To celebrate the home entertainment release of Boardwalk Empire: Season One come January 9th, 2012, HBO and Premier PR put on a wonderful evening’s entertainment at The Nightjar in London late last week, and it was probably one of the best press events we’ve ever been to.
Kicking off with a glass or two or champagne – on unlimited supply throughout – soon the hors d’oeuvres were flowing too before something from the real reason why we were there that night.
With tasters from a bottle of circa 1863 Hannisville rye whisky passing around, discussion turned to the Prohibition era in which Boardwalk Empire is set. It’s fair to say the rye whisky was strong – a sniff of the stuff gave you the shivers never mind a sip – but that’s how they had to do it back then.
With alcohol illegal, and generally transported or stored in medicine bottles to pretend an alternate purpose, spirits were on the stronger side so you didn’t have to hit the bar 10 times before you were feeling a little jazzed.
What the 150-year old whiskey lacked perhaps in subtlety the following cocktails made up for in flavour. Serving up a number of Prohibition inspired drink including the Scofflaw Nation (40ml bourbon, 15ml Ratafia, 10ml dry vermouth, 10ml juice, 10ml grenadine Dash orange bitters) and the Atlantic City Sour (50ml bourbon, 20ml sugar syrup, 25ml lemon juice, Half egg white, Dash bitters, 10ml spiced wine, served over one huge ice cube (read: block) aside a charred meringue), we were taken through how to made each perfectly, accompanied by some rather unauthadox shaking by the barman on hand.
After some “amusing” jokes by the self-appointed “comedian” in attendance it was through to the main room and a preview of some extras due to ship with the Season One boxsets. They were pretty great too.
Actor Greg Antonacci took to the streets of Chicago to meet up with the owners of the great city’s famous speakeasies (a clip of which we’ll be exclusively posting soon) before Michael Stuhlbarg and Vincent Piazza took up the reigns in New York City. Some of the hidden doors, secret room and falling shelves that drop their bottles to smash and release the illegal liquor within straight into the sewers were remarkable and the featurette is a must-watch.
When the credits rolled a traditional band again took to the stage, this time accompanied by two hired swing dancers just in front. Our joker from above was back in on the action as some of the evening’s attendees got involved too. And that was pretty much it. From there on in, the alcohol kept flowing, although you don’t need me to delve into our belated drunkenness, let me just ensure you that it was a wonderfully Boardwalk Empire-inspired night and you should be sure to pick up the Season One boxset come January 9th, 2012.