October 17: Al Capone Guilty

al-capone-mugshot-1Alphonse Gabriel Capone: Bootlegger, pimp, racketeer, briber, murderer and sometimes philanthropist. All of that came to an end on October 17, 1931 when Capone was found guilty of tax evasion.

During Prohibition, Capone essentially controlled Chicago, bribing city officials and given free reign to commit criminal acts. After the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929, Bureau of Prohibition agent Eliot Ness was called in to help stop Capone’s reign of terror. After trying to find a way to get Capone on his major criminal activities, a member of Ness’ team, Treasury Department Bureau of Internal Revenue agent Frank J. Wilson, began investigating Capone’s income tax violations and soon enough, Capone was indicted for income tax evasion and various Volstead Act violations.

Capone tried to use every dirty trick in the book to win the case including attempting to intimidate or bribe the jury. However, Ness’ team got wind of Capone’s plans, and they had the jurors switched with a jury pool from another case, and Capone’s attempt to avoid justice failed. So, after a lengthy trial the jury returned a mixed verdict on October 17, 1931. In the end, the Volstead charges were dropped, Capone was found guilty of five counts of tax evasion and failing to file tax returns. Capone would go to jail for eight years, including five years at Alcatraz, and by the time he got out of jail his health had seriously deteriorated (brain damage caused by syphilis had reduced his mental capacity to that of a 12 year old) and the end of Prohibition had dried up his main source of revenue. Capone would die at his mansion in Florida in 1947.

I was initially going to bust this drink out for Tax Day, but the anniversary of Capone’s conviction also seems like an appropriate time to sip on an Income Tax Cocktail. It’s a mix of gin and vermouths, sweetened by orange juice and, unlike paying your taxes, it is delightful.

Income Tax Cocktail

  • 2 ounces Gin
  • 1/4 ounce Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/4 ounce Dry Vermouth
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 2 dash Angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange wheel.

Tomorrow: “Go Johnny, Go”

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