How To Drink Like a Gangster Series... from the Perspectives Happy Hour Bar
How you doin’? The last personality in my How to Drink Like a Gangster Series is Santo Trafficante—The Silent Don. Santo Trafficante was among the most powerful Mafia bosses in the United States. He headed the Trafficante crime family from 1954 to 1987 and controlled organized criminal operations in Florida and Cuba, which had previously been consolidated from several rival gangs by his father, Santo Trafficante Sr.
Trafficante maintained links to the Bonanno crime family in New York City but was more strongly allied with Sam Giancana in Chicago. Consequently, while recognized as the most powerful organized crime figure in Florida throughout much of the 20th century, Trafficante was not believed to have total control over Miami, Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, or Palm Beach. The east coast of Florida was a loosely knit conglomerate of New York family interests with links to Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Angelo Bruno, Carlos Marcello and Frank Ragano.
The mob in Tampa was never as large as its counterparts in the Northeast and Midwest. But despite its small size, the Trafficantes, Florida’s only Mafia family, controlled a vast swath of the Sunshine State and extended its tentacles into pre-Castro Cuba. Unlike Capone or Gotti, Trafficante was quiet and unassuming. He ran the Tampa family for more than 30 years, and stayed under the radar. He controlled, owned and operated casinos and was highly respected by Mafia bosses around the country who kissed the ring.
The Santo Trafficante Cocktail
Though it doesn’t contain the Florida don’s favorite scotch, J&B, this cocktail from New York-based Prohibition Distillers has a Sunshine State feel to it because of its layered orange flavors.
3 ounces orange-infused Bootlegger Vodka
1 ounce blood orange puree
1 ounce fresh orange juice
Dash of Campari
Float an orange wheel for garnish
ChefSecret: Bootlegger New York Vodka is made from 100% corn, which is slowly filtered through a proprietary charcoal filtration process then blended with the purist Catskill Mountain water to achieve a mild, silky-smooth finish.
Quip of the Day: “What’s a gangster’s least favorite food? Snitchel!”
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