American Prohibition Museum

When we are holidays, we like to eat, drink and if possible visit a museum, and we achieved two of the goals together on our walking around Savannah.  We went to the American Prohibition Museum and there were options; guided or self-guided, drinks or no drinks.  We did the self-guided and we had a drink, as we were a bit parched, as we had only enjoyed some Mimosas in Baltimore. 

“Good behavior rarely makes history” is one of the themes of the museum.  The museum starts off with the American Temperance Society movement in the 1860’s and the effect of groups like the Anti-Saloon League and Carrie Nation and her hatchet as she would destroy saloons.  Eventually the loudest voices created the original Nanny State ruling with the passing of the 18th Amendment on January 16, 1919 and took effect one year later, which banned the manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating beverages.  History, even when subjected to revisionists, have not been able to prove that this was a popular and successful law.  The exhibits showed how port cities, like Savannah, Charleston and Detroit were major hubs for “businessmen” attempting to please their customers who were citizens that did not appreciate being denied a pleasure that had only recently still been legal.  There were displays showing ways that the populace were able to circumvent this unpopular law, some ways legal and some ways illegally.  Communion wines, and medical scripts for alcohol were legal if used per your doctor’s instructions.  There were also displays of the violence that evolved from this unpopular law, as well as how social mores changed during the decade.  Another curious feature was not only people making illegal alcohol, but the roots of NASCAR came from the necessity of having to have very fast cars to evade the long arm of the long, as they tried to arrest the makers of moonshine.

We eventually in our self-guided tour ended up at a dead-end, but lo and behold, it was at the door of a speakeasy and one had to give the password that “Gus, sent us” to gain admission.  Out of the list of contemporary cocktails I selected the “Chrysanthemum” which was a blend of Dry Vermouth, Benedictine and an Absinthe Rinse; the rinse was a spritz of Absinthe on the lining of the glass, and I told the bartender in my best Groucho that “Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder,” but I think the quote was lost on her.   My Bride had the “Chatham Artillery Punch” which was a blend of Old Forester Bourbon, Bacardi Rum, Brandy, Lemon, Sugar and Sparkling Wine.  The sparkling wine that they used was Los Dos Cava Brut Penedes D.O. NV from Mundovino Winebow Imports (which is not available in Michigan).  The grapes are from a family vineyard and is a blend of Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada.  After a soft press, each grape variety produces a base wine in steel tank, followed by aging on the lees for ten months.  The juice is then blended and the second fermentation is in the bottle.  I cheated a little bit for the sake of this article and had a wee taste.  A straw yellow that offered notes of green apples and pears.  On the palate there were tones of apple and pear, baked nuts and baked bread, nice structure and acidity.  The cocktail was nice, but my Bride preferred my drink better.  Then we went to discover our hotel and went out for dinner in Savannah.   

About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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