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26 Pre-Prohibition Cocktails You Will Love

Discover 26 Pre-Prohibition cocktails that taste surprisingly fresh despite their advanced ages.

Crafted Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail

The history of cocktails is long and winding, spanning centuries on both sides of the pond. There were times when drinking was all the rage and other times when the mere act of consuming alcohol could land a drinker in jail.

America’s Prohibition, which lasted from 1920 to 1933, was a particularly restrictive period. However, the preceding years were filled with so many classic libations that the era is fondly referred to as the golden age of cocktails.

Fast forward to the present and the most iconic Pre-Prohibition cocktails haven’t lost any of their luster. Centenarian cocktails like the Old Fashioned and Negroni are more popular today than when they were at the time of their inception.

Negroni Birds Eye View
The Negroni is super popular more than a century after the cocktail was first crafted in Italy.

The aforementioned golden cocktail age shined brightly thanks to creativity and variety.

A compendium of drinks were crafted with liquors like bourbon, gin and rum in bars from Italy to New Orleans. Some Pre-Prohibition cocktails like the Bee’s Knees and Hanky Panky have fanciful names while others like the Aviation and Clover Club feature colors of the rainbow.

Campari Bar in Milan - Camparino
We thank the the mixologists who created our favorite cocktails at bars like Milan’s Camparino.

You can learn about the best Pre-Prohibition cocktails in books like Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide and Harry Johnson’s Bartenders’ Manual which were originally published in 1862 and 1882 respectively. However, the better approach involves crafting and drinking classic cocktails at home.

These are our favorite Pre-Prohibition cocktail recipes:

26 of the Best Pre-Prohibition Cocktails

Pre-Prohibition Cocktail FAQs

What are Pre-Prohibition cocktails?

Pre-Prohibition cocktails are cocktails that were invented prior to America’s Prohibition.

When was America’s Prohibition?

America’s Prohibition started in 1920 and ended in 1933.

What are the most iconic Pre-Prohibition cocktails?

Iconic Pre-Prohibition cocktails include the Daiquiri, Martini and Old Fashioned.

About the Authors

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft these cocktails.

Original Publication Date: April 3, 2023