Scofflaw Cocktail Recipe

An obscure, yet highly delicious Prohibition-Era cocktail made with rye, dry vermouth, orange bitters, and a touch of grenadine.

Scofflaw Cocktail Recipe

Introducing the Scofflaw cocktail. When I told Patty I was making a Scofflaw cocktail she was like “WHAT?! WHO?!” I had to say it three times before we were on the same page. “Why’s it called that? That’s a silly name!” I was under fire—as if I had named the cocktail myself back in 1924 during the Prohibition Era.

What is a Scofflaw?

So what the heck does it mean? Scofflaw is someone who mocks or scoffs at the law. So if you were drinking this tasty concoction back in the 1920’s you were a scofflaw yourself. The cocktail actually debuted in Harry’s Bar in Paris and was named due to the Americans suffering through prohibition and drinking in secrecy. So incredibly fitting and creative.

How to Make a Scofflaw Cocktail

The traditional Scofflaw cocktail is made with Canadian rye whiskey (because at the time, there was no whiskey coming out of America), dry vermouth, lemon juice, orange bitters, and grenadine (a sweet red syrup made primarily from pomegranate juice). The spirits are mixed in a shaker, shaken, and served straight up in a coupe glass.

I’ll admit, I was pretty skeptic when I took a gander at the ingredient lineup in this cocktail. Whisky, dry vermouth, lemon juice, and grenadine???. Yeah, I was thrown off by the whole lemon and grenadine part too. Sounds like we’re making a frozen Slurpee for a 12 year old.

The Scofflaw is surprisingly balanced and refreshing. I was wow’d by how well the flavors complement each other, with a subtle sweet and citrusy finish. I should have expected more from a classic cocktail that withstood the test of time. The traditional recipe calls for more lemon and grenadine and slightly less whisky, but I prefer my Scofflaw cocktail a little stronger.

I usually have a hard time picturing whiskey or bourbon with anything fruity or sweet, but I’m proven wrong time and time again. I highly recommend if you’re looking for something refreshing and a little unusual, unleash the Scofflaw.

Scofflaw Cocktail Recipe
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Scofflaw Cocktail Recipe

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 1x

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce grenadine
  • 23 dashes orange bitters

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a Boston shaker with a cup of ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Adapted from: Tuxedo No. 2