The Secret and History of Steak Tartare

The Secret and History of Steak Tartare

It’s not often we wonder about how our delicious meals came to be, but some do deserve notice. Steak tartare history is one of the many food stories that do deserve our attention.

The History of Steak Tartare

Steak tartare’s history is partly a myth. Legend has it that the dish was first made of horsemeat; the story and the meal itself coming from Mongol horseback riders and warriors. It’s said that the Tartar horsemen would keep slices of horsemeat under their saddles, letting them tenderize throughout the day, then eat the raw meat for dinner.

However, a little bit of research shows that, while the riders did place raw meat beneath their saddles, it was not for consumption. According to “The Cambridge Medieval History” (1924), the meat was meant to heal the horses’ sores. By the end of the day, the meat would soak the sweat and, therefore, become inedible, anyway.

The first time raw chopped beef appeared on a restaurant menu was likely at the beginning of the 20th century, somewhere in France. At the time, it was called (and spelled) beefsteack à l’Américaine. It’s not clear why the dish was associated with America. It stayed on the menus and rose to popularity sometime after the Second World War.

How did it then get the now familiar tartare adjective? Some of it may have to do with Escoffier.

In one of his culinary guides, he listed beefsteack à la Tartare, and described it as beefsteack à l’Américaine, but served with tartare sauce on the side and without the hitherto, usual egg yolk on top.

As time went by, the steak tartare evolved, and eventually became what we all know today.

How to Make Steak Tartare

These ingredients will comfortably serve two people if you’ll be serving steak tartare as an appetizer. If, however, you want this dish to be the main course, double the quantities.

At George’s, we serve our beef tartare with a scotch egg, but you, of course, don’t need to.


– 150g of beef, filet mignon

– 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

– ¼ of finely chopped shallots

– 1 teaspoon of finely chopped capers

– 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

– Worcestershire sauce to taste, or ¼ of a teaspoon

– 1 egg yolk

– a pinch of salt

Make sure you bought your beef from a reputable butcher and that it’s of the highest quality. It’s also recommended you freeze the meat for about an hour before using it – that way, the number of microorganisms is reduced.

How to Make Steak Tartare


  1. First, take the egg yolk, the chopped capers and shallots, and put them all in a bowl. Then, add the olive oil, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, and mix it all well with a fork.
  2. Chop the beef into small pieces, add them to the bowl. Now, you can season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Mix all your ingredients well, then form the mixture into flattened mounds (or really any shape you fancy). Your steak tartare is now ready for serving.

If reading this made you hungry, or you just don’t want to waste time on making this dish, you can hop on over to George’s, and enjoy a delightful meal while you soak in the atmosphere we created, one of the old New York and celluloid film, when the great movie stars walked the streets.

The Most Iconic Movies and Famous Movie Scenes in NYC

The Most Iconic Movies and Famous Movie Scenes in NYC

Of the numerous iconic New York movies, here is a list of our personal favorite scenes. Follow along to see which scenes you can recognize, and which films need to be put on the list for immediate review.

Here are 9 Most Famous Movie Scenes in NYC:

1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

If Breakfast at Tiffany’s brought you a love of New York, you are certainly not alone. Audrey Hepburn incited many young girls’ enticement of the big city and the romantic lure of finding love in the reflection at Tiffany’s. Hepburn forever glamorized the little black dress, pearls and big sunglasses, all essential to a girl’s attainable dream or glitz, glamour and being adored in New York.

2. The Seven Year Itch (1955)

The Seven Year Itch gave the world one of women’s most iconic images: Marilyn Monroe over the subway gates, white dress flying up toward an unexacting yet unembarrassed face and a glimpse of her white panties for all the world to see. Marilyn freed productivity for women in this scene and romanticized the unending moments of the unexpected in the city.

Marilyn Monroe

3. Big (1988)

Can one ever forget Tom Hanks waking up as a man-child, living his dream at the toy store, ordering a pinball machine and trampoline to his unfathomably large loft? One scene in the movie you can still recreate around the city is the infamous toe-tapping dance to Heart and Soul along the FAO Schwartz piano floor.

4. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Another classic, Meg Ryan’s dramatized pleasure scene in the seat at Katz’ Deli is still famous and mimicked by people all over the world.

5. Taxi Driver (1976)

One of Martin Scorsese’s most beloved films, Taxi Driver, has scenes shot at the Time Square Adult Film Theatre, where a young Robert De Niro displays oddly engaging inappropriate dating behavior.

6. Ghostbusters (1984)

Could we make this list without including Ghostbusters and its winning cast of Bill Murray, Harold Ramos and Dan Aykroyd? Of course not, not to mention the classic’s prominent scenes in New York Public Library where you can still imagine your ghost busting skills, today.

7. Manhattan (1979)

Manhattan iconized Sutton Place Park and marked it as a forever setting for budding, established or long-fought-for love. If not for Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, the romantic city alcove might still be left known to only a wandering few.

8. Miracle on 34th St. (1947)

A holiday classic, Miracle on 34th St. popularized the Macy’s storefront in midtown Manhattan and charmed it into a wildly romantic place that today’s residents know it not to become the dizzying holiday shopping season.

9. Home Alone 2 (1992)

Ah, Kevin McCallister’s infamous vacation to The Plaza Hotel, where robbers were a phone call to security away and the robed room-service life was in reach. Christmas in New York is romanticized for many reasons, not least of them, Macaulay Culkin running around free in the city in his youth.

Did you recognize the places mentioned in the movie scenes above? Let us know which scenes are your favorites and if any classics we missed should be put on the list.

George’s at Kaufman Astoria Studios stands to embrace the modern New York lifestyle while celebrating its historical Hollywood roots. Immerse yourself in infectious live music and curious libations for a taste of fine dining in a Hollywood setting from decades past.

How to Make the Best Eggs Benedict – According to Top Michelin Chefs

How to Make the Best Eggs Benedict - According to Top Michelin Chefs

Michelin stars are the ultimate prize for aspiring and long-time chefs, alike. They mark a true test of culinary skill, a reputable kitchen to cook in and amongst many expertise on the coveted list of capabilities: the secret to world-class eggs benedict.

Creating the perfect poached egg can be strenuous but upon completion, it is a spectacle of gold and a badge of kitchen honor.

Today, we look at out how a few top Michelin chefs go about poaching their eggs and bringing the classic brunch item to some the luckiest diners around the world so that you can bring this same experience to your family and friends at home.

How to Make the Best Eggs Benedict:

  • Cook the Bacon
  • Boil the water
  • Craft a hollandaise
  • Poach the eggs
  • Toast the muffins
  • Assemble the dish

Making eggs benedict is as easy as the steps above, but a few chefs weigh in on how to make the classic even better.

Crack the eggs

Wylie Dufresne swears by, first things first, cracking the eggs to ease the transition of their eventual migration into the water.

Boil the water

Boil and turn the heat off – it’s not backwards. Dufresne also suggests bringing water to a boil, then turn the heat off before introducing the eggs. This keeps eggs from overcooking or becoming rubbery.

Perfect shape

Add a splash of vinegar to the boiling water to cradle a reliable shape for your eggs benedict. Obviously, be careful not to add too much vinegar to the water. You neither want to allow a vinegary taste to develop nor create a water texture that cooks the outside of eggs into a leather-like skin.

Motion is lotion

Gently stir the boiling water to cool it down and to keep the eggs from touching when you slide them in. Careful not to plop the eggs! Slide them right in and cook for about four minutes, depending on preference.

The Hollandaise

Hollandaise is one of those flavors that depends heavily on its ingredients and preparation to walk the fine line of too much or too little.

Dufresne goes with four yolks, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of salt is all it takes to create the base of hollandaise. Whisk while taking the pan and off of heat, so as not to cook the egg-based sauce, creating a smooth consistency before adding the butter little by little to the hollandaise, careful to avoid overloading the emulsion.

Emmanuel Stroobant perfects the recipe by squeezing the lemon into your palm and through your fingers and pouring the Hollandaise sauce into an espuma canister until it’s ready to be poured on.

Heston Blumenthal suggests incorporating white wine vinegar as an acidic base to the hollandaise, as well as adding shallots and white peppercorns for a bit of added flavor. Keep the water a perfectly balanced warm for perfect cooking.The Hollandaise

A brioche base

Instead of English muffins, Stroobant also suggests tasting brioche in a buttered pan for the eggs benedict base.

Perfect presentation

If you are looking for a manicured poached egg, Dufresne goes with an ice bath, cooling the egg down just enough to allow you to shape it to your desire (keep the bath timely; less than a minute).

George’s at Kaufman’s live jazz restaurant is more than any classic dive with rich roots that you can expect to find. Visit us to get your fill of live music by rising stars, to enjoy excellent service with impeccable attention to detail and craft cocktails that will have you ready to discover your mixology talents upon the night’s end.

Food Spotting: George’s

Georges at Kaufman Astoria


Gjovalin Nikçi was a high-schooler when he first saw Groucho Marx, in the Marx Brothers film The Cocoanuts.

“He was a brilliant, brilliant performer,” Nikçi said. “They didn’t even have to say anything—just their body language.” It ignited a mania that has followed Nikçi throughout his career: Marx’s likeness appeared in the logo for a restaurant Nikçi opened in 1997, and for another, he opened in 2000. So it was almost fated that Nikçi would oversee a venue Marx himself once frequented: George’s at Kaufman Astoria Studios.

In January, the Astor Room, the bistro previously housed within Kaufman, closed for renovations. Mid-process, studio chairman George Kaufman, responsible for revitalizing the production site in the mid-’80s, died. When the restaurant reopened in March, anchored by a new menu, bar manager, chef and emphasis on its old Hollywood heritage, it was christened George’s in his memory. The new restaurant occupies an old space: Kaufman Astoria Studios was a Paramount Pictures lot in the days of founder Adolph Zukor; what is now George’s was then its commissary.

As Paramount’s mothership, the studio once hosted productions like The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers, another Marx Brothers film, the Gloria Swanson film Manhandled and The Sheik with Rudolph Valentino. By day, it’s still a functioning studio space; to access the subterranean restaurant, one must pass sound stages where Muppets and Jennifer Lopez alike film their shows, catering trucks and craft services tents lining the sidewalk.

gjovalin nikci raises a glass in georges

By night, the main building goes quiet, while down a vintage marble staircase, in a dining room lined with the original hand-painted tiles, George’s is just waking up. On a recent weekend evening, two middle-aged women split a Tarte Tatin while a young family wrapped up their meal; at the bar, couples tucked into cocktails and French fries.

George’s, even more than its predecessor, pays homage to its Hollywood heritage, with a handful of Prohibition-themed bourbon drinks, live music “to keep it jazzy,” as assistant manager Sarah Epstein explains, and dishes inspired by classic Hollywood stars’ dining habits.

Nikçi plumbed New York Times archives from the ’20s and ’30s for inspiration: For famously vegetarian Gloria Swanson, he included a grilled vegetable starter, a collage of radicchio, asparagus, eggplant, carrot and fennel; for Marx, there was, until recently, New England clam chowder, reportedly his favorite meal, paired with animal crackers.

John Valentino

The cocktail menu, concocted by bar manager Jamie Ricalde, often takes inspiration from movies and series shooting upstairs. (“Orange Is the New Peach,” a vodka-laced iced tea inspired by the series Orange Is the New Black, joined the summer roster.)

The restaurant’s offerings, devised by Nikçi and chef Claudio Fajardo, are united by a tendency to play with unexpected ingredients. For example: A vegan cauliflower soup spiked with white chocolate or a Coca-Cola-marinated pork chop. Astoria native Tony Bennett, who recorded his duet album with Lady Gaga at Kaufman, recommended more pasta on the menu— specifically, his mother’s lasagna, which includes a hint of nutmeg. And Nikçi commissioned six-foot-long spaghetti, an oddity actor Rudolph Valentino once cooked as a parlor trick, from Borgatti’s Ravioli & Egg Noodles in the Bronx.

Between the studio lot’s rich history and the restaurant’s ambitious menu, which changes monthly, there’s plenty to mine for inspiration for future dishes. When we spoke, Nikçi was already onto his next project: a dish from a Buenos Aires restaurant named for an Argentine tango dancer who made several films at Paramount in the ’20s.

Naturally, baked into the recipe is a dramatic, continent-spanning tale. If you sit down with Nikçi, he’ll surely tell you all about it.

George’s | @georgesatkaufman
Kaufman Astoria Studios | @kaufmanastoria

A Brief New York Pizza History

A Brief New York pizza history

Pizza has been having a moment, especially since social media has made possible its constant forefront on the minds of so many millennials on any given day of the week.

What makes the simple slice of heaven so pervasive in today’s culture? Actually, popularity is nothing new when it comes to pizza. The pepperoni paparazzi might be avidly photographing gooey cheeses and fluffy crusts across the nation, but pizza has longtime enjoyed a spotlight in New York.

Let’s take a look at where New York Pizza History began:

True beginnings

While New York is undeniably famous for pizza, we must tip our hats to the original pizza makers across the Atlantic. From Naples, Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries as well as ancient Greeks and Egyptians, chefs have been concocting spins around the classic flatbread indulgence for many centuries.

Introduction to New York

Gennaro Lombardi is credited with the onset of pizza sales in Little Italy at the turn of the 20th century, which is not so far back in time at all. The pizzeria quickly got its footing in the city, expanding into more locations and today, holding its ground as one of the best pizzas in New York City.

New York pizza is different – but why?

Is it the competition? The Brooklyn-based movie scenes with actors eating double-folded pizza slices on top of kitchen counters? The countless chefs in the city’s boroughs competing to make a name for themselves?

Some arguments exist for New York’s watermarking the defining quality of pizza; so much so, that some of the most established pizzerias across the nation ship water from New York to their restaurants in hopes of matching the taste of the city’s pizza, perfectly. On this logic, it is the natural minerals present in New York water that create the notable NYC flavor and impossibly perfect pizza fold.

New York pizza is also classically huge. Pizzas are typically made in 18” pies so that slices can be sold as a meal and pieces are can be folded and eaten on the go. Most days in New York do not afford residents the luxury of long lunches and hours cutting perfect bites out of pizza pies. Busy lives demand long hours and jam-packed days, which makes the easy grab-and-go favorite an especially iconic hallmark of NYC.

It could also be all that gluten. We get it, the world is growing slowly more conscious of the foods they consume, banning faithfully gluten, sugar, refined starches and most of the foods we’ve grown up eating and loving and revolving life around. In New York, pizza is still rich in gluten and all the great ingredients that have fueled the fuelers of the city’s health and economy for the last york pizza slice

An immobile staple of the city

Whatever the reason is for the superiority of New York City pizza, one thing is for certain: pizza isn’t going anywhere. The city has built days, nights, moments, movies and too many memories around the culinary classic and we’ll always be proud to be pizza’s home in the U.S.A.

George’s at Kaufman Astoria Studios offers private dining to over 100 guests at a time, offering superior service and treasured cuisine with a nod to old Hollywood stars and culinary favorites, daily. Stop in to experience some of NYC’s top rising musical talent, experience the delectable delights of Chef Claudio Fajardo and catch a glimpse of how your favorite classic Hollywood actors dined and spent those days at the studio.

Step Foot Into Old Hollywood at George’s at Kaufman

georges at kaufman

Astoria is home to some serious movie magic. Productions like Sesame StreetOrange is the New BlackNurse Jackie, and Blue Bloods, have all been created right here at Kaufman Astoria Studios. Maybe you’ve heard of the studio itself, but if you haven’t visited George’s restaurant next door at 35-11 35th Ave you’re missing out!

George’s at Kaufman Astoria Studios is a national landmark that contains an expansive history. The campus was founded by Adolph Zukor and Jesse Laskey and later became home to Paramount Pictures. Within their twenty-year residence over 120 silent films and “talkies” were produced on site.

In WW2, the establishment was taken over by the US Army and became a top-secret base which produced every moving image seen by the armed forces until the ’70s. The studio remained in disuse until what we now know as The Museum of the Moving Image, reopened the stages for a 1977 production of “The Wiz”.

However, it was in 1980, that George S. Kaufman would be recruited to renovate and expand the national landmark, thus reviving the neighborhood with it.

Today, George’s restaurant has a beautiful dining room with original marble tiles. The newspaper style menu offers meals inspired by movie stars favorite dishes like Gloria Swanson’s veggie plate and Groucho Marx’s clam chowder.

If you happen to go to George’s be sure to try their beef tartar as an appetizer. This unbelievable blend is made of diced filet mignon and topped with a scotch egg.

Drinks at George’s are made by their talented bartender Jamie.

She served us up two of George’s most popular drinks. “George’s”, a fusion of George Kaufman’s two favorite things: scotch and cookies. This drink blends scotch and Frangelico for a new spin on a “Godfather” style cocktail. The next drink we tried was the aptly named, “Marx Brother’s Mezcal” which brought together mezcal, mango, jalapeno, and grapefruit bitters.

For dinner, try Georges famous six-foot long Valentino pasta. This dish is made tableside and is made up of fresh spaghetti, Italian sausage, mushrooms and Valentino’s own tomato sauce recipe.

Georges famous six-foot long Valentino pasta

If you want something with more protein, try the Groucho Duck. This piece of Long Island Duck Breast was served with reduced port wine, sweet potato puree, and a wild Swedish lingonberries sauce.
Apart from their fantastic entrees, bar snacks at George’s are unmatched. Instead of bar nuts, patrons can opt to try their delicious Cajun spice maple brown sugar bacon.
Musical accompaniment with dinner can make any evening feel more elegant. George’s came to life this night with live music played beautifully on the piano.

live music played beautifully on the piano

Overall, there is an ambiance at George’s restaurant that cannot be compared. Each dish and drink alike all pay homage to the stars of the silver screen. An evening at George’s feels like stepping into Old Hollywood. George’s is the ultimate testament to George Kaufman and his legacy in Astoria.

SOURCE: Never Ending Astoria

Top 5 Trending Modern Jazz Musicians

modern jazz musicians

Jazz musicians include legendary names like that of Miles David, John Coltrane and Nat King Cole. These are some of the most famous jazz musicians but today a new face of jazz is emerging. With a refreshing new way to break out of classic American jazz, artists are creating something unlike anything before.

Here are just 5 top trending famous modern jazz musicians changing up the scene and taking it anywhere but old school.

Esperanza Spalding

At only thirty-two years of age, Spalding shows off her proficiency on the violin with ease. Starting at the age of just 5 years old, her talent was evident and still is. Today, Esperanza has released four albums making her one of the top modern-day jazz singers to start listening to. Her most recent project includes a three-day live stream recording. Be sure to check it out! Her smooth base, sweet violin and sensual vocals are soothing and easy to love.

Gregory Porter

A California-based musician considered to be the next great male jazz singer by NPR is one to watch. Gregory’s career began over 20 years ago, however, when his feet hit the streets of Harlem, his music began to really shine. It was at Nick’s Pub that this new jazz drew in people to hear his stunning vocals. His album Liquid Spirit, earned him a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2013. Look for Gregory Porter amongst this year’s most famous modern jazz musicians.

Robert Glasper

This producer and pianist is not your average artist. As one of the most innovative modern-day jazz singers Robert Glasper clearly stands out in the world of jazz. Considering that the 2012 release, Black Radio received a Grammy Award for Best R&B album in 2013 many people are realizing just how smooth he really is. Glasper has already worked with famous modern jazz musicians including Terence Blanchard and Christian McBride and today, you’ll find his newly released album, Everything’s Beautiful, includes unique remixes of classics including some from Miles Davis and other A-list musicians.  

Cécile McLorin Salvant

She was singing and playing piano as early as the age of 10. Born to a French mother and a Haitian father, her Miami, Florida home was one filled with music and vocal improvisation. Over time these musical musings became award-winning. With the 2010 debut album, Cécile, she earned the attention of many people and soon after, in 2010 Cécile won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition. Look for her stunning vocals on any of her albums. For One to Love a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Perhaps that’s one to start with.

Marquis Hill

Starting out with the drums, Marquis began his career as a jazz musician in the fourth grade. Even this early in life, he was able to impress listeners on the South Side of Chicago. Within this rough environment, Marquis was still able to shine and then when he took up the trumpet he really found himself. Today, Marquis has received numerous awards including the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition. Marquis’ trumpeting abilities are more than simply skilled. Look for his 2016 album, The Way We Play, on Concord Records.

Modern day jazz singers develop some of the most exciting music of today. While classic jazz artists include Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington and Louis Daniel Armstrong these 5 famous modern jazz musicians bring something new to the table. Enjoy their new and old albums to wake up your playlist.  

If you’re looking for live jazz in Queens accompanied with authentic American cuisine and Hollywood setting, come to George’s At Kaufman Studios.

A Kiss for Cinderella: The Play & The Movie

betty bronson a kiss for cinderella

A Kiss for Cinderella is more than just a child’s fantasy. The name is actually referring to a silent film produced in 1925. Directed by Herbert Brenon, the film stars Betty Bronson, Esther Ralston, and Tom Moore.

The story is based on a 1916 play in which Cinderella, a servant girl who believes in fairies is suspected of aiding the enemy. Ultimately, she is cleared of all suspicion but only with the diligent help of many mice, a pumpkin, and her own dreams. All of this is acted out both on stage as a play in the original 1916 version of, A Kiss for Cinderella, as well as the 1925 version on the silver screen.

The limited success of the 1924 release, Peter Pan, included director Herbert Brenon and actress Betty Bronson. Both J.M. Barrie plays, A Kiss for Cinderella, is different from Peter Pan in that Bronson plays Jane, a poor London servant caring for orphans suffering through economic hardship and emotional deprivation only alleviated by the power of her own imagination.

Through her dreams, Jane lives inside of her own fantasy world where she is Cinderella. She knows that one day soon she will receive the invitation to the Prince’s ball and that will free her from poverty in London wartime. Even these dark days are no match for Jane’s imagination which will take you too on a luminous ride through charming stories played by Betty Bronson.  

A Kiss for Cinderella 1916 – The Play

The play, written by James M. Barrie was first produced on Broadway in 1916. Originally starring Maude Adams the play opened on Christmas Day, 1916 at the Empire Theatre in New York. After 152 performances it was made into a silent feature film, A Kiss for Cinderella, by Paramount Pictures starring Betty Bronson.

Basically, the story of a poor girl in London taking care of small children as she wishes for more is the same in both the play and the film. Dreaming of a better life that includes a handsome Prince Charming, Jane manifests her dreams into reality and gets out of her impoverished state in the film, however, the story is slightly different on stage.

A Kiss for Cinderella 1925 – The Movie

This black and white silent film evokes a fantasy world so complete it may take you away. As Betty Bronson takes on the persona of Cinderella in her imagination, she falls asleep waking to find that her dream has become reality. Then, as she finds herself in the arms of a policeman (Prince Charming) Bronson takes on new dimensions. Her stunning performance rivals another title role – Peter Pan.

Despite its fairytale sounding title, A Kiss for Cinderella, is not a happy film. Silent audiences of the time may have struggled to find a way to take in the film without revealing their disappointment in this fact.

Overall, the importance of fantasy may be the most valuable lesson of this layered silent film as financially it was considered a failure. Today, the film is well-known as a wonderful release by Paramount and worth investing in. Regardless, A Kiss for Cinderella is remarkable that deserves your attention. Even if it was not appreciated in its own time, it is one of the most beloved films of the silent era due to its undeniable charm.

If you watch both the play and the movie you may notice that the first half of the film is very similar to the stage play. Although, in the film, Bronson is supported by a talented cast and so she is able to command the role more easily. Film renditions of, A Kiss for Cinderella, oftentimes fall short of this level of acting. Either way, you will enjoy every minute of this great fantasy classic.

A Kiss for Cinderella: The Play & The Movie and More …

Today, you may find that the black and white silent film, A Kiss for Cinderella, is just what you need to take your mind away. There are a very few films today that have the same ability to capture your attention in a way that is so visually soothing and imaginatively stimulating.

If you are looking for a unique Hollywood experience in Queens, NY, come to our Hollywood themed restaurant! Check out the cocktail menu for the best signature cocktails.

Feature image credit

3 Classic Cocktails of the Prohibition Era (Plus DIY Recipes)

Men and women in classy dress, with styles from a 1940s, post-Prohibition-era speakeasy.

The Golden age of cocktails during the 1920’s-30’s was when drinks like the Martini and Daiquiri were created. It is also when liquor was illegal and of course, because the prohibition of alcohol was strictly enforced, cocktails had to be served at speakeasies.

Image of women in the prohibition era.

These underground bars were the birthplace of some of today’s most infamous adult beverages including the French 75 and the Sidecar.

Back when prohibition era cocktails were served at speakeasies, mixologists were creative and festive in drink making.

In fact, mixers back then came up with some of the most delicious and intoxicating adult beverages enjoyed by names like Elizabeth Short, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.

These are still asked for by name in many bars today. You can order them by name or you can make them at home with these DIY recipes for classic cocktails of the prohibition era.

Here are just 3 of the most iconic prohibition era cocktails:

The Bee’s Knees.


Image of famous prohibition cocktail, the Bee's Knees
Image credits to The Kitchen is My Playground.

Back during the prohibition era, people used the phrase this is the “bee’s knees,” as slang to describe something they liked. Calling something the bee’s knees meant that it was the best.

Today, you can get these classic cocktails of the prohibition era in a variety of flavors. They used to make it with bathtub gin back in the 1920’s but today you can use this recipe to sweeten the taste of this drink.

Bee’s Knees Cocktail Ingredients:

  •     2 oz Gin
  •     Juice from a  ½ fresh lemon
  •     Drizzle of real honey


Combine all of the ingredients together in a shaker along with ice. Shake and then strain the liquid into a chilled cocktail glass of your choice. Then, top the classic beverage with a lemon slice and enjoy this buzz-worthy drink!

Whiskey Smash.

Image of Whiskey Smash or Mint Julep a sweet cocktail originated in the southern United States. This cocktail is family of the "smash drinks" like the mojito and brandy smash. It is made with bourbon, sugar, mint leaves, water and ice;

Also commonly known as mint julep, this cocktail has a twist of citrus flavor all its own. The bright and flavorful drink is easy to fall for with its potent flavor profile.

Whiskey Smash Ingredients:

  •     4 oz seltzer water
  •     4 oz top-shelf whiskey
  •     1/2 ounce simple syrup (1:1, sugar/water)
  •      Fresh mint sprigs and berries to garnish
  •     Cracked or crushed ice


Combine the sugar, seltzer water and mint in a mixing glass and stir. Then, add the ice and whiskey until fully combined. Strain the liquid into stemware of your choice and garnish with a freshly pinched mint sprig and a sliced lemon wheel. It’s smashingly good!

American Velvet.

Image of American Velvet cocktail made out of champagne and Guinness.

Image credits: TablespoonThis drink is simple yet elegant and oh-so-rich with a fizzy pop. Say “Cheers,” to a thick drink that somehow is also light and fun.

American Velvet Ingredients:

  •     Guinness
  •     Champagne


Using either a pint glass or a champagne flute, fill the glass up halfway with beer. Because it’s Guinness the beer will leave a thick, heavy foam on top of the glass. That’s the best part, so let the beer settle before adding the champagne to reduce overflow.

After about 3 minutes, pour the champagne into the glass and allow it to settle into the legendary rich Black Velvet texture this American classic cocktail is known for.  

You don’t have to be a mixologist to pull together these classic cocktails of the prohibition era.

In fact, you can blend these drinks together in just minutes any time you want to take a trip back into the early 1900’s when prohibition era cocktails also included the Tuxedo, Mamie Taylor, the Southside and Old Fashioned.

Each of these drinks is ideal for when your bartender falls short and you want to jazz things up at home with a DIY drink recipe.

Mochi and Pastries by Day, Cocktails by Night in the West Village

Inside George's at Kaufman Astoria.

By Florence Fabricant


LA MAISON DE MAKOTO This dessert shop and lounge, LMDM for short, was announced with some fanfare last fall as Philippe Conticini, the Parisian chef and baker, was to be involved. No more. The owners, Andrea Rodrik, a 21-year-old Swiss-Turkish entrepreneur who has strong opinions about fine baked goods, and the consultant Omar Salahi, who has some experience in New York’s hotel world, have hired a veteran chef, Richard Farnabe, and a former Petrossian pastry chef, Chris Dunbar, to execute their vision. Mr. Rodrik’s idea is to offer mochi, the Asian-style ice cream cloaked in elastic, pounded Japanese rice, along with just two classic French pastries, a Paris-Brest cream-puff ring filled with pastry cream, and a tarte Tropézienne layered with cake and cream. There may be variations down the road. These will be served to eat-in, on velvety gray lounge chairs and at a handsome bar, or to take away during the day. In the evening, the whole place, including the lounge upstairs, will serve cocktails and small plates of cold items like hamachi crudo and tuna tartare, along with the mochi and pastries. Why such a limited menu? “We want a niche, so people will know what to expect,” Mr. Rodrik said, adding, “and they’re very Instagrammable.” You eat with your eyes. (Opens Monday): 74-76 Seventh Avenue South (Barrow Street).


OMAR AT VAUCLUSE Ahmass Fakahany and Michael White are giving new personality to the bar and upstairs dining room of their lavish Upper East Side French restaurant. It will be run by Omar Hernandez, a native of Venezuela who owns Omar’s La Ranita, a supper club in Greenwich Village, and who is now their collaborator, adding some downtown energy. “I was looking to open uptown, and this came along,” Mr. Hernandez said. “I want to bring more fun to the Upper East Side; it’s having a revival, and I want to be part of that.” He has added a glittering disco ball to the décor. The menu, by Mr. White, will be international, with dishes like a crab salad, chicken tagine, cacio e pepe and a burger. (Wednesday): 100 East 63rd Street, 917-410-2991.

GRAIN HOUSE This restaurant based in Little Neck, Queens, with a vast menu that includes eight categories of Sichuan dishes, has ventured into Manhattan. It’s near Columbia University because, it seems, students from China have taken a shine to the restaurant. There’s also a branch in Hempstead, on Long Island, with a wide-ranging Chinese menu: 929 Amsterdam Avenue (105th Street), 212-531-1130.

GEORGE’S After closing for renovations, the former Astor Room, in the space that was the commissary for Paramount Pictures at the Kaufman Astoria Studios, has been renamed in honor of George S. Kaufman, who founded the studios in 1980 and who died last month. The menu was revised to offer tie-ins with movie greats, like six-foot strands of spaghetti with tomato sauce that were a favorite of Rudolph Valentino. (Thursday): 35-11 35th Avenue (35th Street), Astoria, Queens, 718-255-1947,