Friday, 20 September 2013

What's On: Prohibition London - The Verdict

Some time ago, Sam let us in on a little secret in his What's On; Prohibition piece - regular 'underground' parties in London by Prohibition which give modern twenty and thirty somethings the opportunity to revive the hedonistic antics of the 1920's, complete with bootlegged alcohol, gambling, live bands, dancing and silent cinema.  An evening of social and (secret) drinking pleasure.

We simply couldn't resist the chance to step back in time, to the era of Fedora hats, chorus lines and spats. To a world of illegal gambling, the sound of a rattling Tommy gun and the raucous noise of the Speakeasy, as Sam so enthusiastically introduced.

Considered by many as a failed social and political experiment, the Prohibition era changed the way many Americans view alcoholic beverages. Prohibition was originally intended to reduce beer consumption in particular, but ended up increasing the consumption of hard liquor: cocktails became particularly popluar as the taste of inferior, cheaply-made illegal alcohol could be disguised with other flavours. Soon this meant fashionable drinks, and with fashionable drinks, meant fashionable parties.

Donned in sequins and feathers, suspenders and waistcoats, we headed last weekend to Art Deco venue Bloomsbury Ballroom in London. Greeted by an expanse of ballroom, trimmed by long velvet curtains and seductive low lighting, to the sound of trumpeting jazz, it really did feel like stepping back into another era. Our first port of call was the bar - "Oh I do say, I fancy a cocktail!" - where even the bartenders looked the part. While the boys opted for a beer, the ladies perused the cocktail list - stuck in the front of an old book for authenticity.

With my official Vinspire taster hat on (ok, headband!), I made it the evening's mission to try each one - research darling, research! Short and sweet with just five options, the cocktail list covered gin, vodka, rum and fizz - the essentials of all great parties.
Served in teacups to disguise the alcohol, the cocktails went down far too easily and perhaps were the cause of my baby-giraffe-like attempts at swing dancing. I'd have to pick The Gatsby as my top cocktail of the evening - Raspberry, pomegranate syrup & vodka, shaken & charged with fizz. 

Whilst the 20's inspired mixes are easy to recreate at home, it's hard to set the scene without hundreds of other twenty and thirty somethings glammed up, an no jazz band to help create a buzz in the room. Oh, and I don't own any tea cups...

The next Prohibition London party is on Saturday 19th October at a secret location (okay, it's Bloomsbury Ballroom again) away from the prying eyes of the police. So if you fancy a hedonistic evening of drinking, gambling, swing dancing or even just like getting dressed up and floating around the room, it is definitely worth it. You can buy tickets on the Prohibition London website. My finger is already hovering over the 'Buy Now' button. See you there!

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