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Oregon Advent: Day 5
Repeal Day Special Edition

Volstead Vodka

by Nannette Eaton on December 5, 2014

“…Customers don’t come to a bar for drinks, they come for the bartender. Any bartender worth a shit knows, this, but you, you stand there, got a one-word answer for everything: huh, uh, duh, yes, no, maybe. You make people feel like losers, like they’re your punishment from a jealous God or something. I swear, Cleveland?” Nodding to the Rastahead at the far end now. “The guy makes a martini like he’s got hooks for hands, but he’s twice the bartender you are because he works it. Everybody’s a regular with that guy, and he never stops moving, never comes off like this gig is some demeaning station of the cross…” – Richard Price (Lush Life)

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We briefly interrupt our scheduled coverage of Oregon Advent, the wine drinkers holiday spectacular, for the Wine Harlots favorite holiday, Repeal Day. (Truly, it’s our favorite holiday, with Independence Day and Thanksgiving distant second and thirds in our drunken hearts.)

If you don’t know about Repeal Day, where the hell have you been? We’ve been talking Repeal Day until people’s eyes glaze over. (Luckily we have good booze, so our friends tolerate this passionate eccentricity.) We’ve talked about it here and here, shared our favorite cocktail on Repeal Day and even created a booze-centric mix tape of songs about alcohol. But if you really don’t know, Repeal Day was this date, December 5, 1933, when the Volstead Act was repealed by the passage of the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution, canceling out the Great Experiment that failed.

Today is the day to get your drink on, honor those who make intoxicating beverages, and celebrate the beautiful document that is the United States of America’s Constitution.

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Wine Harlots want to honor two of our Cocktail Crushes (kinda like Imaginary Winemaker Boyfriends, but with spirit) Derek Brown of the Washington D.C. based, Laughing Cocktail, and the renowned bars, The Passenger, Columbia Room, Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich and Southern Efficiency, and who taught Martha Stewart the proper way to make a perfect martini (see the video below) says this about Repeal Day: “Repeal Day is my second favorite holiday next to the birth of Jesus. Without booze, I wouldn’t have friends, hobby or a job. So, I’m pretty indebted. We needed a proper day to celebrate drinking — a real holiday and not just ‘Cinco de Drinko,’ ‘Drinksgiving,’ or the green beer holiday. Those holidays are for amateurs (though I have a soft spot for Drinksgiving). So thank Jeffrey Morgenthaler for reviving it. Thank your bartenders for serving during it and, most importantly, thank the fact that sanity prevailed and we can drink whatever we please. The greatest thing you can do on 12/5 is exercise that right. I recommend exercising it with vigor!”

Which brings us back to Oregon. Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the uber-bartender extraordinaire of the critically acclaimed Portland bars Clyde Common and Pepe le Moko. Morgenthaler also published his first book this year, the simply tilted “The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Techniques” and it’s excellent, if you don’t have it already get it, it’s smart, no matter what your bar skill set is. But more importantly, Morgenthaler created a resurgence for the appreciation of Repeal Day. Thanks, Jeffrey! We’d buy you a drink, but that’s a little too Coals to Newcastle for us, but we will share our wine samples.

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For Repeal Day, we decided to make a cocktail with Volstad Vodka made in Oregon. See? Oregon Advent with spirit! Volstad Vodka is made by the Aviation American Gin folks. Now, vodka doesn’t get much love with bartenders at the top of their craft, Derek Brown states, “It is the chicken breast of cocktails. It is the most boring, least thoughtful, sort of one that you can mix with. For a craft bartender — someone who believes in humanity — this stuff is just a joke and will fade away.” Similarly, Jeffrey Morgenthaler throws shade on the clear spirit any chance he gets, but does admit the liquid is one of his guilty pleasures.

The Wine Harlots, who do have hooks like hands when crafting cocktails, go simple at home. If the cocktail has more than four ingredients, we go to a bar and let the pro’s do the work. For our Repeal Day drink, we used the Volstead Vodka and David Wondrich for Esquire magazine’s recipe to craft a Moscow Mule.

We are eschewing our standard food pairing, drink your meal today is our advice, our music match is the Iggy Pop anthem The Passenger, from the album Lust for Life, which inspired the name of Derek Brown’s first bar.

Happy Repeal Day! Go out and exercise your Constitutional rights! (But do it deliciously.)


Photo credit: EatonAlive ©2014

Video courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia ©2012

Oregon Advent Posts:
Thank You’s and Credits
How to Create Your Own Wine Advent Calendar
Oregon Advent: Day 1:  Eyrie Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2012
Oregon Advent: Day 2:  Fossil & Fawn Pinot Gris 2013
Oregon Advent: Day 3:  Willamette Valley Vineyards Bernau Block Pinot Noir 2012
Oregon Advent: Day 4:  Kramer Vineyards Celebrate! Müeller-Thurgau Sparkling 2013
Oregon Advent: Day 5:  Repeal Day Special Edition: Volstead Vodka
Oregon Advent: Day 6:  Siduri Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir 2012
Oregon Advent: Day 7:  Elk Cove Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Gris 2013
Oregon Advent: Day 8:  Cornerstone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Oregon Advent: Day 9:  Brandborg Oregon Gewurztraminer Umpqua Valley 2012
Oregon Advent: Day 10: Lange Estate Three Hills Cuvée Chardonnay 2013
Oregon Advent: Day 11: Adelsheim Vineyards Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2011
Oregon Advent: Day 12: Domaine Drouhin Oregon Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2011
Oregon Advent: Day 13:  Argyle Vintage Brut 2011
Oregon Advent: Day 14: Lumos Pinot Noir Temperance Hill 2012
Oregon Advent: Day 15: Cowhorn Spiral 36 2013
Oregon Advent: Day 16: Mouton Noir Oregogne 2012
Oregon Advent: Day 17: Remy Wines Lagrein 2011
Oregon Advent: Day 18: Union Wine Co. Underwood Pinot in a Can