* You are viewing the archive for July, 2004

The Scofflaw

Normally we tend to think of long drinks, or gin-based drinks like a Gin and Tonic or Tom Collins as a refreshing summer drink, and not necessarily one made with rye whiskey. This is an exception, with a nice balance of sweet and tart, a brilliant red color and a lovely flavor as well.

Paul Harrington describes this drink thusly: “This whiskey cocktail used to be as bad as it sounds.” Back during the dark days of Prohibition, it was made with Canadian whiskey, often of rotgut quality, that flowed over the border for all the American scofflaws to drink.

I find most common blended Canadian whiskey to be inferior stuff (the vilest example of which is that Canadian Mist stuff that comes in a 1.75 liter plastic jug; never drink whiskey that comes in a plastic container, or any spirits for that matter), so if you want this to be a nice drink instead of a bad drink use real, proper rye whiskey.

Canadian whiskey is a lot of grain neutral spirits blended with grain whiskey, some of which used to be rye in the olden days but today is almost entirely corn, is generally very mild and without distinctive character and by law can contain up to 9% of “additives”, including prune juice. (Oy.)

There are some fine Canadian whiskies on the market, like the release of Canadian Club 30 year, but stick with a good solid rye for this one.


2 ounces rye whiskey (Bourbon may be substituted).
1 ounce dry vermouth.
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice.
1/4 ounce real pomegranate grenadine.
1 dash orange bitters.

Shake and strain. Lemon twist garnish.


We usually make this with the slightly milder ryes like Old Overholt or Pikesville.
And while you’re sipping your Scofflaw, visit a fine cocktail weblog called Scofflaw’s Den, run by my friends Marshall and SeanMike.

Cocktail of the Day: Melody

This is a near-forgotten classic from the long out-of-print Café Royal Cocktail Book, compiled by W. J. Tarling and published in Britain in 1937. Café Royal was at the time one of the finest restaurants in London (and is now sadly closed forever, as the hotel in which it was housed has been demolished). Back then, however, British and expat American bartenders crafted some of the finest drinks to be had anywhere.

This drink, which we like not only for its lovely flavor but for the fact that it’s got the same name as Wes’ sister, also provides a great alternative use for the passion fruit juice or nectar you may have around for making proper Hurricanes. It was created by a gentleman by the name of G. W. Parker.


1-1/2 ounces Plymouth gin.
3/4 ounce passion fruit juice or nectar.
3/4 ounce Lillet blanc.
2 dashes Calvados.
2 dashes Cointreau.

Shake and strain. Cherry garnish.


Absolutely lovely, and a rare classic. I’ll bet your guests will love this one. This is another of those drinks that might just cure a gin-hater.

If you’re feeling adventurous and would like to know what this tasted like when Mr. Parket made it with Kina Lillet, which is what was available at the time, add a tiny pinch (1/16 teaspoon or less) of quinine powder before shaking.