Toast the end of Prohibition at the Repeal Day Ball

November 20, 2013

On Dec. 5, America will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the adoption of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution -- the amendment that ended Prohibition.

Could there be any better excuse for a party?

Chantal Tseng, who whips up sherry cocktails at Mockingbird Hill, is a featured bartender at the Repeal Day Ball. (Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post)
Chantal Tseng, who whips up sherry cocktails at Mockingbird Hill, is a featured bartender at the Repeal Day Ball. (Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post)

The D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild is bringing its annual Repeal Day Ball back to the Hill Center on Dec. 7. The formula remains the same: A legion of D.C.'s top bartenders will be stationed throughout the many rooms of the former Old Navy Hospital, including Chantal Tseng (Mockingbird Hill), Todd Thrasher (PX/Bar TNT), Adam Bernbach (2 Birds 1 Stone), Frank Jones (The Gibson) and Jamie McBain and Duane Sylvestre (Bourbon Steak). They'll be joined by visitors Dale DeGroff (The Museum of the American Cocktail), Sean Kenyon (Williams and Graham, Denver) and Kate Gerwin (Bar Magic, Las Vegas). Each will be whipping up their own variations on Prohibition-era favorites. or creating something entirely new.

No matter what you're drinking, it's a swanky event that's like an old-timey bartender's prom, with booze flowing and lots of chatting among friends and strangers. Part of this is down to the atmosphere: Guests are encouraged to wear '20s outfits or black tie, and  the Red Hot Rhythm Chiefs perform hot jazz and early swing music for dancing.

Tickets are $100 from the D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild Web site, and include unlimited drinks and hors d'oeuvres, plus a donation to the nonprofit Museum of the American Cocktail. The $150 VIP ticket allows for an extra hour of drinking, with admission at 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. The Repeal Day Ball sells out every year, so advance purchase is strongly recommended.

Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.
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