Covert Cocktails: Three Prohibition Drinks and their History | Newberry

Covert Cocktails: Three Prohibition Drinks and their History

Led by Emily Nydam and Paul Durica. One session. 3 - 4:30 pm.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Wednesday, October 21

3 - 4:30 pm

As a precaution to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Adult Education Seminars Program’s Fall 2020 term will continue to be held virtually. Virtual seminars meet via Zoom video conference and use email and Google Drive folders to share resources and communicate with instructors and participants. For more information about the Newberry’s virtual seminars and these tools, including a Zoom tutorial, please see our Virtual Seminars FAQ page. If you have questions about online learning, please feel free to reach out to

For more information about the Newberry’s response to COVID-19 please visit

Seminar Description

In this virtual workshop, you’ll learn how to make three popular cocktails--the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Sazerac--that emerged during the period of national prohibition (1920-1933) under the guidance of Emily Nydam, the skilled mixologist at Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar. You’ll also learn about the history of these drinks and the role prohibition played in shaping the tastes and habits of everyday Chicagoans. This seminar is offered as part of the Decision 1920 exhibition at the Newberry.

In partnership with Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar, we’ve created a special cocktail kit for this workshop. Cocktail kits are available to order through Maria's at the link below.

One session. Registration – $40

Emily Nydam is the bar manager at Maria's Packaged Goods, where she curates seasonal cocktail menus with a focus on interpreting the classics.

Paul Durica is the Director of Exhibitions at the Newberry. For five years, he served as the Director of Programs and Exhibitions at Illinois Humanities, during which time he also led tours on the Prohibition era for the Chicago History Museum. Paul has taught classes on Chicago history and literature at the Newberry, Graham School, and the University of Chicago, where he received his PhD, and has written and talked about historical drinking culture for Mash Tun and WBEZ’s Strange Brews podcast.

Materials List


  • Prohibition Era Cocktail Kit available for purchase through Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar. You'll find everything you need in this Prohibition Era Cocktail Kit so that you can make the classics at home! Together we'll be making an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan, and a Sazerac! Here's what's included:

    • Tools: Mixing glass, bar spoon, Japanese style jigger, Hawthorne strainer.

    • Spirits: 375ml Evan Williams bourbon. 1oz of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth. 1oz of St George Absinthe. 1oz of Angostura bitters. 1oz of Peychaud's bitters.

    • Garnishes: small container of Luxardo Maraschino cherries. 1 orange. 1 lemon.

    Pickup Information

    Prohibition Era Cocktail Kits are still available for purchase through Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar! Look for the Prohibition Era Cocktail Kit under "Maria's Cocktail Kits" on their online menu. Kits are available for pickup anytime at Maria's. Maria's also offers a limited delivery service between 4 - 9 pm, Wednesday through Sunday, for orders placed within their delivery zone (a 3.5 mile radius).

    First Reading:

    • There is no reading assignment for this seminar.

    Registration Information

    Online registration opens at 9 am (CST) on Tuesday, September 1st.

    Please note: Due to COVID-19, the Adult Education Seminars staff is working remotely and will be unable to process registration over the phone. For more information about registration, including a guide to online registration, see our Registration Information page. Questions? Please contact seminars program staff via email at

    We offer a 10% discount to members, seniors, and students.

    This seminar is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about registering for a seminar, program policies, or teaching a seminar.