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Sipping Social channels the spirit of the Roaring Twenties

Arianna Auber
aauber@statesman.com

While U.S. history might know the 1920s as “the Roaring Twenties,” the decade wasn’t supposed to be roaring at all — at least not if all the social and cultural dynamism (flappers, jazz, art deco) was fueled in any way by alcohol. Prohibition began in January 1920, outlawing the production, sale, importation and transportation of alcohol, but the ban didn’t exactly do away with America’s thirst for good, hard booze.

Spirit makers got creative to continue putting out their product, some gaining a license for “medicinal whiskey,” others turning to more unscrupulous means like moonshining. Bars went underground and called themselves speakeasies. And a Chicago gangster called Al Capone took advantage of all the demand and cornered the market on bootlegging.

(Of course, the 1920s were about so much more than Prohibition. Remember, women’s suffrage happened the same year alcohol was made illegal.)

It was, to say the least, one of the more colorful times in U.S. history, and Edible Austin will recreate its finer moments with Saturday’s Sipping Social, where jazz music will serenade you, dressed in your best vintage attire, as you taste bites and sips from local food and drink vendors. The event will have a wine bar, cocktail lounge, beer hall and coffee-and-tea room — in other words, just about every beverage and then some that any enterprising American sought to get their hands on during the Roaring Twenties’ supposedly dry years.

The Austin Winery, Revolution Spirits and Real Ale are just three of the boozy options at the Sipping Social. In addition to the liquid fun, there will be dance lessons, a video montage of old films, swingin’ live music by Cats and the Canary and even a small petting zoo of baby goats.

Proceeds benefit Austin Food for Life, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people in the food and beverage industry gain access to affordable healthcare.

Below are a couple cocktail recipes that will be at the Sipping Social, including one from Paula’s Texas Spirits. The liqueur maker has an insightful point to make about Prohibition: “Was prohibition anti-immigrant? Irish, German and Italians making their way to our shores after the civil war may have said yes. Regardless, they all found important social traditions outlawed by Prohibition. Imagine residents of New York’s Little Italy, rationing their few precious bottles of Italian bitter liqueurs, and mixing them with sunny lemon and orange liqueurs made in their bathtubs.”

David Alan, the Tipsy Texan, also included a bit of cocktail history to his recipe. “The Pisco Sour is a classic Latin American drink that was either invented by or popularized by (depending on whom you ask) an American bartender who was working in Peru in the 1920s,” he said. (Bartenders often fled the states during Prohibition, going to Europe or South America to keep their craft from getting rusty.)

Dolce Amaro

1 1/2 oz. Paula’s Texas Orange Liqueur

1 tsp. Campari

1Ž4 oz. lemon juice

2 oz. sparkling water

Orange slice for garnish

Mix ingredients together over ice. Stir. Add orange slice for garnish.

— Paula’s Texas Spirits

Peachco Sour

2.5 oz. Pisco Portón

1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice

.75 - 1 oz Texas Peach Syrup, depending on your sweet tooth (recipe below)

1 farm fresh egg white

In a mixing tin, combine all ingredients and shake for about 15 seconds without ice. Add ice and shake vigorously.

Peach Syrup

2 parts peeled, pitted and diced peaches

1 part sugar

1 part water

Bring ingredients to a simmer in a saucepan until the peaches begin to dissolve and a prominent peach flavor reveals itself. Strain out any solids. Taste the syrup and adjust for sweetness. The peach syrup can be stored refrigerated for up to one month.

— David Alan, “Tipsy Texan” (Andrews McMeel, $19.99)

Sipping Social. 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. $55-$250. Fair Market, 1100 E. 5th St. www.edibleaustin.com.