In honor of the end of World War I, we celebrate Armistice Day every year on November 11 — OK, in America we call it Veterans Day. So why not also raise a glass in celebration of the end of another disaster of the early 20th century — Prohibition.
(Before you call me flippant about comparing a ban on alcohol to a war, recall the estimates that an average of 1,000 Americans died each year from drinking tainted liquor — about 13,000 total — and that doesn't include the 13 percent increase in homicides nationwide due to the rise of alcohol-fueled organized crime.)
In honor of Repeal Day, Gratifi Kichen + Bar has organized "A Cause for a Drink, Drink for a Cause," taking place on Wednesday from 6 p.m. to midnight. Eoghan Randy Rucker is serving bites from the era, including grilled Galveston Bay oysters, seafood gumbo and Welsh rarebit; Lucrece Borrego of Kitchen Incubator is whipping up some beer ice cream.
The speakeasy vibe and throwback appeal will dominate throughout the evening, with guests giving the password (R-E-P-E-A-L) to earn a drink as well as jazz music and other historically relevant surprises.
Guests are encouraged to "grab a punch from the bathtub, a shot at the bar, or have a cocktail poured tableside as dancers move about and the music flows not only from the speakers but also from the clinks of glassware as we celebrate not only the right to purchase booze, but the return as a society to the honoring of the tradition and honing of the crafts of fermenting, distilling, sourcing, serving, and mixing of alcohol that continues onward today."
While the pros will be behind the bar mixing classic cocktails, a crew of volunteer hosts (including me) will be shaking and serving drinks tableside. Half of all proceeds from food and drink sales (and all the proceeds from cash donations) will go to benefit MurrayAid, a charity created to help Murray Stenson, a legendary bartender in Seattle whose heart ailment prevents him from working.