On a warm spring afternoon, around 70 people flowed into a hidden backyard in the historic Mile End neighbourhood of Montreal. They swayed to the sounds of rhythmic Jazz in English and Russian, nibbled on small bites with a Russian flare, and sipped on craft cocktails like cucumber celery mint Gin Rickey, White Lady and Maple Old Fashioneds. They spoke to one another, made new friends and reconnected with old ones. They dressed up, and they let their hair down. And without exception, all spoke one secret password to gain entrance to Jazz Bar: Prohibition – Daisy.
Taking place as part of Restaurant Day, a global movement to allow anyone with a passion of food to offer their creations to the public for a small price, Jazz Bar: Prohibition was my fourth event under the At the Immigrant’s Table brand (all events were brought to life with the partnership of the amazing Marina Privorotsky, who doesn’t have a website but really should). And while each event that preceded it was special in its own way, Jazz Bar: Prohibition wove a special magic of an entirely different kind: the magic of music.
Because Jazz Bar: Prohibition really transported you to another time. Between the nostalgic bites like Waldorf Salad and Pineapple Upside Down Cake and the unique jazz adaptations of classic Russian and English hits, it was easy to forget that you were standing in a private garden in Montreal of 2016. The 1920s-inspired outfits worn by nearly all guests also helped support the illusion. All together, it added up to weave a spell of a different kind, one that truly made you forget where you were.
And to me, that’s the stuff of dreams.
But now, let’s talk about the important stuff: the food. The drinks served at the event were all uniquely crafted, with homemade bitters and syrups and unexpected garnishes (daisies floating in wine glass, anyone?). They were a true celebration of style and flare and mixology, and I can thank our talented bartenders for bringing our vision to life with each glass. My favourite was the refreshing and herbaceous cucumber celery mint gin rickey, the recipe for which I bring you below.
The food all harkened back to the dishes made popular by the cocktail parties of the 1920s. Served in small portions and running the gamut from salad to dessert, all of our dishes were vegetarian (some were vegan, others gluten-free, and all were nut free). And with all due modesty, all dishes tasted amazing. In the weeks to come, I hope to share with you the recipes for some of my favourites, but here is the menu it its entirety:
Beet & peach salsa with mint
Waldorf salad with yogurt dressing
Wild nettle pie
Beetballs (beet meatballs) served on a bed of sauerkraut and topped with homemade horseradish aioli
Dill home fries with homemade mustard aioli
Pineapple upside down cake with sour cherries
It was a truly magical night. To see more photos from the event, check out our amazing photo album. To make sure you don’t miss future events, follow At the Immigrant’s Table on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin’, or Twitter, subscribe to my mailing list, or contact me about advertising and becoming a sponsor. If you make one of my recipes, don’t forget to tag it #immigrantstable @immigrantstable!
- ½ lime, juiced with rind
- 1½ to 2 ounces gin
- 1 tablespoon Cucumber Celery Mint Simple Syrup
- Club soda
- Cucumber slice, sliced diagonally, for garnish
- Celery spear, for garnish
- Fresh mint sprig, for garnish
- 2 spears of celery, cut into pieces
- 2 whole small cucumbers or half of a long English cucumber, cut into pieces
- 4 sprigs of mint
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- To make the Cucumber Celery Mint Simple Syrup, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and continue cooking on low-medium heat for 20 minutes (this can be done up to a week in advance. The simple syrup will keep in the fridge for months).
- In a tall glass filled with ice, squeeze the lime and drop the half into the glass.
- Add the gin and Cucumber Celery Mint Simple Syrup and top with club soda. Stir, garnish with a celery spear, cucumber slice and a sprig of mint, and serve.