Take a sip of history as we discuss the Speakeasy. There’s something alluring about a secret place. Someone tips you off, and just like that, you’re into another world.
Back in the days of Prohibition, if you wanted a drink, you’d most likely find yourself in a speakeasy, an illicit establishment that sold booze, often found “underground” in a garage, a basement or attic; even disguised as soda shops, cafes, and entertainment venues. The name “speakeasy” came about to keep these secret places from the authorities – therefore, the need to whisper or “speak easy” when discussing your drinking plans. The only way to gain access to a speakeasy was to know the address and the password of the night. Sometimes it took a special handshake, or you had to tap-out a secret knock on the door. After Prohibition, speakeasies largely disappeared, but in the past decade, they have seen a resurgence. Use today’s NightOwl trending list to experience top ranked drinking dens across the country that do their best to evoke the mood of the past.
Discover your night with NightOwl. Click HERE for the full list of top trending speakeasies in your city.
Ever wonder why the mere presence of absinthe in your glass needs to be regulated by the FDA? We’re fascinated by absinthe, and with good reason: The anise-flavored spirit is steeped in controversy. Banned for nearly 100 years in the United States and most of Europe, this misunderstood libation – a favorite of artists in 19th-century France – was blamed for all sorts of madness, from hallucinations to murder. And who can resist the ritual of absinthe preparation? The sugar cube, the slotted spoon, the magic of watching the bright green Hellfire-like liquid turn into a milky, iridescent shade as the water releases the essential oils from the alcohol….
So let’s set the Drip Fountain and pull back the milky curtain on some of the most ubiquitous green-fairy tales.
Having spent a good part of the last two decades bar hopping and drinking in Brooklyn, Peter Thomas Fornatale, author of Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World’s Hippest Borough, pulls up a seat for this week’s NightOwl Nightcap. He’s earned an “esteemed man” nod for taking cocktail classes from legendary New York bartender (and author) Dale DeGroff, and spent a summer supporting a horse racing habit by bartending at the acclaimed Chez Sophie in Saratoga Springs. His grandfather, John T. Flynn, was a brand manager at Seagram’s, so it goes without saying – cocktails are in his blood.
With Brooklyn Spirits, Peter shares the love of his favorite bartenders, Brooklyn distillers, restaurateurs, and cocktail aficionados that are changing the way we drink by bringing back old techniques and recipes, and creating new ones that focus on small-batch distilling and fresh, local ingredients. Inspired by this movement, Peter Thomas Fornatale and co-author, Chris Wertz, present an inspiring mix of recipes, profiles, and history – encouraging readers to not only make their own cocktails, but to get involved on a do-it-yourself level. Oh and by the way, signed books can be purchased from the author directly. You will find Peter on Twitter (@loomsboldly); also available wherever books are sold, especially in Brooklyn.