Friday drinks: scofflaw

Every week I’ll serve up a post on how to keep your glass half-full in Hollywood. On Fridays, I’ll also give you some ideas on what you might want to pour into your glass.

Scofflaw mixed by Jeff Stewart. Photo by Kam Miller.

Commercial and music video director Jeff Stewart (aka our master bartender) has shaken up a rascal of a drink, the scofflaw. Concocted in 1924 at Harry’s New York Bar – in Paris – the scofflaw was a not so subtle jab at the US’s prohibition law and its temperance proponents.

Removal of liquor during prohibition

Authorities destroy liquor during prohibition. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The scofflaw cocktail can thank Delcevare King, a businessman and veteran of the Massachusetts temperance movement, for its odd moniker. Appalled by the flagrant violations of the 1919 prohibition laws (think “Boardwalk Empire“), Mr. King held a contest to create a term to describe those who scoffed at the law and enjoyed the temptations of bootleggers and speakeasies. It wasn’t called the roaring 20s for nothing! Mr. King’s offered $200 for the winning entry. Of the more than 25,000 submissions, Mr. King chose the word “scofflaw,” which was entered by two different contestants – Kate L. Butler of Dorchester and Henry Irving Dale of Shawseen Village, Andover.

Criminal kingpin “Nucky” Thompson, played by Steve Buscemi, addresses the Women’s Temperance League in “Boardwalk Empire.”
Photo courtesy of HBO.

However, the scofflaws Mr. King so publicly wanted to deride adopted the term happily. So, ex-pat prohibition opponents living in France created a tasty cocktail and dubbed it “the scofflaw.” Talk about a glass half-full attitude!

While prohibition didn’t survive, ironically the cocktail did. Today, you don’t have to break any laws – as long as you’re of legal drinking age – to sample the scofflaw. For an authentic tasting scofflaw cocktail, Jeff Stewart recommends Bulleitt rye whiskey. Bulleitt is comprised of 95% rye and 5% malted barley. Jeff said that a lot of rye whiskeys today actually don’t have a lot rye in them. Because of prohibition, most American rye whiskey distilleries shut down and never reopened. So the production of American rye whiskey changed post-prohibition. The concentration of rye in rye whiskey has never been the same. More irony, huh?

Jeff also recommends Stirrings grenadine syrup because it is made from real pomegranates. The Stirrings Grenadine gives Jeff’s scofflaw its rosy glow. And of course, Jeff swears by fresh squeezed lemon juice. For his mix, he snagged lemons from one of his trees.

Wanna try it? Here’s Jeff’s scofflaw recipe.

The Ivory Tower (Boardwalk Empire)

Gangster James Darmody, played by Michael Pitt, talks with criminal kingpin “Nucky” Thompson, played by Steve Buscemi, in “Boardwalk Empire.”Photo courtesy of HBO. 

1 1/2 oz rye whiskey
1 oz white/dry vermouth
3/4 oz grenadine
3/4 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

Shake vigorously over ice for 25-30 seconds, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve with a lemon peel twist garnish.

Keep your glass half-full. Drink responsibly.

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