Celebs are partying like it’s 1929!
Retro hot spots like New York City’s supper club the Darby – where Gerard Butler had his birthday party recently and Prince threw a star-studded concert afterparty – have become essential stops on the celebrity nightlife circuit. On the West Coast, newly opened Hollywood hangout Hemingway’s has put a Prohibition-era twist on cocktail culture.
But you don’t have to go out to experience the booming cocktail culture. The owners of the New York restaurant Employees Only have compiled a book of drink recipes, titled Speakeasy, straight out of the Jazz Age. That’s when “American cocktails were at their peak,” says co-author Jason Kosmas.
Adds Richie Akiva, who co-owns the Darby: “People go back to what worked. That’s why they’re called classics.”
While Jon Hamm enjoyed a night out at Akiva’s hotspot, you don’t have to be on a period show to appreciate these drinks from yesteryear. Check out the recipes below, then make the cocktails yourself:
1. Shake 2 tbsp. gin, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp. simple syrup and a dash of grenadine in an ice-filled cocktail shaker.
2. Strain into a chilled champagne flute and top with ½ cup champagne.
The Honey Rider
(From the Royal at the Raleigh Hotel, Miami)
Spotted: Ben Stiller
Makes 1 cocktail
1. Pour ¼ cup boiling water over 1 tbsp. dried lavender blossoms; cover and steep 5 minutes. Pour liquid through a wire-mesh strainer into a small bowl; discard lavender. Whisk ¼ cup honey into lavender-infused water.
2. Fill cocktail shaker half full of ice cubes. Add 1½ tablespoons honey-lavender mixture, ¼ cup gin and 1½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice; shake well.
3. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with fresh lavender sprigs if desired.
(This drink is an update of the prohibition-era favorite, The Bee’s Knees)
A Moveable Feast
(From: Hemingway’s, Los Angeles)
Spotted: Jeremy Renner and Whitney Port
Makes 1 cocktail
1. Stir together 1 tbsp. honey and 1 tbsp. warm water in a cocktail shaker until honey dissolves. Add 3 tbsp. rye whiskey, 6 to 8 fresh sage leaves, 3 blackberries, 1½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice and 3 dashes of bitters; gently press sage leaves and blackberries against shaker with back of a spoon to release flavors.
2. Fill shaker half full of crushed ice; shake vigorously. Strain over ice into a cocktail glass.
3. Garnish with a fresh sage sprig and blackberries if desired.
(Adapted from a recipe by Alex Straus)