The Scoff-law Cocktail

The word “Scofflaw” has come to mean “A person who flouts the law, especially an unsustainable one.” But such was not always the case. It was in 1923, when Delcevare King, a member of the Anti-Saloon League, posed a contest to create a new word in order to combat the continued drinking which was going on during American Prohibition. The new word was to be one “which best expresses the idea of a lawless drinker, menace, scoffer, bad citizen, or whatnot, with the biting power of ‘scab’ or ‘slacker.'” The $200 prize elicited a huge response. On January 16th, 1924, the Boston Herald announced the winning word as “scofflaw”, with the winnings shared by the two Boston area residents, Henry Irving Dale and Kate L. Butler, who both submitted it. This was not the end of the story however, in just a little over a week, a salvo was launched from Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, where they created a new drink and christened it the “Scofflaw”.

I have three recipes. One is from Ted Haigh by way of Imbibe Magazine.

The Scofflaw Cocktail

  • 1 1/2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. grenadine

Combine with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a twist of lemon.

One is from Robert Hess.


  • 1 oz Canadian Club Whisky
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • dash grenadine
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist.

Mr. Hess notes that he has a recipe in a book by the owner of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, where the drink originated. That recipe is also the one printed at CocktailDB, as follows.


  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1/3 Canadian Club Whisky
  • 1/3 Dry Martini vermouth
  • 1/6 lemon juice
  • 1/6 grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

A fourth arrived today from Gary Regan.


  • 2 oz Bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 1 oz Dry vermouth
  • .25 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • .5 oz Grenadine
  • 2 dashes Orange bitters
  • Glass: Cocktail

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Try them all in celebration of Repeal Day.

The Mexican Eagle

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. That’s not quite exact. Limits are.

When one is out of one’s preferred spirits, has no citrus stocked, and is looking around for a cocktail to mix, one turns to what one has to hand. In this case, what recipes are there for tequila and vermouth?

Turns out that there’s a very fine, complex one made with just three ingredients: the Mexican Eagle. It’s also appropriate for International Migratory Bird (cocktail) Day.

Mexican Eagle

  • 3/4 oz. Jamaica rum
  • 3/4 oz. French vermouth
  • 1 1/2 oz. Tequila

Combine in your mixing glass, stir with ice, then strain to serve in a cocktail glass.

In mixing these, I used Appleton Estate V/X rum, the remainder of the Familia Camarena tequila, and Dolin dry vermouth. Afterward, I was out of both tequila and vermouth.

Margarita, Won’t You Come to My Party?

For those interested in the recipe for the gallon of Margaritas which was consumed at my party yesterday, I used Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s recipe from A Gallon of Margaritas by the Gallon. Below are the details on which tequila and triple sec were involved in this concoction.

A Gallon o’ Margaritas

Pour each ingredient in a gallon jug, then shake and refrigerate. To serve, wet the glass then roll in salt so that the outside rim is coated, then pour the Margarita over ice.

Naval Stores

Until Firefox gets the hang of tracking paths through the browser history, I can’t quite say exactly who started this idea in motion, but I can say what did: an article on using one’s discarded Christmas tree in various dishes, which crossed my transom around about the same time as Imbibe Magazine‘s 2010 Christmas card, which features a cocktail called Walk in the Woods containing Zirbenz, a Swiss liqueur made from the fruit of the Arolla Stone Pine. I doubted that anyone else in the house would like to have their lunch garnished with fir, so why not use it to make a drink?

After removing the Douglas Fir from the house, I dismembered it to simplify handling, then moved it to the garage. It was a fairly warm day, as far as the days this January went, but I’d rather not work in a foot or more of snow. There it sat until this past Monday. I then removed some of the more fragrant needles from the branches and washed them. Yesterday I put a handful or so in a 16 oz. Mason jar. This covered the bottom of the jar to about a 2 inch depth. I then added Tito’s Handmade Vodka up to the 12 oz. mark, put the top on, and let it sit for 24 hours. The result was strained through cheese cloth into an empty Tuthilltown whiskey bottle.

Some experimentation might be needed to determine the optimal infusion time: the result is bitter. And it smells just like the tree. It’s too bitter to drink straight, so what’s to be done? A cocktail!

The Naval Stores Cocktail

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until cold, then strain into your favorite glass. Serve straight up, without garnish.

I was experimenting as I built this, so the first version was built in an old-fashioned glass, and only shaken to chill. Dissolve the sugar in the vodka infusion, then add rum and lime. Add ice to your shaker, then the liquids, and shake until cold. You might want to sweeten to taste.

(This one is much better than my first attempt at making a cocktail from scratch, so some folks should prepare to be drinking it.)

Bloody Mary is the … Girl I Love

Happy 3rd Birthday, No. 2 Son! Soon we’ll have the family over for a party in your honor, and they’ll be drinking some stuff you can’t, yet.

It must be my upbringing, but when I think of the Bloody Mary, I don’t think of the drink: I think of South Pacific.

So, what shall we have? Shall it be the recipe from Harry’s New York Bar in Paris? The one given by Ernest Hemingway? Some fancy concoction from the Employees Only cookbook? Or a variation using their common base: vodka, tomato, and citrus?

Harry’s Bloody Mary

In shaker or directly in large tumbler: ice, 6 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, 3 dashes of Tabasco, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, juice of ½ lemon, 2 ounces of vodka, fill remainder of glass with top-quality tomato juice, and above all no celery salt.Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails

Hemingway’s Bloody Mary

To make a pitcher of Bloody Marys (any smaller amount is worthless) take a good sized pitcher and put in it as big a lump of ice as it will hold. (This is to prevent too rapid melting and watering of our product.) Mix a pint of good russian vodka and an equal amount of chilled tomato juice. Add a table spoon full of Worcester Sauce. Lea and Perrins is usual but can use A1 or any good beef-steak sauce. Stirr. (with two rs) Then add a jigger of fresh squeezed lime juice. Stirr. Then add small amounts of celery salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper. Keep on stirring and taste it to see how it is doing. If you get it too powerful weaken with more tomato juice. If it lacks authority add more vodka. Some people like more lime than others. For combatting a really terrific hangover increase the amount of Worcester sauce – but don’t lose the lovely color. Keep drinking it yourself to see how it is doing. I introduced this drink to Hong Kong in 1941 and believe it did more than any other single factor except perhaps the Japanese Army to precipitate the fall of that Crown Colony. After you get the hang of it you can mix it so it will taste as though it had absolutely no alcohol of any kind in it and a glass of it will still have as much kick as a really good big martini. Whole trick is to keep it very cold and not let the ice water it down.Ernest Hemingway – Selected Letters, 1917-1961, from a letter to Bernard Peyton, April 5, 1947

Bloddy [sic] Mary

The name is intentionally misspelled because I seem to be unable to type two O’s in a row. In the jargon of my trade, it’s a Blod^Hody Mary.

Last night I dreamt that my grandfather on my mother’s side was about to reveal his secret recipe for a Bloody Mary, and then I woke. It would be a secret because, as far as I know, he did not drink. The recipe that follows is closer to Hemingway’s than to his.

Chill a pitcher, then fill halfway full with ice. Cut two whole tomatoes into large pieces, then puree. This should make approximately a pint of tomato juice. Add to the pitcher. Add one pint of vodka. Stir. Add 1 3/4 oz. lemon juice. Stir. Add 1 tablespoon of Worchestershire sauce. Stir. Add 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper. Stir. Add 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir. Grind fresh pepper over the pitcher, about five turns of the grinder. Stir. Wait for your guests.

Serve in a rocks glass, or a highball if you have it. Garnish with fresh pepper and a lemon wedge.

Spirits of Any Kind

Now that I have more than two bitters in the house, let us try something.

A cocktail is spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters. How about an Old-Fashioned with gin?

Gin, the Old-Fashioned Way

  • cube of sugar
  • splash of water
  • 3 dashes grapefruit bitters
  • 2 oz. gin

Build in an old-fashioned glass. Soak the sugar cube with the bitters and muddle with water. Add a cube of ice or two, then the gin. Stir and enjoy.

What Fashion of Gimlet Might This Be?

Having acquired an essential ingredient in the Deadrise, I find myself without another: the cucumber. Well, there’s nothing to it then but to make the necessary sacrifice and drink the result anyway.

Oh, this is good. This is very good. (And without the cucumber it does not give me gas!)

In the back of Speakeasy (Ten Speed Press, 2010) there is a recipe for lime cordial.

As I also do not have Kaffir lime leaves, this prompted the substitution given below.


  • .75 oz. lime juice
  • .75 oz. agave syrup
  • 1.5 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters

In a mixing glass, stir well to combine the lime juice and agave syrup. Add the gin and bitters, then shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

A Martini

The Martini that most folks know, if they order a Martini in a bar, is between six and nine ounces of chilled vodka or gin, perhaps with the glass washed with vermouth. (Great! Three drinks for the price of one!) And depending on the vermouth being used this is perhaps a reasonable caution. However, it’s not a classic Martini: it’s a glass of [insert spirit here].

A lot of mixing drinks is taste, often opinionated taste. This is fine. One can even be snooty about it if one wants. I’ve found that each of the Martini variations I’ve tried has its own taste, some better than others, and its own rewards, such that the proportion I mix tends toward my preference of the moment. Tonight, to go with the Italian Wedding Soup my wife made, I stirred up a Sweet Martini, using Tanqueray London Dry Gin, Martini & Rossi Rosso, and Angostura Bitters.

Sweet Martini

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir in a mixing glass and strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

The proportion here is 2:1 gin to vermouth. This is slightly less gin than called for in the CocktailDB recipe, but if one uses their scaling tool to adjust from a 4.5 oz. glass to a 4 oz. glass, one arrives at this ratio. I have a 4 oz. glass, but wasn’t considering that; I just like the taste at 2:1. Robert Hess, in the video below, uses 3:1. That’s also fine, if one prefers.

Last time I checked James Bond was an imaginary character. And I’m guessing that you probably stopped listening to imaginary characters in childhood. — Robert Hess


Over the summer Legal Sea Foods offered a cocktail they call the Deadrise.

Huh? What’s a deadrise? A fishy kind of zombie?

Nope. The deadrise is the angle between the bottom of a vessel and the horizontal in the transverse plane. The deadrise is also a kind of a boat used in the Chesapeake.

Legal Sea Foods’ Deadrise looks like this, and contains Belvedere vodka, cucumber, lime, and grapefruit bitters. They were quite willing to make a sample, which was tasty, but I asked that they substitute Hendrick’s Gin for the vodka.

Hmm, I thought, this is definitely a drink I want to make at home. But what’s the recipe? I suppose one could experiment, but not I. No, experimentation is for those without elite research skills. Someone, somewhere, had published this recipe, and I would find it.

Someone had: Blast Magazine, in their article “Six Light Drinks to Sip on This Summer” (July 20, 2010). Something about this recipe is not quite right, given these remarks about, and this interview with, their cocktail program manager, Patrick Sullivan. One wonders if it was altered for wider consumption; one must buy Fee’s grapefruit bitters and find out.



  • 3 slices of cucumber (with skin)
  • 1.5 oz lime cordial
  • 1 pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1.5 oz Belvedere Vodka
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters


Muddle cucumbers, lime cordial and salt in a mixing glass.
Add vodka, bitters and ice.
Top with a metal tin shaker and shake hard; strain into a martini glass.

Made today, the following were muddled, shaken, and strained as above.

  • 3 slices of cucumber (with skin)
  • 0.75 oz lime juice
  • 0.75 oz agave syrup
  • 1 pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1.5 oz Hendrick’s Gin
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters

Now that’s a remarkably close approximation of the drink I had at Legal’s.

The Cosmopolitan

Girlfriend, I present for your classy enjoyment the Cosmopolitan.

Or, rather, a variation thereof since I don’t stock citrus vodka.

The Cosmopolitan

  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 oz. cranberry juice
  • 1 lime wedge, for garnish

Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with flair.

This recipe differs quite a bit both from the self-styled Perfect Cosmopolitan and the Cosmopolitan mixed by Robert Hess (video below). It’s derived from the recipe at the CocktailDB, which is from The Joy of Mixology, by Gary Regan. Why? Because I happened to read it first.

About the cranberry juice, I did not use Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail. It’s sweetened, and I’m not much for the sweeteners. One might use instead the juice from those fresh cranberries just bought to make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. I used a store-bought 100% cranberry juice: Nature’s Promise Cranberry juice from Stop & Shop.

Honeycrisp Apple

The recipe below is from Gotham Bar & Grill, by way of Tuthilltown Spirits. I substituted Harvest Spirits’s Core Vodka and Cornelius Applejack instead of Tuthilltown’s Heart of the Hudson vodka and Busnel Calvados.

I don’t need a quart of spiced syrup, and so adjusted the recipe a bit.

  • 1 c. simple syrup
  • 4 cloves
  • a pinch of fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Honeycrisp Apple Cocktail

Recipe courtesy of Gotham Bar & Grill

  • 1.5 oz. Heart of the Hudson apple vodka
  • 0.75 oz. Busnel Calvados
  • 0.5 oz. spiced simple syrup (recipe follows)
  • 0.5 oz. fresh lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an apple chip.

  • 1 qt simple syrup
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 7 whole cloves
  • 1 whole piece star anise
  • 1 whole piece nutmeg, crushed

Add spices to simple syrup. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Let steep for 30 minutes. Strain spices from syrup through cheesecloth. Refrigerate syrup.

The Wise Sage

James Frederic Rose, of the Temple Bar, New York, has come up with a tasty way to drain one’s bottle of Harvest Spirits‘s Core Vodka. I have misplaced my camera, so you’ll have to do with the distiller’s picture. The recipe below serves two.

Wise Sage

Wise Sage Muddle 6 fresh sage leaves, 4 slices of fresh apple, 2 ounce lemon juice, and 3 teaspoons of fine sugar. Add 4 ounces of Core Vodka. Shake with ice and strain in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with slice of apple.

Johnny Chapman

It’s a real pleasure to have friends over for dinner and cocktails. Last night was just such an occasion. I prepared a short cocktail menu of seasonal drinks that I wanted to try. One used Harvest Spirits Core vodka, another was the Gin Basil Smash described previously, and the third used Harvest Spirits Cornelius applejack: the Johnny Chapman. This proved to be a popular selection.

Johnny Chapman

Build over ice in a Mason jar.

  • 2 oz. Cornelius Applejack
  • 4 oz. fresh apple cider
  • squeeze one lemon wedge
  • top with soda water
  • garnish with a wedge each of apple and lemon

Note: the recipe is from a product description card provided by the distillery.

A Spirit, Sugar, Water, and Bitters

This week I have been concentrating on the Old Fashioned, varying which bourbon I use, which bitters, which garnish, and the balance of sugar and water. I should, however, stop saving this last cherry for the next Rob Roy. The drinks are very different, just by varying the bourbon.

the ingredients

Tuthilltown Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey, at 46% ABV and made entirely of New York corn, is very smooth, and obviously corn. There’s a sweetness to it that’s not unlike fresh grilled corn on the cob. Given one word to use, I would characterize this whiskey as simple.

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Whiskey — 45% ABV and made from Kentucky and Indiana corn, rye, and malted barley — is more complicated. I’m not quite sure how to describe it.

For each, I’ve used Gilway Demerara sugar cubes, picked up at my local grocer. The grocer also stocks Domino sugar cubes, but I usually prefer the taste of demerara or turbinado sugar. The cube was soaked with two to three dashes of either Angostura Orange Bitters or Angostura Aromatic Bitters. Careful with the dashes from the aromatic bitters bottle; the hole is larger than that on the orange bitters. The recipe as given previously calls for the aromatic bitters, which have a complex flavor and smell a bit like nutmeg. The orange bitters smell like fresh orange peel. Either pairs nicely with the slice of orange used as garnish. The orange bitters will obviously enhance the orangeness of the drink. Water sufficient to barely top the sugar cube was added, and then the sugar muddled until thoroughly dissolved.

Ice was added, then the chosen bourbon, and the glass garnished with a slice of orange.

One must test the results. Both bitters work well with both bourbons, but I prefer the orange bitters with the Hudson Baby Bourbon, and the aromatic with Buffalo Trace.

The Gimlet

The Gimlet is one of those drinks, like the martini, where there’s a question of what the correct proportions are. CocktailDB uses a 2:1 ratio of gin to Rose’s lime juice. The recipes in the Wikipedia article on the gimlet use 2:1, 3:1, 3:2, 4:1, and 8:1. BULLDOG gin (our gin of the evening) suggests a ratio of gin to lime to sugar of 3:2:1. Like most things in life, it’s a matter of taste. However, an essential characteristic of a cocktail is balance, so neither the gin nor the lime should dominate.

The Rose’s lime juice one finds in the U.S. markets these days is a concoction of citric acid-flavored high-fructose corn syrup. This is a shame. But don’t worry: I have limes and sugar. Tonight we’ll be trying the 2:1 and 8:1 ratios.

The Gimlet, 2:1

  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. finely granulated sugar
  • 1.5 oz. gin

The Gimlet, 8:1

  • 1/4 oz. lime
  • 1/4 tsp. finely granulated sugar
  • 2 oz. gin

Shake the lime juice, sugar, and gin with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The 2:1 ratio is preferred over the 8:1. Surprisingly, the lime was harsher in the 8:1 ratio than it was in the 2:1, possibly because there wasn’t enough sugar to mellow the lime and gin. Unless the 4:1 or 3:2 ratios have something to recommend them, I’ll continue to assert that a gimlet is 2 of gin to 1 of lime.

Pink Gin

Browsing through videos from Robert Hess‘s show The Cocktail Spirit (on the Small Screen Network), I was reminded of the Pink Gin, a cocktail I made back at the beginning of this adventure, before I started writing down what I was making. It is dead simple to make, with only two ingredients: gin and Angostura bitters.

There are two results for Pink Gin in CocktailDB. I’ve made both. They differ slightly, in that the first washes the glass with bitters in addition to mixing bitters with the gin, whereas the second does not. The proportions of gin to bitters are basically the same, and can be varied to taste.

Pink Gin

  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • a dash or four of Angostura bitters

Add the gin and bitters to a mixing glass. Add ice, then stir briskly to chill. Strain into a cocktail glass.

A Highland Fling

Suppose you’ve become infatuated with Rob Roy

Rob Roy

Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain

  • 1 3/4 oz Scotch (5 cl, 7/16 gills)
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth (2 cl, 3/16 gills)
  • 1 dash orange bitters or Angostura bitters

Add cherry

Serve in a cocktail glass

and decide to have a Highland fling

Highland Fling

Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain

  • 1 3/4 oz Scotch (5 cl, 7/16 gills)
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth (2 cl, 3/16 gills)
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

Add olive

Serve in a cocktail glass

What comes after a Highland fling with Rob Roy? The bairn o’ course.

The Bairn

Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain

  • 2 oz Scotch (6 cl, 1/2 gills)
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau (1.5 cl, 1/8 gills)
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Serve in a cocktail glass

Not a Malibu® St. Lawrence Lemonade

Some friends of ours had us over for dinner last night, and, having heard of my hobby, asked me to come up with something to drink. The guideline was simple — “We like Malibu” — so I spent some time among the recipes on the Malibu Rum website. The Malibu Limbo Lady looked interesting, but I have none of the ingredients. I do have what it takes to mix this Malibu St. Lawrence Lemonade, but I didn’t want to use Sprite.

Malibu® St. Lawrence Lemonade

The Malibu® St. Lawrence Lemonade is a fresh and sweet mix of mint, lemon, and coconut.


  • ½ part Malibu®
  • ½ part Absolut® Vodka
  • 3 parts Lemon-Lime Soda
  • 2 sprigs of mint


Fill a tall glass with fresh cubed ice. Smack 2 sprigs of mint between fingers to bruise them and place them in the glass. Pour in Malibu®, Absolut® and lemon-lime soda. Stir vigorously to infuse the mint.

But that’s not what I mixed.

Sometimes one simply needs an idea of what tastes might go well together. I’m not familiar with Malibu, except to know that it’s a coconut-flavored rum. Here’s what I prepared, for two. For this I used a thick, somewhat stubby glass; I’m not sure of its name.

St. Lawrence Lemonade?

  • 4 sprigs of mint
  • 2 oz. fresh lemon juice (one lemon)
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice (one lime)
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 oz. Malibu Rum
  • 1 oz. Tanqueray London Dry Gin
  • 6 oz. Apollinaris mineral water

Place one sprig of mint in each glass and fill with ice. In a mixing glass, combine the lemon, lime, sugar, rum, and gin. Shake with ice, and strain half into each glass. Top with mineral water, and stir. Smack the remaining mint springs and garnish.

Why is it called a St. Lawrence Lemonade?