November 20, 2022

Scofflaw Cocktail: Whiskey and Grenadine Make a Tasty Pair

Not all whiskey cocktails are boozy and stirred and the Scofflaw is a perfect example of how they can be light and fruity too.

The finished scofflaw cocktail

Rich and fruity grenadine is a delicious pair for spicy rye whiskey. A little fresh lemon juice and vermouth for complexity creates a prohibition era cocktail that's still worth drinking today.

The Scofflaw cocktail is balanced between sweet and tart with a base of rye whiskey that is really mellowed out for a seriously smooth whiskey cocktail.

Just because a drink recipe is old doesn't mean it's good, but I think the Scofflaw is so let's make one.

Measuring a jigger of rye whiskey

What is a Scofflaw?

The term Scofflaw is a corny word combination that was the result of a contest held by a prominent supporter of prohibition, Delcevere King.

In 1924 Mr. King held a competition that would offer $200 in gold to the individual that coined the best derogatory term for those that ignored the laws of prohibition.

The contest drew massive attention with thousands of entries and, dumb as it may seem, the term Scofflaw won.

To poke fun at the Americans and their failing attempts to halt drunkenness, the New York Bar in Paris came up with this cocktail just weeks after the winning term “Scofflaw” was announced.

measuring homemade grenadine

The Scofflaw cocktail recipe

It seems like just about every recipe for the Scofflaw has a different ratio of ingredients.

Almost every recipe uses 1 1/2 oz of rye whiskey and 1 oz of dry vermouth, but the lemon and grenadine are where things can be adjusted to your tastes.

pouring grenadine

Grenadine Recipe

It's not too difficult to make and you can use it in your other drinks too!

You can use very little lemon juice and grenadine for a more dry and booze forward cocktail, or try only lowering the amount of grenadine to make it a bit more tart.

If you'd like it with a bit more kick use 2 oz of whiskey and keep everything else the same.

Some recipes call for as little as just a few barspoons of grenadine but the combination of whiskey and grenadine is so delicious that I like to really taste it (but balanced with tart lemon of course).

As always, use the recipe as a starting point and tweak it to your liking.

opening a bottle of dry vermouth

Ingredients to make your Scofflaw

The Scofflaw cocktail uses:

  • Rye Whiskey: Old Overholt and Rittenhouse are both great mixing options
  • Dry Vermouth: Dolin Dry is my go-to
  • Grenadine: Good quality or homemade (no Torani or Rose's)
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: You know what that is...
  • Orange Bitters: Optional but a nice addition

Combining whiskey and dry vermouth isn't all that common, but just because you don't like martinis doesn't mean you should be scared of the vermouth.

It is there to add a mellow layer of complexity and is not a big flavor in the final cocktail.

A couple dashes of orange bitters give an extra deep citrus boost which can be ramped up even more be squeezing a piece of orange peel over the finished drink.

double straining the scofflaw cocktail

Scofflaw Cocktail Recipe

A classic whiskey and grenadine prohibition era cocktail that's balanced between tart and fruity


  • 1 1/2 Oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1 Oz Dry Vermouth
  • 3/4 Oz Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 Oz Grenadine
  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters - optional
  • 1 Orange Peel - optional


  • Add the ingredients to your shaker
  • Add ice and shake for about 12 seconds
  • Double Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • Express oils from orange peel of the drink and drop in for garnish. (optional)


The orange bitters and orange peel are optional but add another level of citrusy zip if you'd like.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 drink
Tag me at @mydrinkinghobby when you make this!

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The scofflaw cocktail pinterest

Whiskey and dry vermouth don't sound like the start to a crowd-pleasing drink recipe, but with lemon and grenadine I think the Scofflaw can make plenty of cocktail drinkers happy.

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