It was the age of jazz, flappers, gangsters and Prohibition—as well as the setting for F. Scott Fitzgerald's acclaimed novel The Great Gatsby. With Baz Luhrmann's intoxicating adaptation now in theaters, you'll want to host your own lavish, Gatsby-inspired soiree, so we've mixed up 10 Roaring '20s cocktails to help you party in speakeasy style.
Best of all, since Prohibition ended 80 years ago, you won't need bootleg hooch or bathtub gin to make any of these drinks.
No matter how you shake or stir 'em, you're sure to be the cat's pajamas!
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In Luhrmann's 3-D spectacular, Tobey Maguire stars as Nick Carraway, the Fitzgerald-like author and narrator of the liquor-soaked love story. Fitzgerald's drink of choice was gin, so it's only fitting that we toast the heavy-drinking novelist with a light, delicious Rickey—a mixture of gin and limejuice with a splash of club soda.
LONG ISLAND ICED TEA
Enigmatic Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) lives in a nouveau-riche section of Long Island, NY, which makes the popular Long Island Iced Tea an apropos choice. Unfortunately, the history of this potent concoction (five different spirits!) is as clear as the added cola—some trace its origins to the 1920s while others say the 1970s. Regardless, the LIIT is no more anachronistic than Jay-Z's Gatsby soundtrack!
Carey Mulligan stars as Gatsby's true love, beautiful socialite Daisy Buchanan, who's unhappily married to Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). In the novel, she comes to blows with Tom and Gatsby while drinking mint juleps. A native of Louisville, Daisy would surely make her julep with real Kentucky bourbon—and you can too. Just add ice, simple syrup, and mint, and you're ready to sip and enjoy The Great Gatsby or the Kentucky Derby!
Daisy's hubby, Tom, keeps an apartment in Manhattan for his married mistress, Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher). Though not as old as adultery, the Manhattan cocktail does date back to the 1870s. The original was made with American Rye Whiskey (plus sweet vermouth and bitters), but during Prohibition, Canadian Whiskey was primarily used since it was more available. Canadian hooch still works, eh?
Rum became popular during Prohibition as "rumrunners" smuggled it into the U.S. from Mexico and the Caribbean. To make this Jazz Age bevvy, you only need to run to the liquor store for dark rum, which you mix with fruit juices and top with grenadine. The colorful cocktail not only packs a punch—it's also a great way to cool down at summer soirees.
Made from gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar, the French 75 was named after a small, powerful gun used during World War I. This hard-hitting refresher is the perfect libation for Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki), a friend of Daisy's and a well-known competitive golfer. We can just imagine Jordan downing a French 75 after heating up the dance floor or scoring a hole-in-one.
During Prohibition, people who defied the law banning booze—the 18th Amendment, to be exact—were called "scofflaws." Which pretty much describes all the partygoers at Gatsby's mansion! You too can scoff as you quaff the cocktail named after them, a combo of rye and dry vermouth with lemon juice and grenadine.
Dress up any affair—black tie or not—with a formally named drink that originated in the late 1800s and reappeared during the roaring drunk '20s. A chic spin on the classic martini, the Tuxedo #2 combines gin and vermouth with bitters, maraschino liqueur and a touch of "the green fairy," absinthe. So dapper!
"The bee's knees" is flapper-speak for the most awesomest thing ever, which accurately describes this buzzy mix of gin, lemon juice and a spoonful of honey. During Prohibition, citrus and honey helped take the edge (and pungent smell) off the illegal rotgut. Nowadays, we have many quality spirits to choose from, and that's the bee's knees!
Everyone's fizzy favorite, champagne, adds glitz and glamour to any get-together. So pop a cork and let the bubbly flow as you stir in a sugar cube and bitters, then garnish with a lemon slice. The sparkling Champagne Cocktail is lovely and sophisticated, which is how—Luhrmann's excess and razzamatazz aside—we'd like to remember Daisy and Gatsby.