Just two years after Prohibition began, a Literary Digest poll revealed that 1.3 million women wanted it repealed or modified. Among them was Pauline Morton Sabin, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt’s naval secretary and wife to Charles Sabin, president of J.P. Morgan’s Guaranty Trust Co.
Since Pauline and her husband were active in both political parties, she encountered many a “dry” politician who preached against the evils of drink in public, then demanded a cocktail with dinner at her house. Disgusted with such hypocritical behaviour, Pauline formed the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform in 1929.
Many of Pauline’s arguments were simply practical: she pointed out that before Prohibition, saloon owners would have their licenses revoked if they were caught selling booze to kids, but speakeasies served teens all the time. “This situation has become so acute that the mothers of the country feel something must be done to protect their children,” she said.
Prohibitionists and temperance leaders alike disapproved of her efforts. D. Leigh Colvin, chairman of the National Prohibition Committee, described her group as “Bacchantian maidens, parching for wine…who like the drunkards whom their program will produce, would take pennies off the eyes of the dead for the sake of legalizing booze.” Their disparaging remarks had little effect–the first year, WONPR boasted 100,000 members, and by the time Repeal went into effect, it claimed 1.5 million. In 1932, Pauline graced Time magazine’s cover.
When you celebrate Repeal Day this December 5th, lift a glass to Pauline. Even better, try her namesake cocktail below.
Recipe by Sonja Kassebaum, owner North Shore Distillery, Lake Bluff, Illinois
Named for Pauline Sabin, leader of the Prohibition Repeal movement, this drink is a riff on the famed French 75, a classic cocktail that usually is made with gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. This refreshing and highly aromatic spirit is made with real chamomile and real citrus fruits, and calls for North Shore Sol, which Sonja Kassebaum describes as “a gin without the juniper.” If you can’t get your hands on a bottle of Sol, try another citrus vodka or go traditional with your favorite gin.
1-½ oz. North Shore Sol chamomile citrus vodka
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. honey syrup (see recipe below)
2 oz. sparkling wine
glass: champagne flute
garnish: curl of lemon
Place the first three ingredients and ice into a shaker. Shake until well mixed and chilled, then strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine, then garnish with a curl of lemon.
Honey Syrup Recipe
Place 2 cups of honey and 1 cup of water into a small pot over medium high heat. Stir frequently until the honey is dissolved completely, and bring to a simmer. Let mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Cool completely, and pour into a clean glass container. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.