Prohibition, the law that prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol in the United States, was ratified as the 18th amendment on Jan. 16, 1919, and went into effect on Jan. 16, 1920. In other words, this day 93 years ago was a very sad day.

And yet, some good things came out of Prohibition — and one of them is the Scofflaw cocktail. It's a grand irony, the word scofflaw: It came about as the winning entry in a 1923 competition to create a word that would describe an unlawful drinker, as a kind of marketing gimmick that would shame drinkers. Out of more than 25,000 entries, scofflaw was chosen.

But rather than shame illegal drinkers, they took the word up immediately as a badge of honor. Much of American bar culture and most of our good bartenders moved to Europe during Prohibition, and immediately following the announcement of the winning word, Harry's Bar in Paris named a cocktail “The Scofflaw,” in celebration of the illegal drinking culture in the U.S.

Is there any better way to drink than when you can taste the history of our country's grand struggles right there in the glass? Even better, it's a fantastic drink, one of those that shows the light but still boozy side of whiskey. The Varnish's Eric Alperin was kind enough to share his recipe, so you can toast to our drinking history and freedom.


From: Eric Alperin, The Varnish

Makes: One drink

1 oz rye

1 oz dry vermouth

1⁄2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

3⁄4 oz grenadine (The Varnish uses house-made)

1 dash orange bitters

(No garnish)

1. Shake with rock ice.

2. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

See also:

Cocktail Nerdom: It's National Hot Toddy Day!

Where the Bartenders Drink: The Varnish's Eric Alperin

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