In our recent conversation with Ken Burns, the award-winning filmmaker with the distinctive bowl-shaped haircut admitted that many who’ve watched his and Lynn Novick’s 5 ½ hour documentary Prohibition end up with cocktail-cravings. Which got us thinking: What if we were to ask Eric Alperin, co-owner of The Varnish bar in Historic Downtown Los Angeles and Prohibition-era scholar, to suggest a suitable cocktail to imbibe while you’re learning about our country’s famously unsuccessful social experiment?
“Let me mull it over,” Alperin responded via e-mail.
Less than twenty minutes later, along with a follow-up note from Alperin (“The mull happened quickly…”) we had instructions for the perfect pairing for the PBS special: an intoxicating pink beverage called a Scofflaw.
The drink takes its name from a contest sponsored by the Anti-Saloon League, one that is actually covered in Burns and Novick’s documentary, that presented the challenge to make up a new word for someone who disregards the 18th amendment and tipples anyway: Not one, but two people thought of merging “scoff” and “law” and took home the $200 prize.
With a flash of humor, Harry’s New York bar in Paris responded by coming up with a Rye-based nose-thumbing classic:
From: Adapted by Eric Alperin
Makes: 1 drink
1 ounce Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)
1 ounce Dry Vermouth (Dolin Dry Vermouth)
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
3/4 ounces house made grenadine (a mixture of sugar and pomegranate concentrate.)
1 dash of Orange Bitters (Regan’s Orange Bitters or Fee Brothers Orange Bitters)
1. Shake with a rock of ice and serve in a chilled coupe glass. No garnish.