The Thirties Cocktail: More Than Just a Drink
By L.A. Chandlar, Author of, The Gold Pawn, The Art Deco Mysteries
The 1920s and ‘30s were two decades sandwiched between the two World Wars. On one side was a lost generation, and on the other was the Great Depression. It was a time period full of tensions. As soon as women (at last) got the vote in 1920, the restraints of the “Noble Experiment”—prohibition of alcohol—were slapped onto the law.
And yet, it was also a time of tremendous innovation, women rising in the workplace, and breathtaking art deco. It was the era of the soup line, but also the era of the cocktail.
Prohibition was the impetus for a craze of interesting cocktails created from all sorts of indulgent types of alcohol, such as champagne and “Green Fairy”-inducing absinthe. When Prohibition ended in 1933, the cocktail began to evolve into something much more than just rebellion or escapism. It was a mark of sophistication and culture, and indicative of the new roles for women. You could especially see that in places like the Ophelia Lounge—recently renovated in New York City at the top of the Beekman Building—which was the first all-female club that was refined and had a sophisticated air. Today, you can still sip on a sparkly Purple Tuxedo or a delicious Pain Killa while perched on a velvet settee atop the black and white harlequin floor.
The creative concoctions were meant to bring color and fun, which was particularly meaningful during a darker era. A Flora Dora with gin, raspberry liquor, lime and ginger ale gave refreshment between bopping to Benny Goodman and Cole Porter songs on the dance floor. A Bad Romance packed an unusual punch with tequila, cranberry simple syrup, lime and topped with bubbly. Or you had the citrus dazzle of a Sidecar with Cognac, Cointreau and lemon. From a French 75 to a Hanky Panky, the cocktails were limitless, vibrant, and stood for so much more than just a drink.
The Thirties can often be overshadowed by the Depression, but there was so much going on despite it. The art, architecture, women’s rights, music, art deco, and the cocktail became a physical representation of it all.
November 1936. Mayor La Guardia’s political future buckles under a missing persons case in New York City. Simultaneously, Lane unravels devastating secrets in the outskirts of Detroit. As two crimes converge, judging friends from enemies can be a dangerous game . . .
Finally summoning the courage to face the past, Lane Sanders breaks away from her busy job at City Hall to confront childhood nightmares in Rochester, Michigan. An unknown assailant left Lane with scattered memories after viciously murdering her parents. However, one memory of a dazzling solid gold pawn piece remains—and with it lies a startling connection between the midwestern tragedy and a current mystery haunting the Big Apple.
Meanwhile, fears climb in Manhattan after the disappearance of a respected banker and family friend threatens the crippled financial industry and the pristine reputation of Lane’s virtuous boss, Mayor Fiorello “Fio” La Guardia. Fio’s fight to restore order leads him into more trouble as he meets a familiar foe intent on ending his mayoral term—and his life.
Guided by overseas telegrams from the man she loves and painful memories, only Lane can silence old ghosts and derail present-day schemes. But when the investigation awakens a darker side of her own nature, will she and New York City’s most prominent movers and shakers still forge ahead into a prosperous new age or is history doomed to repeat itself?
About the Author
L.A. Chandlar is an author and motivational speaker on The Fight to Keep Creativity Alive, demystifying creativity in the workplace and personally. She lives in New York City with her family. Visit her at lachandlar.com or on the social media platforms below.