Those hard-hitting, Prohibition-era rum running gangsters from Atlantic City are back, and they have scores to settle. The popular HBO series, "Boardwalk Empire" returns for Season 4 on Sunday, September 8.
For fans of Scotch whisky, bourbon, rye and Canadian whisky, the show is a reminder of a time when ordinary Americans were not allowed to imbibe alcoholic spirits, but somehow those in power always managed to have a bottle or three stashed somewhere. Prohibition was the period from 1919 to 1933 when alcohol production, distribution, sales and purchases were prohibited in the U.S. thanks first to the Volstead Act, then by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constition.
As it turned out, the "Noble Experiment" didn't slow the sale and consumption of spirits much, but it did encourage the rise of organized crime. "Prohibition was disastrous for the bartender's art," says cocktail historian David Wondrich. "The drinks that came out of that era were too boozy, and shortcuts became enshrined as orthodoxy. But on the other hand, Prohibition did bring women into bars, which was, to some degree a civilizing element."
The series follows Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (inspired by historical Atlantic City denizen Enoch L. Johnson), a politician who dabbles more than a little in bootlegging. The intrigue among his associates and real-life figures like Lucky Luciano (the teasers suggest he's returning big time!), Warren Harding and Al Capone, along with a slew of romances, provide the drama against the historical backdrop. Following a full-scale gang war, season 3 left us with a dejected, but back-in-control Nucky. New characters for season 4 (including actors Jeffrey Wright, Patricia Arquette and Ron Livingston) bring new troubles to the Empire and a sticky investigation into last season's murders. Check out a trailer for the new season here.
To promote the series, HBO was kind enough to send over some goodies with which to enjoy the first show of the new season, including a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon, a "Boardwalk Empire" emblazoned notebook, playing cards and a "Boardwalk Empire" flask. While the NY Drinks Examiner will be keeping the bourbon for cocktail research, thank you very much, you can score the high-quality flask.
Constructed of stainless steel, with an attached, screw-top lid and bound in stiched leather, the flask (which can hold 8 oz of hooch) is "branded" tastefully with the words "Boardwalk Empire" and the HBO logo. Flasks like this regularly sell for about $40 and it is a well-made one (click on the image to the left for a better view).
Want it? Fire off an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Boardwalk," and a winner will be selected at random from the entrants. Deadline is midnight Friday, September 13, 2013. You must be 21 or older, and residing in the United States to win.
Boardwalk Empire Season 4 premieres Sunday, September 8 at 9pm EST on HBO.
Thirsty for more? Check out National Spirits Examiner or NY Drinks Examiner.
Do you have a cocktail trend, new product, bar or teahouse you'd like me to review? Want to give me a heads-up on your favorite hot spot? Please email me at NYDrinksExaminer AT gmail.com. Or follow me on Twitter @roberthp.
FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events such as lunches or cocktail parties, designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Opinions are the author's own. By the way, you should be 21 or older to read this page. Author received a promotional kit in connection with HBO's Boardwalk Empire, but no other compensation. Would he lie to Nucky? No!