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.

Scofflaw

  • 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.

Scoff-law

  • 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.

Scofflaw

  • 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.

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

Cinzano and Lime

Cinzano’s site is all Flash, and next to useless. They did, once the craplet loaded, have some worthwhile suggestions about what to do with this bottle of Cinzano Extra Dry.

Cinzano suggested drinking their extra dry vermouth with lime.

Cinzano Extra Dry with Muddled Lime, Sugar, and Ginger Ale

Ingredients

  • 3 parts Cinzano Extra Dry
  • 1/2 fresh lime, cut in cubes
  • 3 parts ginger ale
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Crushed ice

Preparation

Muddle the lime in a highball glass and add sugar and crushed ice. Add Cinzano Extra Dry and ginger ale. Stir.

Cinzano Extra Dry with Lime

Ingredients

  • 1 part Cinzano Extra Dry
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 1 part soda water

Preparation

Stir the above together in a rocks glass.

I used 1 lime, 3 tsp. sugar, 3 oz. of Cinzano, and 3 oz. of soda water.

Things to do with Vermouth

I have a rather large bottle of Cinzano Extra Dry Vermouth in my refrigerator. One might ask why I have such a large bottle. That’s easily explained: it was the smallest vermouth sold at the store I visited the day I purchased vermouth. Why am I looking for small bottles of vermouth? Mainly because I use it slowly, and I do wish to avoid spoilage. The Cinzano has a much stronger flavor than the Noilly Prat vermouth I normally use, and so is being consumed even more slowly.

How else, other than a martini, would one use that extra liter of vermouth?

A friend from work recommended using it in potato soup. That’s a thought: cook with it. Does anyone have some recipe suggestions?

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

Cucumbers

D and the children planted a nice garden this year in Gram’s front yard: tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, corn, watermelon, butternut squash, zucchini, and cucumber. We took our first batch of zucchini and cucumber off the vines the weekend of July 17th, and are coming up with some new dishes to eat.

I just happen to have a gin here that claims to taste of cucumber: Hendrick’s. And it does taste of cucumber, if you put a cucumber in the glass with the gin.

First up in the mixing cup was Hendrick’s twist on the martini.

Cucumber Martini

  • 2 1/2 parts Hendrick’s Gin
  • 1/2 part dry vermouth
  • cucumber slice

Stir Hendrick’s Gin and vermouth in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Finish with a cucumber garnish.

Then in “Ginning Things Up,” Imbibe Magazine (Sept./Oct. 2009), I ran across mention of the Eastside, a variation on the Southside which adds cucumber.

The Eastside

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 2 slices cucumber
  • Ice cubes
  • Tools: shaker, muddler, strainer
  • Glass: cocktail
  • Garnish: thin slice of cucumber

Using a muddler, lightly crush cucumber and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Add liquid ingredients and shake well with ice. Strain into a chilled glass. Float garnish on top of drink.

And the Poughkeepsie Journal just happened to publish a recipe syndicated from McClatchy-Tribune: the Capulet Collins. This is basically the same as the Eastside, but in a Collins glass filled with ice and seltzer water.

Capulet Collins

Mixologist Toby Maloney prefers to make this cocktail with Hendrick’s gin, which has a crisp, cucumberlike flavor note.

  • 3 slices cucumber, each 1/2-inch thick 1 tiny pinch salt
  • 2 mint sprigs
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 5 drops rose water, optional
  • Soda water

Muddle cucumber and salt thoroughly in cocktail shaker. Add 1 sprig of the mint. Bruise gently. Add remaining ingredients. Add ice. Shake. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with remaining mint sprig

On Vermouth

My first impression of vermouth was from a bottle of Martini & Rossi’s dry vermouth which had been opened a long time ago, in a land far, far away, and then left to sit in my basement for about four years before I attempted my first martini. I was not impressed. It was, I thought, white wine well on its way to being vinegar. Apparently I was right.

Like wines, vermouth does not store well on the shelf, particularly when opened, and should be kept in the refrigerator or the wine cellar if you’re not planning to drink it all at once. Thus, unless you’re planning to host a party, it’s best to purchase the small bottles. After all, it’s only one of vermouth for every two of gin.

A Martini

When anyone asks what I’m mixing up now, I say that I’m attempting to perfect my martini. I have a feeling that will hold true for some time.

I enjoyed a Three Olives martini, garnished with three olives stuffed with bleu cheese, at the Bonefish Grill, so the olives in my refrigerator are stuffed with bleu cheese. (Well, they say it’s bleu cheese, but I don’t see any blue on it.)

Tonight, though, my martini did not have an olive in it, nor did it have vodka.

Begin with a chilled glass. Wash the inside of the glass with Martini & Rossi extra dry vermouth. Stir two jiggers (3 oz.) of Beefeater gin with three cubes of ice, about a minute, then strain into the glass. Twist a lemon peel over the drink. Brush the edge of the glass with the peel, and add it (or discard if you prefer) to the drink.