Ken Burns' latest project is only the beginning of your journey back to the Prohibition era. Here are 10 recommendations, including a cocktail from the era like the gimlet, at left, that promise a foot-stomping, giggle-inducing, thought-provoking history lesson.

 "Louis Armstrong: Hot Fives and Sevens"

Satchmo revolutionized both jazz and vocal stylings, making him one of the 20th century's most important musical artists. His finest work from the 1920s is on this four-CD set, which includes "Potato Head Blues," "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "When You're Smiling."

 "Boardwalk Empire"

A powerful series about respect --and the lack of it -- among mob bosses, politicians and women in 1920s Atlantic City. The second season, which started last Sunday, has even more action and intrigue than the first, which is not yet available on DVD. (8 p.m. Sundays, HBO).


Sinclair Lewis' hilarious 1922 novel provides a good sense of America's corporate climate, and its yen for conformity, as seen through the eyes of an increasingly lost real-estate agent in a fictional Midwestern city.

The "Studs Lonigan" trilogy

James T. Farrell's protagonist is a two-fisted anti-Semite who survives a tough childhood in Chicago, only to find that being a man isn't what he expected. It's one of the great American tragedies, bridging post-World War I and the Great Depression.

"The Thin Man"

Nick (William Powell) and Nora (Myrna Loy) are only part-time detectives in this 1934 film, set in Prohibition New York City. Their real occupations: Functioning alcoholics, livening up every speakeasy they cross. One of the greatest comedies of all time.

"The Carter Family: 1927-1934"

Modern country music was largely invented by this trio, who tackled everything from Appalachian folk tunes to gospel ballads with impeccable harmonies and infectious guitar playing. This five-CD set includes all the classics, including "The Foggy Mountain Top" and "Worried Man Blues."

"Once Upon a Time in America"

Sergio Leone's 1984 gangster flick clocks in at nearly four hours, but it feels like 20 minutes, thanks to riveting performances by Robert De Niro and James Woods as poorhouse prospects who make it big in the 1920s.

"Road to Perdition"

Max Allan Collins' 1998 graphic novel, later turned into a Tom Hanks movie, features cameos from Al Capone and Eliot Ness, but the real star is an honorable mob enforcer who sacrifices all to protect his son.

"The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers: A Tribute"

We could sing the praises of this country legend, but why not let some musical superstars do it instead? Bono does "Dreaming With Tears in My Eyes," Bob Dylan does "My Blue Eyed Jane" and Alison Krauss does "Any Old Time" in this irresistible set of covers.

Gin gimlet

Prohibition-era cocktails are all the rage right now, and one of the best is made by Pip Hanson at Marvel Bar in downtown Minneapolis ( His gimlet is made with gin (not vodka), lime and a touch of Rose's lime juice. Hanson said the cocktail has origins in the British naval tradition, where gin would be paired with preserved lime juice to ward off scurvy. In Hanson's version, "fresh lime juice makes a fresh, bright cocktail," he said, "while the addition of a dash of Rose's gives the drink a mild, lime-peel funkiness."