Last month we celebrated the 82nd anniversary of the repeal of prohibition. Prohibition was in effect for 13 years in the US, during which time the Speakeasy came into a brief, but necessary vogue. While there are entire bars and cocktail books based around the drinks that were supposedly thought up during this 13 year “noble experiment,” most cocktail historians agree that few unique drinks were born during a time when people simply wanted to get the illegal booze into their system as quickly as possible before the cops showed up.
There is an exception though, and that is the Scofflaw. However, this drink wasn’t dreamed up in an illicit underground American bar, but rather in Paris, at a bar called Harry’s New York Bar, of all places. Perhaps the drink was created as a solemn toast to their drinking buddies across the Atlantic, or maybe it was just a sort of jab at America’s teetotaling politicians. But in any case, Parisiens were sipping this drink long before Americans were legally drinking again, much less coming up with new cocktail classic of their own.
The name, Scofflaw, was coined by none other than Delcevare King, a staunch prohibitionist, who asked people to come up with an entirely new word to describe the law-breaking, speakeasy drinker. The name, in that context, makes perfect sense. But the irony of sipping on a Scofflaw at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris while your American brethren drinks bad booze from a bathtub must have been almost too much to bear.
The original Scofflaw recipe was ⅓ Rye, ⅓ French Vermouth, ⅙ Lemon Juice and ⅙ Grenadine, and in classic post-prohibition fashion, we’ve had one of Richmond’s premier bartenders, Joseph Ewens from Max’s on Broad, work up a Belle Isle version that suites the blissfully legal drinker of today while still harkening back to its “noble” roots. Cheers!
Cocktail: Scofflaw Shine
1 1/2 oz. Belle Isle Premium Moonshine
1/4 oz. Cocchi Torino Vermouth
1/4 oz. brandy soaked cherry juice, 3 cherries reserved*
1/4 oz. lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
Chill Martini glass. Build drink over ice in pint glass. Stir with bar spoon. Pour in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with 3 Brandy cherries.
Recipe courtesy of Joseph Ewens
Photography by Ash Carr.