Top with soda and garnish with sprig of mint.


Photo: Courtesy of Tanqueray
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White Lady

Introduced in the late '20s, The White Lady was born from the drink the “Delilah,” which included crème de menthe. The Savoy’s Harry Craddock replaced it with orange liqueur, and it became an instant classic.

1.5 oz Tanqueray London Dry Gin
.75 oz orange liqueur
.75 oz lemon juice
Pour all of the ingredients into a shaker, fill with ice, shake and strain into a chilled coupe glass.


Photo: Courtesy of Tanqueray
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