Brother, Can you Spare a Martini?

If the revival of Depression-era drinks has begun to hit a little too close to home—not to mention the wallet—take heart. High-end cocktail bars, ones that ordinarily serve 1930s favorites like Ramos Gin Fizzes and Singapore Slings for as much as $18, are offering drink deals that speak to contemporary economic concerns.

The Edison in LA, a rambling, plush retro-lounge, has gone so far as to introduce “The Soup Kitchen,” a happy hour on Fridays from 5 PM to 7 PM, with complimentary tomato soup, grilled cheese and “Depression era cocktails at Depression era prices!” (That’s about a 40 percent discount off what the regular menu charges.) The promotion, on through the winter, is plenty cheeky, but the Edison pledges that 25 percent of the net profits will be donated to local food banks and charities.

Meanwhile, Elixir, a spiffed up saloon dating back to 1858 in San Francisco, is offering a special menu of discounted spirits—and soon some cocktails—dubbed the “Elixir Economic Stimulus Plan 2010.” “The idea is to get people aware of the depth of our spirit library without being afraid to ask, how much is that?” says owner and advisor H. Joseph Ehrmann. It’s not mere marketing; the Tequila Ocho Anejo, which typically goes for $22 a glass, is $13 and the Talisker 18-Year-Old, normally $17, is now $12.

And there are even deals to be found in New York City, where Allen & Delancey recently launched $8 Cocktail Tuesday. Every Tuesday night patrons can quaff the bar’s signature cocktails, such as La Valencia (chamomile-infused rye, sherry, yellow chartreuse and lemon), at nearly half price. There’s also a 10 percent discount on bar food on Thursdays.

Now that’s what we call Depression chic.


Beaker & Flask, Portland, Oregon:

This new addition to Portland’s burgeoning bar scene has a happy hour Monday through Saturday, 5pm to 6pm. Inventive cocktails like Night and Fog (Cynar, sherry, ginger beer and bitters) are $5.

Bloom, Scottsdale, Arizona:

The bar at this sleek new American restaurant recently began offering a happy hour every day from 3 PM to 6 PM, when top-shelf cocktails like the Date Night—(ri)1 Whiskey, Averna, fresh dates, lemon and honey—go for just $5.

Copa d’Ora, Santa Monica, California:

Order a Clover Club (a 1931 concoction of gin, raspberry syrup, lemon juice and egg white) off this den-like bar’s “Happy Depression Menu” of $5 cocktails, and take comfort in the fact that “at least we’re not on the verge of another Prohibition,” as Copa puts it.

Recipes: La Valencia
Series & Type: Trends

From our Friends



  • Terry B. posted 8 years ago

    Brother,can you spare a Martini?Glad you asked,my friend.Yes,I can spare a martini or two,or three,or,four if you really want them.We in Arizona NEVER TURN DOWN SOMEONE THAT NEEDS A MARTINI,or two,or,three,or,four!!!What can I say? Drink hardy,my friend's.Have a great day,or,night,depending when you read this.

  • Rachel posted 8 years ago

    I salute the "discount" cocktail trend. It gives people with tight budgets a chance to still explore cocktails that would otherwise be on the no list because of price. Not so much a fan of the "super discount" cocktail trend, however; "Popov Budget Buster Martinis" doesn't sound good, but it's a popular trend in Michigan.

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