Drink to the Day

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Celebrate the end of Prohibition with a Rob Roy

For the past 75 years, Americans have been enjoying the consequences of the 21st Amendment, the ratification to the Constitution that effectively ended Prohibition by repealing the 18th Amendment. On the eve of “Repeal Day,” in December 1933, boats carrying alcohol waited offshore until the clock hit midnight. One of those ships was packed with Dewar’s Scotch Whisky, making it one of the first liquors to be sold legally in the United States in more than 13 years.

To mark the 75th anniversary of Repeal Day, on December 5, Dewar’s is planning annual parties across the country, where drinks such as the Rob Roy will be featured. This classic cocktail is made primarily of Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters, with a garnish of Maraschino cherry. It can be served straight up or on the rocks. Nontraditional ways to enjoy the Manhattan-like cocktail are to use dry vermouth as opposed to sweet, creating a Dry Rob Roy, or to add equal parts of both sweet and dry vermouth, making the Perfect Rob Roy.

The infamous cocktail was named after Robert Roy MacGregor, a Scottish folk hero that very closely resembles a Robin Hood of the 18th century. Rob Roy MacGregor (1670–1734) fought to protect the farmer’s way of life, earning the respect of this fellow Highlanders and a prison sentence for treason. On more than one occasion, he escaped; after his final escape, he lived the remainder of his life as an outlaw. The Rob Roy cocktail was created at the Waldorf Hotel, in New York, in 1894 to celebrate the opening night of an opera titled Rob Roy, which paid homage to the legendary hero.

Celebrations to commemorate the 75th Repeal Day are set for numerous restaurants and bars in New Orleans. The parties will begin at 9 p.m., or the 21st hour, in honor of the 21st Amendment. Many hosts for this evening will encourage the first drink of the night to be nonalcoholic, reminding everyone of the sad, sober days of Prohibition.

Dewar’s Classic Rob Roy
1¾ oz. Dewar’s White Label
1¾ oz. Martini & Rossi Rosso (sweet) Vermouth
4 dashes bitters

Put all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry and enjoy!