A Very Victorian Fourth of July with Gin Lane 1751
Despite our differences (e.g. nearly 200 years of Parliamentary rule and America’s emancipation thereof), it’s safe to say that enough time has passed in order for England to enthusiastically support the United States’ firework-fueled summer freedom festivities. And unsurprisingly, we’re celebrating in solidarity the best way we know how—with a glass of gin in hand.
Gin is, of course, inherently British, although it certainly had its American heyday throughout Prohibition and still remains wildly popular around the country to this day. At the intersection of Victorian elegance and American cocktail culture and history are a few over-the-top classic gin cocktail riffs that simply beg to be served on a hot, sunny July Fourth weekend (heat and sun not necessarily required).
If you’re unfamiliar with Prohibition-era gin cocktails, we’ll get you up to speed: some of the most popular gin drinks to emerge from America’s temperance movement include the Last Word, Bee’s Knees, Gin Rickey, Mary Pickford, White Lady, and last but certainly not least, the reliably refreshing Tom Collins. Each of these cocktails is relatively simple in construction and somewhat easy to make, leaving plenty of room for interpretation and inspired decoration. The latter is the key to bringing over-the-top Victorian vibes to your summer cocktail gathering, and that’s where garnishes come in—Victorian style is all about details and embellishments, so all you really need to make your drinks as stately as possible is a few extra finishing touches.
Our friends at Victorian cocktail bar Lillie’s in New York City have the royal garnish treatment down to a science—use these cocktails as visual inspiration and stay tuned for our Victorian cocktail recipe e-book, coming to your inbox soon.