Prohibition-Era Cocktails For The Modern Day

By / Wine + Drinks / May 16th, 2011 / 1

Secret passwords, back alley entrances, dimly lit rooms, hushed voices and classic cocktails – so was the Speakeasy life. The 1920’s prohibition-era Speakeasies played a pivotal role in spirits history, as premium recipes – now known as classic cocktails – were created for an exclusive, upscale clientele. Canadians can bring the Speakeasy style home and impress their guests with gin’s re-imagined cocktail and Chef Corbin Tomaszeski’s cuisine pairings. These modern combinations put a modern twist on timeless classics. Exclusive recipes and elegant entertaining tips will help any modern-day host transform into a roaring ’20s entertainer.

Each dish is rich in worldly, exotic tastes, and is perfectly complimented by the mixable and tantalizing flavours of the cocktails. There is a pairing for every palate and these new recipes should inspire us to recreate cocktails at home in our own exclusive clubs to experience classic sophistication and style with a modern twist.

(Makes 2 Cocktails)

Sin is a twist on the classic Gin Fix – a traditional cocktail that was developed during the prohibition era – re-imagined by replacing grenadine with ginger syrup.

1.5 oz gin
1 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
0.5 oz Fresh orange juice
0.5 oz Fresh ginger syrup, recipe follows

1. Make the ginger syrup by combining 1 cup of powdered white sugar and 1 cup of boiling water, 5 thick slices peeled ginger root. Add all to a saucepan over a medium heat for 10 minutes, leave to cool for 30 minutes and strain into clean bottle and refrigerate.

2. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice, shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or on the rocks in a tumbler. Garnish with ginger slices and coriander/cilantro leaves.

Prohibition Turkey Bites

Original recipe by Chef Corbin. Italian food was introduced into America in the 1920s. Pasta and meatballs were popular as they were very filling, economical and easy to prepare. This recipe is Chef Corbin’s reimagination of the classic meatballs with spaghetti. They are prepared in a very similar manner, but with today’s readily available ingredients and an Asian influence.

1 lb Ground beef
1 cup Bread crumbs
1 oz Minced fresh ginger root
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Sambal Oelek chilli sauce
2 Green onions, minced fine
1 tsp Sesame oil
1/4 cup Fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp Soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Breading Station
2 cups Flour
3 Eggs, beaten and mixed with 1/4 cup water
2-3 cups Japanese Panko Bread Crumbs

1 litre Neutral flavoured oil for frying – Sunflower or Peanut oil

Honey Lemon Dipping Sauce
1 splash gin
1 cup Honey
4 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp Sliced chives
Lemon zest

The Chef Corbin Method:

1. Combine all ingredients and from into mini meatballs. Bread the mini meatballs with the flour, egg wash and Panko bread crumbs.
2. Preheat the neutral flavoured oil into a deep sauce pan to 350-degrees F and fry the meatballs until golden brown and juices run clear.
3. Remove the cooked meat balls from the oil and place onto absorbent paper to remove excess oil. Season them with salt and pepper and serve 2 mini meatballs on a knotted bamboo skewer. Present them with the honey-lemon dipping sauce and enjoy. Serve with a glass of Sin.

French Highball
(Makes 3 Cocktails)

A variation on the French 75 Cocktail that was standardized during the prohibition era, the French Highball reflects the passion for cocktails that was taken up internationally and by Americans during the times of temperance. The classic French 75 has been re-imagined with the addition of pear nectar to add a rich, fresh flavour that helps to combat the acidity of the lemon and Champagne.

1 oz gin
0.5 oz Lemon juice
0.5 oz Simple syrup (2 parts sugar and 1 part boiling water; stir until dissolved and chill)
1 oz Pear nectar/juice
Top with Champagne or Sparkling Wine

Add the first 4 ingredients to a highball glass and stir. Fill the glass with cracked ice (lightly smash some ice cubes). Top slowly with champagne and stir once more. Garnish with a long “shoestring” lemon twist and edible gold flakes for pizzazz.

Speakeasy Baked Clams

Original recipe by Chef Corbin. As refrigeration was a luxury; many people relied on canned goods for food during the prohibition era. Canned vegetables and fish were very popular and allowed people to eat within budget. Canneries opened and people worked the factories. Canned clams were a favourite during this time and this recipe is a spin on “Classic Clams Casino”, a dish that was served in the popular restaurants and supper clubs in the 1920’s.

1 oz gin
3 tbsp Olive oil
1-1/2 oz White onion, diced
1/4-1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1-1/2 oz Toasted crushed almonds
1 clove Garlic, minced
12 pieces Little neck clams, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup Chopped crab meat
2 tbsp Chopped Italian Parsley
Pinch Fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1-2 tbsp Chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp Shredded parmesan cheese
Lemon juice, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Place the whole fresh clams in a pre-heated small sauce pan with 1 cup of dry white wine, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, a pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper – cover the pan with a lid and cook until the clams open up (approximately 5 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool – remove the cooked clams from the shell and save the shells until later use.

2. In a pre-heated sauté pan, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Deglaze with the gin and reduce by half.

3. Add the bread crumbs and almonds and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the chopped clams, crabmeat, fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and lemon juice.

4. Fill each reserved clam shell with the bread crumb mixture and place onto a small baking tray. Pre-heat the oven to 375-degrees and bake the stuffed clams for 5 minutes or until hot and crispy. Remove them from the oven and garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley. Serve while hot and enjoy. Makes 1 dozen clams. Serve with a French Highball.

The Dorothy Parker
(Makes 2 Cocktails)

The Dorothy Parker is an updated twist on the Mary Pickford, a white rum cocktail that was invented in Cuba and made popular by wealthy traveling Americans during the 1920s. Re-imagined using gin instead of rum and Martini & Rossi Bianco instead of maraschino cherry juice, this recipe helps enhance the earthier elements of the gin such as orris root and angelica.

1.5 oz gin
1oz Fresh pineapple juice
1 tsp. Grenadine
2 tsp Martini & Rossi Bianco (Substitute: Martini Extra Dry and a teaspoon of sugar)

Add all ingredients to a shaker with plenty of ice, shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pineapple leaf and lime twist.

Blind Tiger – Potato Rounds with Pea Puree and Shaved Fennel

Original recipe by Chef Corbin. During the 1920s, women of the household prepared many a suppers with potatoes; they were readily available, easy to grow and long lasting – not to mention filling and versatile in many dishes. The potato chip was introduced in the 20th century and served in tins or the original wax paper bags. Canned peas were also very popular and served as an inexpensive side dish to guests alike. This recipe speaks to the simplicity of potatoes, but becomes modern and re-imagined with the addition of the pea puree and shaved fennel.

12 slices Baby potato rounds (approx. inch thick and 1-1/2 inches in diameter)
1 splash gin
3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Chopped fresh thyme
1 cup Pea purée (place 1 cup of cooked, cooled, drained peas into a food processor, add olive oil and lemon zest. Purée until smooth and season with salt and pepper)
1 cup Fennel, thinly shaved
Garnish of fresh thyme leaves
Kosher sea salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste

The Chef Corbin Method

1. Toss the raw potato rounds with olive oil, fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bake the potato rounds in a preheated 375-degree oven until tender – approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

2. Spread a small amount of the pea puree on the top of each roasted potato round.

3. Combine the fresh fennel with a splash of gin and toss gently. Place a small amount of the gin soaked shaved fennel on top of the pea purée and garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme and cracked black pepper. Serve with The Dorothy Parker. Serves 12


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