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Area bartenders toast the anniversary of the end of the Prohibition

When the area's top bartenders celebrate the anniversary noting the end of Prohibition, they don't just clink glasses.

They put on an elaborate party with burlesque dancers, old-time jazz and, of course, lots of classic cocktails.

The Left Coast Bartenders' Guild hosts a Repeal Day Party on Sunday at the Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn. The event will cover 100 years of drink history, starting from the 1850s.

Now in its second year, the party will take over the entire hotel and include five bars serving pre- and post-Prohibition drinks made by guild members. Liquor vendors will convert eight hotel rooms into tasting stations, each with a theme to match their product. Russian Standard vodka, for example, will have servers dressed in World War II uniforms and babushkas. Plymouth Gin will create a botanical gardens to evoke the smell and taste that goes into making gin.

"We want to teach people about the quality of a cocktail while playing into the history," said guild president Dean Hurst.

Guests and bartenders will dress in vintage suits, flapper dresses and saloon attire. Organizers expect plenty of Mad Men-inspired outfits, vests, ties and mustaches — even on the women.

The Tampa Bay group became a chapter of the U.S. Bartenders' Guild in June but has been working on the event for a year. Although Repeal Day is Monday, they scheduled the event for Sunday, when many bartenders have the day off work. Prohibition took effect in 1920 and was repealed Dec. 5, 1933.

Up to 400 people are expected to attend, up from about 120 last year. Hurst, general manager of SideBern's restaurant, hopes the event puts Tampa on top of the national cocktail scene. A portion of ticket sales will go to charity.

Bob Wagner from Ciro's Speakeasy and Supper Club will make six kinds of punch for the Victorian-themed punch room, which will have a violinist. Local bartenders will mix Moscow Mules, Boulevardiers and other classics, as well as their own inspired concoctions.

Hard liquor won't be the only star. In honor of Repeal Day, Cigar City Brewing will release a special brew for the event, Patio Pils. Bernini, Fly Bar, SideBern's and Timpano will provide food.

Raise a glass

The Left Coast Bartenders' Guild hosts a Repeal Day Party from 8 p.m. to midnight Sunday at the Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn. Tickets are $75 at or through a guild member (see for a list). To celebrate Repeal Day on your own, here's a recipe for the Boulevardier, a drink created overseas during Prohibition by an expatriate who left the United States to work elsewhere.


11/2 ounces bourbon

3/4 ounce sweet vermouth

3/4 ounce Campari

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a coupe glass or serve over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with orange peel.

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Area bartenders toast the anniversary of the end of the Prohibition 12/01/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 1, 2011 3:28pm]
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