Celebrate National Bootlegger's Day

Today is National Bootlegger's Day, a day when we celebrate those crime bosses who put everything on the line, lived dangerously, and made sure that the Roaring 20’s were always Roaring.

Today’s holiday was actually completely invented by Templeton Rye Whiskey, one of the early on spirits of the Prohibition era tied to Mr. Capone himself.  They created the Prohibition Cocktail we are using today in celebration. 


The Prohibition Cocktail is made with all the simple items people had to work with back in the day. Nothing fancy, nothing too out of reach, and something they could have an endless supply of.

If you're not a fan of apples, may we suggest grapefruit for a more bitter taste?

If juice doesn't sound like your jam at all, make it an Old Fashioned and throw the other ingredients away. Prohibition was about rebelling, so go ahead with your bad-self and do whateva you want!

A Brief History:


Hang on tight to this history lesson boys and girls, it’s a wild one. Since the beginning of time, humans have come to rely on the potent power of liquor.

From even before Jesus turned water into wine, it’s been a part of our lives and different cultures throughout hundreds and thousands of years.

So, when the newspapers in the U.S. on January 17th, 1920 released the news that a new law, The Volstead Act, was to prohibit the making, selling, and drinking of alcoholic beverages- everyone pretty much lost their marbles. 


Prohibition had awful timing. When the bill passed America blatantly ignored it. It was the roaring 20’s and where there was a trumpet there was a party. 

During the Prohibition Era, along with the years just before we entered The Great Depression, Americans experienced some of the happiest times in our nation.

The roaring ‘20s for example, with the introduction of Jazz music, people were partying harder than ever because it wasn’t allowed. And it sprouted a new title among entrepreneurs, a whole new career for those who had the courage to run an empire-Bootleggers.


Templeton Rye’s originated in Templeton, Iowa, not long after the Volstead Act began. The company states that their inventor was another major figure of Bootlegging- Alphons Kerkhoff. Other research online seems to show that he employed about 350 people in a farming community, who probably deserve the credit.

From east to west, north to south, every corner of this country had someone supplying its thirst for liquor, one of the more famous men to spearhead the movement was none other than Alphonse Capone. 

Templeton’s current owners claim that their grandfather knew Al Capone personally, and Templeton Rye was the only whiskey he’d distribute within his network and empire. Al had some serious legit stuff imported directly from Canada, but Templeton was the special one that he’d serve in his very own home to family and friends.


Templeton has rocked this medal for a while and they have remained true to their roots by keeping their HQ and bottling plants in Templeton, Iowa. And they know how to give back to the farm folks that have given them so much, their website states they are the town’s largest employer. They also aren’t shy about boasting their involvement in bootlegging back in the day.

Despite the fact that Prohibition began on January 16, 1920- we celebrate it on January 17 for two distinct reasons: 

-It also happens to be Capone’s birthday. Boy how the stars aligned with that one! The hero to get us through Prohibition was born on the same day that it launched. If that’s not a prophecy, I don’t know what is. 

-According to Chicago Tribune archives, it appears the law didn’t go into official effect January 16 until “12:01 AM.” Back then, there was special kind of cops for Prohibition, regular cops were busy with regular cops stuff. So their first day on the job technically didn’t begin until the morning of January 17. Back then it was common practice that “any ‘reasonable’ man believes nobody should start a new job until at least 8 o’clock in the morning.”


Random Fact:

Templeton sold for $5.25 to $5.50 a gallon during Prohibition, which is $67 - $70 in today’s money.

Ah, Prohibition… What a wicked confusing time to be alive. But they did it, they survived it- what’s more they thrived from it.

So, grab yourself a bottle of Templeton, take a few shots if you like it straight, make the cocktail, and cheers to big Al and other famous bootleggers from those times.

May they rest in peace knowing that, we have plenty of reasons to drink now and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Thank you for reading and as always...

Cheers from,

Happy Hour City