Portrait of Virginia Hill
The Underground at The Mob Museum announces winning entry
Name references Virginia Hill, infamous Chicago outfit courier and girlfriend of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel
Following an Instagram contest that generated more than 30 entries, The Mob Museum, The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, announced the winning name for The Underground distillery’s artisan copper-pot moonshine still: “Virginia Still.” Submitted by Instagram user @sam.sees.earth, the name provides a playful twist on the name of one of the more intriguing and notorious organized crime figures with a Las Vegas connection, Virginia Hill.
About Virginia Hill
Hill, once referred to as the “Queen of the Mob,” was a courtesan and entrusted cash courier for infamous American gangsters from the 1930s through the 1940s. She began her career as the apprentice of Mob bookmaker Joe Epstein in Chicago, before rising higher than any other woman in the nation’s underworld, an equal among infamous male racketeers such as Meyer Lansky, Joe Adonis, Frank Costello, Johnny Rosselli, Charles and Joe Fischetti, Tony Accardo, Frank Nitti, William “Ice Pick Willie” Alderman, Jack Dragna and, most famously, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. In 1945, she joined Siegel for the fateful building, opening, closing and reopening of Siegel’s syndicate-financed Flamingo hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Rumors swirled that by 1947, Siegel had skimmed $2 million of the Flamingo’s building “costs” of $6 million, giving it to Hill to hide in a Swiss bank.
All told, Hill’s organized crime career was alleged to include directing drug trafficking out of Mexico, money laundering, using sexual acts to coerce information out of men and the collection and delivery of racket-earned cash. She was eventually subpoenaed by the Kefauver Committee, the U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce in 1951 and was indicted on tax-evasion charges. She moved to Europe with her Austrian ski instructor husband, Hans Hauser, and son; there her movements were monitored by U.S. and Interpol agents and she was suspected of having deposited as much as $5 million in Swiss banks for the underworld. Hill died of a drug overdose in 1966.
About The Underground’s Artisan Pot Still
The Underground’s artisan copper-pot still was custom-made for the Museum by CARL Artisan Distilleries and Brewing Systems in Germany, that country’s oldest fabricator. Situated in The Underground’s distillery, the system distills corn-mash moonshine, which is available at the speakeasy bar and for sale in The Underground. The still has a capacity of 60 gallons and can distill approximately 250 bottles of 750 ml moonshine per week.
Guests touring The Underground will learn about Prohibition-era bootlegging and rum running. Prohibition shut down thousands of breweries and distilleries across America, but it could not eliminate the public’s desire for alcohol. It simply forced the brewing and distilling of booze into the shadows, contributed significantly to the rise and proliferation of the Mob in America.
Numerous artifacts found in the distillery and speakeasy add depth and context to the experience. Items to be on display include a beaded chiffon dress, ca. 1926, which is an example of the new and bolder fashions that became popular during the Prohibition era due to the rise of flapper culture, as well as a 5-gallon whiskey still, one of the smaller home stills used to make alcohol during Prohibition.
In addition to house-distilled moonshine, The Underground speakeasy features house-brewed craft beer and distilled vodka as well as tempting Prohibition era-inspired cocktails, draft beer, wines by the glass and non-alcoholic drinks.
About The Mob Museum
The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, provides a world-class, interactive journey through true stories—from the birth of the Mob to today’s headlines. The Mob Museum offers a provocative, contemporary look at these topics through hundreds of artifacts and immersive storylines. Whether you like it or not, this is American history. It debuted a major renovation in 2018, including a Crime Lab, Use of Force Training Experience, and Organized Crime Today exhibit as well as The Underground, a basement-level Prohibition history exhibition featuring a working speakeasy and distillery and sponsored by Zappos. Since opening in 2012, The Mob Museum has accumulated numerous accolades, including being named one of TripAdvisor’s “Top 25 U.S. Museums,” one of Las Vegas Weekly’s “Twenty Greatest Attractions in Las Vegas History,” one of Hotel.com’s Top 7 “Travel Brag Landmarks,” one of USA Today’s “12 Can’t Miss U.S. Museum Exhibits,” “A Must for Travelers” by The New York Times, one of “20 Places Every American Should See” by Fox News and Budget Travel magazine, “Best Museum” by Nevada Magazine and is a multi-year winner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s “Best of Las Vegas” rankings. The Mob Museum has been awarded accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition afforded U.S. museums. General admission is $26.95 for adults ages 18 and over with special pricing for online purchase, children, seniors, military, law enforcement, Nevada residents, and teachers. The Museum is open daily; visit the website for up-to-date operating hours. For more information, call (702) 229-2734 or visit themobmuseum.org. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/themobmuseum or Twitter @themobmuseum.