A Prohibition Primer by Maggie Robinson

Hello again! Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson kindly invited me to stop in to talk about my second 1920s-set Lady Adelaide Mystery, Who’s Sorry Now? It comes out tomorrow, a Saturday, which is weird, but I’m not in control, LOL.

That’s a super-understatement. At the moment I’m juggling the sale of my house, revisions for Book 3, and promotion of Book 2. How I’d love to go dancing and drinking and debauching like the Bright Young People who feature in Who’s Sorry Now?, but I probably couldn’t stay up that late. After reading what young men and women got up to during the Roaring Twenties, I don’t think I was ever young enough! Frenetic, frenzied fun was sought at all costs, making my college years seem like a sedate tea party. Themed events were big, the wackier the better—adults in diapers and baby bonnets with gin in their bottles, for example. Yikes.

This was the decade of the cocktail. Some say sweet, fruity drinks were invented to disguise the taste of illegal homebrewed alcohol, which could send you to the hospital if it didn’t send you to jail. Some liquids were so toxic they caused hallucinations, paralysis, and even death. “The real McCoy” means quality, and comes from Captain Bill McCoy smuggling premium rum from the Caribbean that wouldn’t kill you, just Jamaican Me Crazy.

Lady Adelaide doesn’t have to worry about Prohibition, though—the UK was mostly free from the terror of the temperance movement, although plenty of British people signed “The Pledge.” And throughout London, private clubs sprang up to get around the strict licensing laws. If you belonged to my fictional Thieves’ Den in Soho, you might order F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favorite libation, a Gin Rickey at any time of the night without worrying about being arrested. (But you might get poisoned, because that’s the plot!)

Gin Rickey: 2 oz. gin, ¾ oz. fresh lime juice, club soda, slice of lime. Pour the gin and juice into a tall chilled glass filled with ice cubes. Add club soda, stir, and drop in the lime. Cheers!

My father came of age in the late Twenties, and one of his favorite drinks was a French 75. The original recipe called for gin, but he liked to substitute cognac.

French 75: 2 oz. dry gin, ½ oz. lemon juice, ¼ oz. simple syrup (made by boiling half a cup of sugar with half a cup of water; cool before adding), 5 oz. of champagne, and orange zest. à votre santé !

I’m afraid I’d know who’s sorry now if I tried either of them, but let me know if you’re tempted. Thanks so much to the Maine Crime Writers for hosting me! To read blurbs and first chapters of Nobody’s Sweetheart Now and Who’s Sorry Now?, please visit www.maggierobinson.net

Maggie Robinson is a former teacher, library clerk, and mother of four who woke up in the middle of the night, absolutely compelled to create the perfect man and use as many adjectives and adverbs as possible doing so. A transplanted New Yorker, she lives with her not-quite perfect husband in Maine, where the cold winters are ideal for staying inside and writing historical mysteries and romances. A two-time Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice nominee, her books have been translated into French, German, Portuguese, Turkish, Russian, Japanese, Thai, Dutch and Italian. Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Romance Writers of America, and Maine Romance Writers.
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6 Responses to A Prohibition Primer by Maggie Robinson

  1. Barbara Ross says:

    Welcome, Maggie! I just finished a novella for Haunted House Murder (August, 2019) that includes call backs to Prohibition. I was fascinated to learn about the rum runners and the rumline. Good luck with the release, and the house sale and Book 3. I went through the same thing two years ago, so I totally get it.

  2. Thanks, Barbara! The fact that you’re commenting means you still have your sanity, LOL. There’s hope yet. And rum! Yum!

  3. susanvaughan says:

    Maggie, thanks for an entertaining and enlightening post. I’m a big fan of Lady Adelaide and company. Loved learning a little about the Roaring Twenties in England. I know little about the smuggling of rum into the States back then, but I believe the Maine coast was one of the rum runners’ favorite stops.
    Can’t wait to read this book!

    • maggierobinsonwriter says:

      Thanks so much, Susan! Yes, I think a lot of lobstermen made a fortune during the 20s. But I want both–lobster AND champagne!

  4. Delsora Lowe says:

    Maggie – hope you have a great book birthday launch tomorrow. Loved this book and the first one. So hurry up with book 3 – can’t wait to read it 🙂 Loved this post. Tempted me to go find some rum. I think I have one of those tiny airplane-type bottles somewhere in the cupboard 🙂 Seriously, here’s to a great day tomorrow. And thanks for such a humorous and fun post.

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