Scoff-Law | Original Recipe & History

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Course: DrinksCuisine: French






Total time



Learn how to make a classic Scoff-law Cocktail.


  • 1/2 oz 15 ml Lemon Juice

  • 1/2 oz 15 ml Grenadine

  • 1 dash 1 dash Orange Bitters

  • 1 oz 30 ml Dry Vermouth

  • 1 oz 30 ml Rye Whiskey


  • Technique: Saxe Soda Shake
  • Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker.
  • Add one medium or two small ice cubes to the cocktail shaker and shake until the ice fully melts.
  • Without a strainer, pour the chilled and aerated drink into a glass.


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History Of The Scoff-Law

The earliest recipe for the Scoff-Law (or just Scofflaw) I can find comes from the 1927 book “Barflies and Cocktails” by Harry McElhone. McElhone credits a bartender named Jock at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris for inventing the drink. The cocktail was named after the prohibition term “Scoff-Law,” which at the time meant anyone who illegally drank—ignoring the laws against alcohol consumption. The term is still used today to indicate someone who scoffs at the laws and intentionally breaks them. The book Barflies and Cocktails cited an article from the Chicago Tribune on January 27, 1924.

“Hardly has Boston added to the Gaiety of Nations by adding to Webster’s Dictionary the opprobrious term of “scoff-law” to indicate the chap who indicts the bootlegger, when Paris comes back with a “wet answer” — Jock, the genial bartender of Harry’s New York Bar, yesterday invented the Scoff-law Cocktail, and it has already become exceedingly popular among American prohibition dodgers.”

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