December 5 - Scofflaw …
It’s Repeal Day! Let’s have some history:
On this day in 1933, the United States ended a fourteen-year experiment, passing the 21st Amendment to the constitution, which repealed the 18th Amendment, aka Prohibition, or the banning of alcohol from the country.
Over those years, the 18th Amendment led to massive amounts of illegal drinking, caused people to flee the US, and of course brought forth an incredible increase in organized crime throughout the country. The loss of tax revenue and expenditure on enforcement helped contribute to and prolong the Great Depression. It also caused of hundreds or thousands of independent companies in the US to shutter during a period of tremendous economic instability.
It damaged the American liquor industry in ways from which it’s still recovering. The reason most Americans drink terrible rice-or-corn-based light lagers that insult the name “Pilsner”? Prohibition. The reason home-brewing wasn’t allowed until the 70s? Prohibition. The near death of the American whiskey industry and its decades-long struggle to rebuild? Prohibition. The complete collapse of American brewing, an industry that has only seen a resurgence in the last twenty years or so? Prohibition. I could go on.
The 18th Amendment was, by all reasonable measures, an abject catastrophe. It accomplished nothing it was attempting to accomplish and caused a tremendous amount of unanticipated damage. Nice job, teetotalers!
So tonight, we celebrate with a drink whose very name is a thumb of the nose toward Prohibition: the Scofflaw. As Ted Haigh mentions in his fantastic book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, the term was specifically coined in 1924 for a person who flouted Prohibition. Within two weeks, Harry’s New York Bar in Paris — which I’ve been to! — was serving a drink by the same name.
This is that same drink, and it’s a tasty marriage of rye, dry vermouth, lemon juice, and homemade grenadine (see below). If you don’t want to make grenadine, at least try to buy bottled stuff made from actual pomegranates, but I really suggest doing it yourself … much like the 21st Amendment, grenadine takes some time and work to make, but is well worth the effort!
- 1.5 oz. Rye (Knob Creek)
- 1 oz. Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
- .75 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- .75 oz. Homemade Grenadine
Build all ingredients in a shaker over ice and shake thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
- 1 Cup Pomegranate Juice
- 2/3 Cup Sugar
- .5 oz. Vodka