Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.—W. C. Fields


What to Drink: Non-Alcoholic Drinks and Cocktails Served During Prohibition

Bertha E. L. Stockbridge

What to Drink by Bertha Stockbridge

What to Drink by Bertha E. L. Stockbridge, part of the series Classic Cocktail Guides and Retro Bartender Books. The cover features the photo “Au Café” by Maurice Brange, 1922, showing Solita Solano and Djuna Barnes in Paris. Solano was an American writer, poet, and journalist; Barnes was an American writer, editor, and key participant in the English language modernist movement, best known for her novel Nightwood.

Classic Cocktail Guides and Retro Bartender Books

Series Editor: Joanne Asala

Even if you are a cocktail afficionado, there are times when you just don’t want to drink. Or maybe you can’t drink if you are the designated driver or feel a cold coming on. And if you’re the hostess, many of your guests won’t be able to drink if they are pregnant, on medication, or underage. Do you really want to just serve them another Coke or glass of iced tea when everyone else is drinking something a little fancier? Why should a non-alcholic drink feel any less festive?

If you are at a loss as to what to serve your non-imbibing friends, imagine what it felt like when the 18th Amendment went into effect in the United States, ushering in thirteen long years of alcohol prohibition. It threw thousands of bartenders out of work and created a dilemma for hostesses across the country: What to serve guests at events. A wedding without a champagne toast? Unthinkable! A Christmas celebration without the rum punch? Tragic! A summertime picnic without a bottle of cold beer—that’s just not right. Yet cookbook author Bertha E. L. Stockbridge rose to the new challenge, and in 1920 released a book of non-alcoholic drinks and cocktails suitable for serving at a variety of events. Included are cobblers, fizzes, sours, highballs, and juleps, as well as recipes for homemade syrups and fruit vinegars, all without a measure of alcohol. (However, if one were to add a drop or two of Bathtub Gin to these already tasty drinks, they would only be that much more “authentic” to the period. Wouldn’t you agree?)

If you are planning a 1920s style wedding, a flapper girl themed bachelorette party or bridal shower, a Roaring Twenties bash, a Prohibition party, or just want to sip a Jazz Age speciality, this book is for you! What to Drink is part of the Classic Cocktail Guides and Retro Bartender Books series.

Sample Cocktail Recipes

Georgia Mint Julep

Bertha Stockbridge listed the following recipe in the section “Juleps Which Cheer But Do Not Inebriate.” It’s a refreshing change from the usual bourbon-based concoctions.

  • 1 teaspoon of Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon of Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 cup of Peach Syrup
  • 3/4 cup of White Grape Juice
  • 4 sprays of Fresh Mint
  • Ice

Use a tall goblet; crush a spray of mint in the bottom of the glass, add the sugar and a very little water, and stir until the sugar dissolves; then add the peach syrup. Fill the glass nearly full with crushed ice and fill with grape juice. Add several fresh sprays of mint and serve.

Jack Frost Sour

  • 1 teaspoon of Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 cup of Sweet Cream
  • 1/3 cup of Apple Juice
  • 1/2 cup of Cracked Ice
  • Carbonated Water

Pour the cream, sugar, apple juice, egg, and ice into a shaker and shake thoroughly; strain into a tall, thin, stemmed glass and fill up with carbonated water, using a syphon.

Fairy Punch

“The hostess of today will be called upon to serve drinks in her home more than formerly, I imagine, and it were well to go back to the habits and customs of our grandmothers and be prepared to serve a refreshing drink in an attractive manner at a moment’s notice.”— Bertha E. L. Stockbridge, 1920

If you do not have access to commercial varieties of fruit syrup, you can find recipes to make your own in Bertha’s book.

  • 1/2 cup of Lime Syrup
  • 1/2 cup of Raspberry Syrup
  • 1/2 cup of Strawberry Syrup
  • 1/2 cup of Pineapple Syrup
  • 2 Oranges
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1/2 cup of Sugar
  • 1 quart of Raspberry Water Ice
  • 1 pint of Ginger Ale
  • 1 pint of water
  • 1 quart of Carbonated Water
  • Ice

Extract the juice from the lemons and the oranges and mix with the sugar; add the lime, raspberry, strawberry and pineapple syrups, and stir in the water; pour this mixture over a square of ice in the punch bowl and add the gingerale and the carbonated water. Slip the square of raspberry water ice into the center of the bowl and serve at once.

What to Drink is available from Amazon.com.

ISBN: 978-1-880954-36-2

From an Amazon Five-Star Review: What Jerry Thomas did for the cocktail world, Bertha Stockbridge did for those searching for unique non-alcoholic beverages. The variety of syrups and fruit vinegars is impressive, and there are many coffee drinks, chocolate drinks, and teas, in addition to the non-alcoholic cocktails. Recommended.

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