Cocktails: The Scofflaw
Harry’s New York Bar in Paris has a rather historic reputation for its claim to be the birthplace of several classic cocktails including the Bloody Mary, Sidecar, and French 75. It was also well known in the 1920s and 30s as a regular watering hole for many 20th century literary and artistic giants such as Ernest Hemmingway, F Scott Fitzgerald, and George Gershwin. Gershwin is said to have composed An American in Paris at the piano bar in the basement of Harry’s. While he was working on what would become one of his best-known pieces, a cocktail was being served upstairs with a name meant to taunt the typical “American in Paris” so to speak.
Dictionary.com defines the word “scofflaw” as a person who habitually flouts or violates the law. The cocktail earned its name as a reference to the many Americans who were free to enjoy a drink or two in the City of Lights while their friends and family back home were in the middle of Prohibition. Although Canadian whisky was originally used (since there was no whiskey coming out of America), you’ll often see it made today with an American Rye or even bourbon from time to time.
The Scofflaw is a pretty straightforward drink to make and with the right proportions, you’ll have a smooth, refreshing balance of spicy, sweet, and bitter flavors. As with any cocktail, quality ingredients equal a quality drink. A nice spicy Rye around 100 proof works well here – I prefer Wild Turkey 101 Rye or Rittenhouse. Opt for a high-quality grenadine, made with real pomegranate juice, or make your own at home. And remember, Vermouth is wine and wine goes bad after its opened. If that bottle you picked up to make a couple of martinis one time has been open for more than 2-3 months, you should probably pick up a new bottle.
Making the Drink
2 oz Rye Whiskey
1 oz Extra Dry Vermouth
½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz Grenadine
2-3 dashes Orange Bitters
Orange Twist for garnish
- Start by filling a martini glass with ice cubes and water. Set aside to chill.
- Combine whiskey, vermouth, lemon juice, grenadine, and bitters in a shaker.
- Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
- Dump ice water out of martini glass and strain the cocktail into the glass.
- Garnish with an orange twist.