NYC: Jazz Age, Prohibition and Cocktails

NYC: Jazz Age, Prohibition and Cocktails

Join Kevin Draper, our New York City Historian, for a transformative history Happy Hour.

The Jazz Age in New York is one of the most infamous times throughout the history of New York. From the booming music scene, mobsters, changing social and sexual norms, and speakeasies, New York became the hub for enjoying the newly emerging American culture.

Registration required.

Jazz Age Cocktail

Mix a Prohibition-era cocktail for our Happy Hour.


The sidecar is one of the best cocktails of all time. It is as popular today as it was a century ago and a brilliant introduction to the allure of well-balanced sour drinks.

The recipe was originally made with either cognac or Armagnac; either will create one of the most enjoyable brandy cocktails you can mix up. In the modern bar, bourbon is often poured instead (technically a bourbon sidecar), and some drinkers enjoy it with premium cherry brandy.

Bee’s Knees

The bee’s knees is a delicious Prohibition-era cocktail. The recipe adds a little sweet and sour to gin and, with just three ingredients, it’s incredibly easy to mix up.

Some stories claim that the bee’s knees was concocted because the honey masked the odor of the liquor. While that may be the case, one has to wonder if it really did the trick given some of the stories about the often pungent bathtub gins circulating during that time.

Mary Pickford

The Mary Pickford cocktail is a fun and fruity rum martini. It’s such an easy recipe that anyone can quickly mix it up.

Mary Pickford was a monumental figure at the beginning of the Hollywood scene. The petite blonde star of silent movies was known around the world as “Little Mary” because she often played the roles of little girls and boys well into her 30’s. She was instrumental in forming the United Artists Studio and won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in 1928’s “Coquette.”

Chelsea Sidecar

The Delilah is a classic and somewhat forgotten cocktail that also goes by the names White Lady and the Chelsea Sidecar. She is a lovely and simple drink and is one of the fantastic recipes included in the Sidecar family of drinks.

Sidecar-like recipes include popular cocktails like the Margarita (tequila) and the Boston Sidecar (brandy and rum). They follow a very fundamental formula of base liquor, orange liqueur, and citrus fruit. In the case of the Delilah, you will use gin, Cointreau, and lemon. As with any sour drink, it’s all about finding a balance between sweet and sour to create a taste to tickle your taste buds.