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Prohibition in Washington, D.C.: Where the Noble Experiment Flopped

Evening Program with Cocktail Tasting

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1L0179

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A woman demonstrates a Prohibition-era fashion accessory, the cane-flask, 1922

The “noble experiment” of Prohibition began nationwide in 1920, but thanks to Congressional fiat and the lack of home rule, the nation’s capital ostensibly went dry on November 1, 1917.

Washington was intended to be the model dry city for the country, but it ended up with more than 3,000 speakeasies and a widespread disregard for the law of the land. Even Congress employed its own bootleggers, most notably George Cassiday, better known as the Man in the Green Hat (now immortalized by a locally made gin). Even the five presidents during Prohibition were not innocent of raising an occasional cocktail glass in defiance of the law.

On the centennial of the beginning of the local booze ban, join author, historian, and tour guide Garrett Peck on a cocktail-driven journey through DC’s not-so-dry past.

Following the program, enjoy samples of Prohibition-era cocktails prepared by Quill at The Jefferson, Washington, DC, courtesy of Angel's Envy Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Casks.

Participants must be 21 or older with ID.

Other Connections

The United States Senate’s website chronicles the exploits of the Hill’s in-house bootlegger George Cassiday, who operated out of the Senate’s Stationery Room. Find out how the Man in the Green Hat was finally nabbed by a Prohibition Bureau agent dubbed the Dry Spy.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)