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The slightest change can be a big deal, and thus is the case with the Scofflaw. We fiddled with this recipe for a while before we decided that less is more, and just dialed it back on everything, including the whiskey. In the end, we got a recipe we like, but your recipe will very much depend on the whiskey you use. We use Canadian whiskey since it seems most appropriate for a true prohibition cocktail, but you could also use rye.
It’s true that the Scofflaw is a prohibition drink, sort of like a sour, although there’s not really enough sweet or sour for it to taste like one. Originally invented in Paris, and named for a cad who plays fast and loose with the rules, such as someone who drinks when it’s illegal, the Scofflaw conjures images of speakeasies, flappers, colorful socks and baggy pants.
Our choice for drinks of this era is Canadian whiskey, which we imagine being smuggled across the border in the back of a hot rod Chevy, but that’s only a fantasy. We bought our whiskey, Snake River Stampede Small Batch, from Rose City Distilling, one of the few Portland distillers offering a Canadian whiskey. Although hard to find (we’ve only been able to find it at their tasting room in downtown Portland) it’s worth trying. It’s a bit confusing trying to pin down just what Canadian whiskey is, so we don’t try, and accept that Snake River is indeed a Canadian whiskey.
Unlike rye, which was used in the original recipe, likely because the stuff smuggled from north of the border during the moral experiment was predominately rye, Snake River has a bourbon like sweetness, and that kind of works to our disadvantage here. The solution is to use less of it, and less lemon and sweetner. Keep the vermouth the same, just reduce everything else. Ransom Dry Vermouth is what we use, along with a dash of BG Reynolds Lush Grenadine, and Scrappy’s Orange Bitters. Also notice that we stir this cocktail instead of shaking it. So it goes, but there’s not much lemon in this, and it’s not a Martini, so stick with tradition and stir it.
1 oz (30ml) Snake River Stampede Small Batch Canadian whiskey
1 oz (30ml) Ransom Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz (7.5ml) lemon juice
1 dash BG Reynolds Lush Grenadine
1 dash Scrappy’s Orange Bitters
Stir with ice, and serve up. Garnish with a lemon twist.