A little more than 90 years ago, Henry Irving Dale and Kate L. Butler separately supplied winning entries in a national contest held by prohibitionist Delcevare King to coin a term for describing someone who drinks illegally. Kate and Henry split the $200 prize for the word “scofflaw.”
The definition of scofflaw has moved beyond simply someone who drinks illegally to a person who habitually flouts or violates the law, especially one who fails to pay debts or answer summonses.
The Scofflaw Cocktail was created, shortly after the word was coined, by a bartender named Jock at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. While the fashionable drinkers in Paris, unaffected by Prohibition, could sip on delicious Scofflaw Cocktails, actual scofflaws in the U.S. looking for a drink were more often stuck with bathtub gin and rotgut rye. Scofflaws have always had a bit of a class distinction.
Every locality had its own enabler of scofflaws, or a scofflaw-in-chief, who supplied the booze, while often keeping the “good stuff” for themselves.
Although he may not drink, the current resident of the White House certainly fits the modern definition of scofflaw, and he’s hard at work steering the “good stuff” his own way. Even if you agree with Cheeto Mussolini that the President is the law, you can’t deny he is in violation of the lease on his DC hotel and, therefore, the foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution. The list of laws Trump has scoffed at over the years is a long one.
Back in Paris, however, in the birthplace of the Scofflaw Cocktail, our current scofflaw-in-chief proved a lot less popular than the drink, losing an election day tally in Harry’s New York Bar to Hillary Clinton 513 to 188.
Not long after the cocktail was created, one of the most notorious scofflaws of the era, Al Capone, started taking over Chicago. It took a good 70 years and the advent of Michael Jordan to finally separate the association of the word Chicago with a machine-gunning Al Capone re-enactment. New York is praying to avoid such a stain with Trump.
Hopefully, one thing these Scofflaws-in-chief might share in common is their undoing over taxes. For all of his murders, racketeering , etc., Capone was brought down on charges of tax evasion. Trump has been evasive about his taxes. Would they reveal extensive ties to Russia proving his collusion? Perhaps they would reveal how badly he has avoided paying taxes (though he says that makes him smart, and he’s already won, so it’s not clear his supporters would have a problem).
Even again today, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that President Donald Trump is still under audit and he wouldn’t say whether Trump will release his taxes for the current year.
So as we ponder the tax evading potential of a gratuitously law flouting Administration, it’s time to have a Scofflaw Cocktail.
Following along with Dr. Cocktail Ted Haigh in his book Vintage Spirits and Vintage Cocktails, the Scofflaw is:
1.5 oz rye
1 oz dry vermouth
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz real pomegranate grenadine
Shake, strain into a cocktail glass with a lemon twist