We went into the world today. Not that we haven’t been going out for groceries and necessities, but we’ve done our best to limit trips into Nashville and Franklin. Trying to buy hyper local as best we can, supporting small business, you know, the usual. Today, I had to go in for some medical stuff, welcome to middle age, and Laura accompanied me. We resupplied our rum stock, made a grocery run and even popped into one of those big home improvement stores to pick up some stuff to fix grandmas ceiling fan. I’d like to say how impressed I was with the responsible way the public behaved, respecting each other’s space, following the one way arrows, wearing masks, covering their mouths when they coughed. I’d like to say that. Hell, I guess I could, I’ve been known to spin a tall tale or two. Instead, I guess we will just make a drink, so join me as we stand and make the classic, and much anticipated, Scofflaw.
I’ve had this one on the list for awhile. I remember enjoying it in a bar once, the ingredients looked interesting and what a name. It’s a prohibition era drink named for those folks who threw caution and propriety to the wind, drinking even when the big, bad, old government said they shouldn’t. It’s amazing how many cocktails we owe to these rebels who braved fines and minor inconvenience in order to risk their own livers on liquor of questionable origin. Some say, that cocktails of this period were mostly created to hide the off flavors associated with watered down bathtub gin and whiskey. Seems like a plausible story, of course it isn’t true in this case, this one comes from the menu of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, where prohibition was just a quirk of American law. A thing to discuss and try to understand as the liquors of the world flowed freely around them, a uniquely American problem. Probably had something to do with the Bill of Rights or some other nebulous freedom, the average French drinker of a century ago, understood little of the complexities of American exceptionalism. So they sat and sipped this drink, scoffing at a law which did not affect them, probably wearing berets and smoking as they looked longingly across the Seine.
So let’s join those carefree folks, spiritually, at least. Grab your tins and toss in 1 1/2 ounces of rye whiskey, I used Crater Lake Reserve out of Oregon, an ounce of dry vermouth, I chose a bottle of Dolin I liberated from my parents. To that add 3/4 ounces of fresh squeezed lime juice and 1/2 ounce of grenadine. Man, they loved grenadine during prohibition. 2 dashes of orange bitters, some ice and you are ready to shake. Take about twenty seconds to shake it as hard as you think it is to follow arrows, you know, as a courtesy, for some of you this will be REALLY hard. Double strain into something cool, I went with some French sunflower crystal I borrowed from mom, to keep with the theme. Garnish with a bit of fresh rosemary, for remembrance, and serve.
I wanted this drink to be so much better. It’s fine, a bit too red, but what are you gonna do in the era of “all the grenadine?” I just wanted, nay, expected more. This drink has a lot going for it on paper, but it just doesn’t come together. It lacks complexity, this drink doesn’t think things through. It’s just sweet and in your face and red. Some days, I guess that would be fine, but drinking from quarantine, I’ve got to say it simply isn’t enough. We deserve better. Roussea had some choice words, in fact a whole book of them, regarding the Social Contract. The loose framework of things we all agree on as a society. That we will behave, mostly, in ways that are the best for the group. Not anything heroic, just little stuff, doing our best to not harm our fellow human. It’s an interesting read, of course, he wrote it in 1762. Pre-revolution, for both France and America, so clearly it’s not relevant today. It was written in a time where the freedoms we enjoy were just a dream. Not yet purchased with blood and loss, long before Stan Lee paraphrased its central tenet that, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” You know, maybe it is relevant, maybe we ought to take another look. Me, I’m gonna keep drinking. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.