by Paullette Gaudet

merry-national-repeal-day_blogIt's hard to believe now, but for thirteen dark years early in the 20th century, alcohol was outlawed in the United States when Congress passed the 18th Amendment on January 16th, 1919, in an effort to curb many of the social ills that were thought to stem from drunkenness. Unfortunately, the banning of alcohol did little to decrease the blights of either crime or poverty, and in fact led to a rise in organized crime. The time-honored craft and customs of alcohol production were also left to wither, replaced by "bathtub gin" and moonshine.

Prohibition did have a few residual silver linings that endure even today, however. Before the ban on alcohol, public drinking mainly took place in saloons, which often barred women. Mixed-gender drinking (at least among the middle- and upper-classes) came about when alcohol was confined to speakeasies, hotel rooms and dinner parties. This new social dynamic also helped usher out traditional, formal courtship and introduced the concept of "dating," where men and women of different backgrounds and classes could meet at a speakeasy. Prohibition also had a hand in the creation of the mixed drink (something had to help mask the raw taste of moonshine), NASCAR (someone had to drive that moonshine from the still to the speakeasy), and "alco-tourism," where Americans visited Canada and Cuba to have their drink.

The 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition, was ratified on December 5th , 1933. This Constitutionally-sanctioned "holiday" offers the fine opportunity to raise a glass while viewing a film set in that era. We suggest pairing the deep, expressive red of Argentina's Alma Andina Malbec Reserve 2014 with Brian de Palma's gangster epic, The Untouchables (1987). Or, keep your tribute on the lighter side by viewing Billy Wilder's  Some Like It Hot (1959) with the vivacious bounce of Australia's Long Live The King Pinot Grigio 2015.