4 Essential Scotch Cocktails You Need to Know How to Make

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Editor’s Note: Last November we had the pleasure of spending 10 captivating days in Scotland. Below is but one adventure of many from our stay. We hope the joy we experienced comes through in all our posts and missives from our adventure, which no doubt read better with a wee dram in hand.

No one here at The Manual is going to argue that Scotch whisky on its own isn’t great. It is, in fact, one of the great pleasures in life, up there with all-you-can-eat wings and ten-game winning streaks by your favorite sports teams. Sometimes, though it’s good to mix it up, even with Scotch (we’re not saying using the bottle of Glenlivet 1974 that you inherited from your father, but don’t skimp, either).

We’ve collected three classic Scotch whisky cocktails and one modern classic (thanks to New York bartender Sam Ross) that you should know how to make for yourself and for any other Scotch-loving people in your life (which, if you’re surrounding yourself with the right people, is just about everyone). None of these drinks are difficult to make, but just in case, you might want to buy a little extra of each ingredient and make a couple for yourself one night. For research purposes, of course.

The Rob Roy


  • 2 oz Scotch whisky
  • .75 oz Sweet vermouth
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters

Method: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

The Blood and Sand


  • .75 oz Blended Scotch whisky
  • .75 oz Sweet vermouth
  • .75 oz Blood orange juice
  • .75 oz Cherry Heering

Method: Put all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orange peel. 

The Rusty Nail

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Method: Add ingredients to a rocks glass filled with ice. Stir and garnish with a twist of lemon.

(Created by Sam Ross, NYC)

  • 2 oz blended Scotch whisky
  • .75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .75 oz honey syrup
  • 3 slices fresh ginger
  • .25 oz Islay single malt Scotch

Method: Muddle ginger in cocktail shaker until well broken up. Add blended Scotch, lemon, and honey syrup. Add ice and shake well. Double strain into a rocks glass with ice and float the Islay Scotch over top by pouring over the back a bar spoon.