Although mixologists might not reach for it as frequently as other spirits, Scotch whisky is a starring player in a number of cocktails. In celebration of International Scotch Day, we’ve gathered seven of our favourite cocktails that showcase the versatility of Scotland’s national drink.
Burns Night might have been and gone for 2024, but the Scottish bard’s spirit is alive and well in this cocktail. Alongside the recipe in his 1930 classic The Savoy Book, Henry Craddock notes that the Bobby Burns is “a very fast mover on St Andrew’s Day.”
- 30ml blended Scotch whisky
- 30ml sweet vermouth
- 15ml Bénédectine
- Lemon peel
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. Twist lemon peel over the glass to release oils then add.
This Scotch version of a Manhattan was named in 1894 to celebrate the opening of the operetta about Rob Roy MacGregor, Scottish folk hero.
- - 45ml Scotch whisky
- - 25ml sweet vermouth
- - 1 dash Angostura bitters
Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with two skewered maraschino cherries.
Don’t worry, this shouldn’t give you tetanus – but if it did, you could follow it up with the Penicillin below* (*please don’t take health advice from a whisky website). The Rusty Nail, which features just Scotch whisky and the Scotch-based liqueur Drambuie, has had several names since it first appeared in 1937, including the D&S and the Knucklehead.
- - 45ml Scotch whisky
- - 25ml Drambuie
Pour all ingredients directly into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Stir gently and garnish with lemon peel.
This one wasn’t discovered by Fleming, but since it features two Scotch whiskies, we think it’s just as important. The Penicillin is so-called for its traditionally medicinal ingredients of lemon, honey and ginger.
- - 60ml Scotch whisky
- - 7.5ml Islay (peated) single malt Scotch whisky
- - 22.5ml fresh lemon juice
- - 22.5ml honey syrup
- - Small slice of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
Muddle fresh ginger in a shaker. Add the remaining ingredients, except the Islay single malt. Fill with ice and shake. Double strain into chilled Old Fashioned glass. Float the Islay single malt on top. Garnish with candied ginger.
Blood and Sand
Named after the 1922 bullfighter film of the same name, this cocktail in fact contains neither blood nor sand. Instead, orange juice and Cherry Heering give the Blood and Sand a fresh and fruity flavour.
- - 22.5ml blended Scotch whisky
- - 22.5ml fresh orange juice
- - 22.5ml sweet vermouth
- - 22.5ml Cherry Heering
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with orange peel.
Revenge is a dish best served cold, and the Godfather is a drink best served over ice. Popularised in the 1970s, the name is perhaps a nod to the inclusion of the Italian amaretto.
- - 60ml Scotch
- - 20ml amaretto
- Pour all ingredients into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Stir gently and garnish with orange peel.
Scotch Whisky Sour
A Scotch twist on the bourbon classic. With roots in sailing, the lemon juice in this cocktail is thought to have been added to help prevent scurvy amongst ships’ crews.
- 45ml Scotch whisky
- 30ml fresh lemon juice
- 15ml simple syrup
- 1/2 egg white (optional)
Shake ingredients with ice (if using egg white, shake first without ice, then again with ice). Strain into chilled glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry and half an orange slice.