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Raise a glass to celebrate the repeal of the Volstead Act

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Today marks the 80th anniversary of the repeal of the Volstead Act. Prohibition started in the late 19th century to curb what was reported to be a social problem with drinking irresponsibility that left many families that relied on financial support from the male in precarious situations. The grassroots temperance effort gained speed and states began to work to draft an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes.

The Volstead Act was ratified in January of 1919 and wide spread enforcement started in January of 1920. Thus, began prohibition. Prohibition produced bootlegging business enterprises that made several men like Al Capone rich and many others dead. Bootlegging, like any illegal business, can be deadly.

Over time, it was clear that the Volstead Act was expensive to enforce and the benefits were slim. Ordinary citizens began making “bathtub gin” and other distilled goods from home distilleries. There were also health and safety issues from the production of alcohol that had no quality control standards.

The new 21st Amendment repealed the Volstead Act on December 5, 1933, which basically ended 13 years of prohibition, but there were some states that were slow in accepting the end of the 18th Amendment. In 1966, Mississippi was the last state to go wet.

Now that you know a little history, it is time to raise a glass of your favorite spirit in celebration of repealing the Volstead Act.

The book “Prohibition in Dallas & Fort Worth – Blind Tigers, Bootleggers and Bathtub Gin” by Rita Cook and Jeffrey Yarbrough, offers an in-depth look at prohibition in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Historical pictures, interviews with prominent bartenders and lots of recipes make this a must have book.

The authors will be hosting a book signing from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at The Windmill, 5320 Maple Ave. Dallas, Texas 75235. Books are available at the book signing, Barnes & Noble and online through the publisher The History Press and Amazon.

From 3:00 – 7:00 p.m., Whiskey Cake is celebrating Repeal Day by offering the country’s signature cocktails for five cents. The price pays tribute to the cost of the average cocktail during pre-prohibition. The cocktail list includes Bathtub Gin Punch, Blood and Sand, Daiquiri, French 75, Moscow Mule, and the Sazerac.

A photo booth and other festivities are planned for the event. Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar is located at 3601 Dallas Pkwy., Plano, Texas 75093.


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Copyright © 2013 Robin D. Everson. All rights reserved.

Robin is also the Examiner for Dallas Art Events and Dallas Places and Faces.



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