Scofflaw Recipe

The Scofflaw Recipe: A Prohibition Era Classic

The term “scofflaw” was originally coined in the early 20th century during the Prohibition era in the United States. It was used to describe those who defied the law by drinking and selling alcohol illegally. The word is a combination of “scoff,” meaning to mock or ridicule, and “law,” referring to Prohibition laws.

The term quickly gained popularity and was used broadly to encompass anyone who flouted authority or broke rules. The media embraced it, using it frequently in headlines and cartoons, and it became a part of popular culture. We will take a look at how to make the incredible Scofflaw recipe.


Servers: 1

  • 2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 3/4 oz Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Grenadine Syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon Peel(garnish-optional)

Taster’s Guide Tip 225: Scofflaw Recipe

The Scofflaw Cocktail was included in the 1949 edition of the “Official Mixers Manual,” a popular cocktail recipe book by Patrick Gavin Duffy. What makes this notable is that the Scofflaw Cocktail was one of the few pre-Prohibition cocktails to make a comeback in a widely published recipe book during a time when many classic cocktails were forgotten or overlooked. This inclusion helped revive interest in the Scofflaw Cocktail and contributed to its enduring popularity in modern cocktail culture.


  1. Combine: bourbon whiskey, dry vermouth, lemon juice, grenadine syrup, and Angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds or stir in a mixing glass for a smoother flavor.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass or old-fashioned glass filled with ice.
  4. Optional: Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Explanation of how it became associated with a cocktail recipe

In 1924, a contest was held in Paris for bartenders to create a new drink using one of two ingredients: grenadine syrup or Cointreau liqueur. A group of American expatriates submitted a drink made with whiskey, grenadine syrup, lemon juice, and other ingredients. They named the drink after the popular term “scofflaw” as an ironic nod to their defiance of Prohibition laws.

The recipe quickly spread throughout Europe and eventually made its way back to America when Prohibition ended in 1933. It fell out of popularity for some time but later experienced a revival among cocktail enthusiasts in the early 21st century.

Today, the Scofflaw Cocktail is seen as a classic cocktail with an interesting history that reflects on America’s past struggles with alcohol prohibition. In this article, we will explore how you can make this delicious drink at home while also uncovering fascinating facts about its origins and variations.

Information about Ingredients

Bourbon whiskey

First up on the ingredient list is none other than bourbon whiskey. This warm, amber-colored spirit is a type of American whiskey that’s made primarily from corn.

It’s known for its sweet, smooth taste and slightly smoky finish, making it the perfect base for a classic scofflaw cocktail. The choice of bourbon can really make or break this recipe, so it’s important to choose a high-quality brand that you enjoy drinking straight.

Dry vermouth

Dry vermouth is another key ingredient in the scofflaw recipe. Vermouth is a fortified wine that’s flavored with various botanicals and spices.

Dry vermouth is simply a type of vermouth that has less sugar and more bitterness than sweet vermouth. In the case of the scofflaw cocktail, dry vermouth provides a slightly herbal flavor and helps to balance out the sweetness of the grenadine syrup.

Lemon juice

Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds brightness and acidity to the scofflaw cocktail. The tartness of lemon juice helps to cut through the sweetness of the grenadine syrup and balance out all of the flavors in this complex drink. Be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice rather than bottled lemon juice as it will give your drink a much fresher taste.

Grenadine syrup

Grenadine syrup is a sweet fruity syrup made from pomegranate juice, sugar, and sometimes additional fruit juices like cherry or raspberry. It’s an essential ingredient in many classic cocktails including the scoflaw cocktail where it provides sweetness, flavor as well as color. While there are many pre-made grenadine syrups available in stores today; you can make your own by boiling equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar until thickened.

Angostura bitters

Angostura bitters are a type of bitters made from a secret blend of herbs and spices including gentian root, cinnamon, and cloves. They add a complex flavor to the scofflaw cocktail that’s hard to replicate with any other ingredient. Bitters are used in cocktails to add depth and complexity, so be sure not to skip them when making your own version of this classic drink!

Shaking vs Stirring Debate

For those who like their drinks with a bit of texture and frothiness, shaking is typically favored. However, shaking also means that more ice water will be added to your cocktail than with stirring which can dilute your drink more than desired.

Stirring allows for less ice water to be added but still ensures that your cocktail is properly mixed together with all its ingredients intact giving you full flavors in each sip. Ultimately both techniques are valid options for mixing up this classic cocktail recipe so feel free to go with whichever method suits your taste buds best!

Importance of Using Fresh Ingredients

When it comes to preparing cocktails from scratch -especially ones as simple as this- using high-quality fresh ingredients is key! Not only do these essential components contribute significantly to flavor improvement, but they’re also vital when trying to achieve apt coloration and consistency levels which are critical factors when making cocktails that look and taste great! Using fresh citrus fruits like lemons provides an unbeatable tartness as it helps tone down sweetness while balancing out flavors effectively too.

Squeezing them just before using them adds even more freshness into each glassful enhancing the overall taste experience even further. Grenadine syrup is also an essential ingredient in this recipe.

Using store-bought grenadine that is packed with sugar and preservatives can make for a super sweet cocktail that’s nothing like what it should taste like. To achieve the best results, try making your own homemade version using pomegranate juice and sugar instead.

Proper Glassware and Garnish

The Scofflaw Cocktail is typically served in a chilled cocktail glass- also known as a Coupe glass or Champagne saucer – which provides enough space for garnishing your drink to give it an elegant look that matches its delightful flavors. When it comes to garnishing, the usual suspects are lemon twists or peels, but feel free to get creative with anything you might have on hand such as herbs like rosemary or mint sprigs, edible flowers like pansies or hibiscus petals. It’s all about the presentation so make sure to put in some thought when choosing your desired ingredients!

Scofflaw Recipe

Variations and Twists

Substituting Different Types of Whiskey or Vermouth

The beauty of the Scofflaw Cocktail recipe is that it’s highly adaptable. You can experiment with different types of whiskey or vermouth to achieve a unique flavor profile. For example, if you prefer a smokier taste, you might try using a Scotch whiskey instead of bourbon.

If you want a more herbal flavor, consider using an Italian vermouth like Carpano Antica Formula. Another option is to use rye whiskey instead of bourbon.

Rye has a spicier flavor profile that can add another layer of complexity to the cocktail. Just be aware that rye tends to be drier than bourbon, so you may need to adjust the amount of grenadine syrup accordingly.

Adding Additional Flavors such as Orange or Ginger

If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding some additional flavors to your Scofflaw Cocktail recipe. One popular twist is to replace the lemon juice with orange juice for a sweeter taste. You could also add a dash of orange bitters for an extra citrusy kick.

For those who love ginger, consider adding some fresh ginger juice or ginger beer for a spicy twist on the classic recipe. Not only will this add depth and complexity to your cocktail, but it will also give it an added kick.

Whatever variation or twist you choose, just remember that the key is balance. Don’t overwhelm the flavors with too many ingredients – less is often more when it comes to cocktails.

Experimenting with Garnishes

Don’t forget about garnishes when making your Scofflaw Cocktail! A traditional garnish for this drink is a lemon peel twist or cherry on top, but there are plenty of other options out there too. Consider using fresh herbs like mint or basil, or even a slice of cucumber for a refreshing touch.

You could also try rimming the glass with sugar or salt to add another layer of flavor. The possibilities are endless when it comes to garnishes, so don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with them!

Fun facts and trivia

The origin story of the recipe during Prohibition era

The Scofflaw cocktail was created during the era of Prohibition, which lasted from 1920 to 1933. During this time, the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol were banned in the United States.

However, many people still continued to consume alcohol illegally in underground bars called speakeasies. One such speakeasy was Harry’s Bar in Paris, which was a popular hangout for American expats and tourists.

According to legend, a group of Harry’s Bar patrons were asked by a wealthy businessman to come up with a name for people who refused to abide by Prohibition laws. The group came up with “scofflaw,” which became an instant hit as it perfectly encapsulated the rebellious spirit of those who continued to consume alcohol despite its illegality.

After its creation at Harry’s Bar in Paris during Prohibition era, The Scofflaw became one of the most popular cocktails at the bar. Its popularity quickly spread throughout Europe and America as people found it refreshing yet potent. In fact, it became so famous that it even gained notoriety among politicians who opposed drinking alcohol.

The Anti-Saloon League condemned The Scofflaw Cocktail as an emblem of “the lawless element” that had taken over American society. Despite such criticism from temperance movements, The Scofflaw Cocktail remained popular throughout the 1920s and beyond.

It even inspired other cocktails like The Improved Whiskey Cocktail and Jack Rose that used grenadine syrup as their signature ingredient. It is fascinating how a simple request for naming scofflaws led to the creation of one of America’s most iconic cocktails ever made- The Scofflaw not only became a symbol of rebellion against Prohibition, but it also remains a testament to the enduring power of cocktails and bartending.

Scofflaw Recipe


Final thoughts on the Scofflaw Cocktail recipe, its history, and its enduring popularity

The Scofflaw Cocktail, with its intriguing history and unique ingredients, has undoubtedly stood the test of time. It continues to be a beloved drink for many cocktail enthusiasts around the world. The drink’s resurgence in popularity can be attributed to the contemporary craft cocktail movement that inspired bartenders to revisit classic recipes like this one.

One of the reasons for the enduring popularity of the Scofflaw Cocktail is its versatility. With only a few simple ingredients, anyone can create their own version and experiment with different whiskey or vermouth brands, or add their own personal touch with additional flavors such as orange or ginger.

The possibilities are endless! Overall, it’s fascinating how a term once used as an insult has now become associated with a delicious cocktail enjoyed by many.

The story behind the drink’s creation during Prohibition is yet another example of how our culture evolves over time. As we continue to celebrate classic cocktails like the Scofflaw, we can also look forward to new creations that will undoubtedly endure for years to come.

So why not mix yourself up a Scofflaw Cocktail tonight? Sip on this timeless classic while pondering on how our language and culture have transformed over time- cheers!

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