I struggle a little with this prohibition cocktail.. and partly because I think my lemons are sour and my grenadine is not top quality (though decent). Let’s be honest.. I’m not a huge grenadine fan to begin with. Regardless, I figured I would give this cocktail a try since I’ve been on a rye ‘kick’ and I’m totally in love with the new dry vermouth I just bought. I will say that having a good vermouth (I recommend Dolin) makes a huge difference in any cocktail where it’s a prominent addition.
As for the ‘Scofflaw’ cocktail, you’ll find this recipe with or without orange bitters added to it. I’ve recently been reading Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All which inspired this cocktail trial, and will also at some point inspire some future bitters blog entries. The rye adds a spiciness & warmth, the lemon makes it a little bit of sour, the grenadine adds a sweet with a weird fake cherry flavor (though grenadine is actually made from pomegranates), and the vermouth rounds it all out. I tried flaming orange peel as a modification to the recipe, but ended up adding some orange bitters since I wasn’t quite getting the bitterness and orange flavor out of the flamed orange peel that I wanted. I’m finding more and more that bitters (even in a dash) can really change a cocktail and this is a great example. 1 dash of orange bitters gives the scofflaw just the kick it needed.
PS. A fun bit of history on this cocktail. The name came, Scofflaw, came with from a name contest back in 1923 and in honor of the winning name, the cocktail was born.
2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. dry vermouth
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. grenadine
1 dash orange bitters
Shake over ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a low-ball glass
If you so dare to try the flaming orange peel, DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK
Cut quite a thick piece of orange peel and briefly heat up the zest side of the peel with a lighter to release the oils. Gently squeeze and apply flame at the same time to ignite the oils in a quick burst. BE CAREFUL OF FINGER PLACEMENT. The application of the lighter should be very brief! After you’ve flamed the orange peel, wipe the remaining oils over the rim of the glass & toss in the drink for an added touch of orange!