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Our Favorite Scotch Cocktails You Should Try

There’s a common misconception that using scotch to make cocktails is a waste of good whisky.

10 Great Scotch Cocktails You Won’t Want To Miss

But this isn’t true at all! Mixing scotch with other liqueurs, mixers, and bitters can enhance the flavors and characteristics of the whisky to create a drink like you’ve never had before. 

Below, you’ll find our favorite great scotch cocktails that you won’t want to miss. Some of these you’ll have heard of before, while others will be brand new to you.

Either way, you’re guaranteed to learn some amazing cocktail recipes that will allow you to enjoy your favorite whisky in more than one way.

Best Scotch Whisky Cocktails

  1. Rob Roy
  2. Scotch Sour
  3. Rusty Nail
  4. Affinity
  5. Robert Burns
  6. Blood & Sand
  7. The Godfather
  8. Smoked Rose
  9. Ruby Queen
  10. Penicillin Cocktail
  11. The Great Pumpkin

Rob Roy

1. Rob Roy

Also known as a ‘Scotch Manhattan’, the Rob Roy is an easy-to-make scotch cocktail that consists of only three ingredients.

It can be made with either single malt or blended scotch, and its simplicity still allows the complexity of flavors to shine through while enhancing the notes. 

Here’s how to make a Rob Roy:


  • Scotch whiskey – 1 ½ oz
  • Sweet vermouth – ¾ oz
  • Angostura bitters – 2 dashes
  • Maraschino cherry to garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the scotch, vermouth, and bitters.
  2. Shake for 30 seconds until everything is well chilled.
  3. Strain into a martini glass, top with the Maraschino cherry and serve

Scotch Sour

2. Scotch Sour

If you’re a fan of scotch on the rocks you’ll love this cocktail. Think of the Scotch Sour as an elevated version of your favorite way to drink whisky. It enhances the natural flavors of your chosen scotch while the addition of lemon juice gives it a citrus kick. It’s also very easy to mix.

Here’s how to make a Scotch Sour:


  • Blended scotch whisky – 1 ½ oz
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice – ¾ oz


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then add the blended scotch whisky and lemon juice.
  2. Shake vigorously until extremely cold.
  3. Fill a short glass with ice, strain the cocktail mixture in, serve, and enjoy.

Rusty Nail

3. Rusty Nail

The Rusty Nail is one of the most iconic scotch cocktails in the world. It’s particularly good for exploring the flavor notes of a whisky you’ve never tasted before, and it makes a great after-dinner drink at any dinner party.

You’re not restricted to using a certain type of scotch either as it can be made with both single malt or blended whisky. 

Here’s how to make a Rusty Nail:


  • Scotch whiskey – 1 ½ oz
  • Drambuie – ¾ oz


  1. Fill a short glass with ice.
  2. Pour in the scotch whisky and Drambuie.
  3. Stir well and serve. 


4. Affinity

This is another scotch cocktail that is based around a Manhattan. The Affinity combines whisky with both sweet and dry vermouth along with orange bitters to create a delicious cocktail with complex, smoky flavors. 

Here’s how to make an Affinity:


  • Scotch whisky – 1 ½ oz
  • Dry vermouth – ½ oz
  • Sweet vermouth – ½ oz
  • Orange bitters – 2 dashes


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then pour in the scotch, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters.
  2. Shake for 30 seconds until everything is super cold.
  3. Grab a martini glass and strain in the cocktail mixture. 
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Robert Burns

5. Robert Burns

The first thing you need to know about a Robert Burns scotch cocktail is that it’s very strong. This isn’t one for the faint hearted and you’ll really need to like strong flavors if you want to enjoy it.

Its strength does give it a certain amount of warmth though, so it’s a great choice for a cold winter’s evening in front of the fireplace.

Here’s how to make a Robert Burns:


  • Scotch whisky – 2 oz
  • Sweet vermouth – ¾ oz
  • Absinthe – 1 dash
  • Orange bitters – 1 dash


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, absinthe, and orange bitters.
  2. Give everything a good shake until the cocktail shaker is so cold it’s almost hard to hold.
  3. Take a martini glass and strain in the cocktail mixture.
  4. Serve and enjoy.

Blood & Sand

6. Blood & Sand

If you’re really looking for a way to impress with your mixology skills, the Blood & Sand cocktail is one you need to add to your repertoire.

Named after the movie ‘Blood and Sand’ (which has had multiple remakes), this cocktail enhances the flavors of your scotch and adds a slight sweetness with citrus and cherry.

Here’s how to make a Blood & Sand:


  • Scotch whisky – ¾ oz
  • Cherry brandy – ¾ oz
  • Sweet vermouth – ¾ oz
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice – ¾ oz
  • Twist of orange peel to garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the scotch whisky, cherry brandy, sweet vermouth, and orange juice. 
  2. Shake for 30 seconds until everything is really cold.
  3. Next, take a martini glass and strain it in the cocktail mixture. 
  4. Garnish with the orange peel twist, serve, and enjoy.

The Godfather

7. The Godfather

If simplicity is your thing, then The Godfather is an excellent choice. It’s easy to make, uses only two ingredients, and you don’t even need to bother with a cocktail shaker.

The sweet, nutty notes of the amaretto match perfectly with the smoky flavor of scotch without either fighting for attention. This is simply a delicious, well-balanced cocktail. 

Here’s how to make The Godfather:


  • Scotch whisky – 1 ½ oz
  • Amaretto – ½ oz


  1. Half fill a short glass with ice cubes.
  2. Pour in the scotch whisky followed by the amaretto.
  3. Stir both liqueurs together, serve, and enjoy.

Smoked Rose

8. Smoked Rose

If you’re a confident mixologist or you’re looking to take your drink-making game to the next level, the Smoked Rose is an essential addition to your cocktail recipe book.

The method is slightly more involved than simply mixing ingredients together as you’ll need to smoke a glass with rosemary. However, taking the time to do this is totally worth it as it will enhance the natural smokiness of your scotch and really let it shine. 

Here’s how to make a Smoked Rose:


  • Water – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Rosemary – 4 sprigs
  • Scotch whisky – 2 oz
  • Green Chartreuse liqueur – ½ oz


  1. Start by making the rosemary syrup by adding the water to a pan and bringing it to a slow boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add the sugar and stir continuously until it’s completely dissolved.
  3. Next, add 3 of the rosemary sprigs, turn the heat down to its lowest temperature, put a lid on the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  4. After the 15 minutes have passed, take the pan off the heat and allow the rosemary syrup to cool completely. 
  5. Once it’s cool, you can start making the rest of the cocktail starting with smoking the glass.
  6. To do this, light the 4th rosemary sprig on fire, allow it to burn for a few seconds, then blow it out.
  7. Place the smoking rosemary sprig inside a coupe glass.
  8. Now, fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the scotch whisky, Green Chartreuse, and ¼ oz of your homemade rosemary syrup.
  9. Shake vigorously until cold. 
  10. Strain into the smoked glass, serve and enjoy.

Ruby Queen

9. Ruby Queen

This is one for the really adventurous cocktail drinker! At first glance, the Ruby Queen may seem like an odd combination of ingredients, calling for beet juice, honey, and lemon.

But, trust us, this mix of flavors really enhances the flavors of the scotch by bringing in some naturally sweet notes. 

Here’s how to make a Ruby Queen:


  • Scotch whisky – 1 ½ oz
  • Fresh red beet juice – 1 oz
  • Honey syrup – ¾ oz
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice – ¾ oz
  • A twist of lemon peel and a sprig of fresh tarragon to garnish


  1. Pour the scotch whisky, fresh red beet juice, honey syrup, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker then top with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds to ensure everything is well chilled.
  3. Strain this bright red mixture into a martini glass. 
  4. Garnish with the lemon peel twist and fresh tarragon.

Penicillin Cocktail

Boozy Alcoholic Penicillin Cocktail with Scotch and Ginger
Boozy Alcoholic Penicillin Cocktail with Scotch and Ginger

Created by Sam Ross in the mid-2000s, the Penicillin cocktail originated in New York City’s famous Milk & Honey bar. It has quickly become a modern classic in the world of cocktails and is popular around the world. Leaving out the bourbon of another classic Milk & Honey cocktail, the Gold Rush, Ross changed the ingredients up a bit, adding a mix blended scotch with fresh lemon and homemade honey-ginger syrup instead. 

Here’s how to make a Penicillin cocktail:


  • Blended scotch – 2 oz
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice – ¾ oz
  • Honey-ginger syrup – ¾ oz
  • Islay single malt scotch – ¼ oz
  • Candied ginger (garnish)


  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Add the blended scotch, lemon juice, and syrup into the shaker and shake until it’s well-chilled.
  3. Strain this mixture into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
  4. Place islay single malt scotch on top.
  5. Garnish with a single piece of candied ginger. 

The Great Pumpkin

10. The Great Pumpkin

The final cocktail on our list is a delicious drink that is perfect for the fall season as it features a combination of classic fall flavors while still letting the scotch shine through.

It does take a little longer than most to make as you’ll need to infuse the scotch with sugar pumpkin but, once you’ve done that, you’ll have a batch that is ready to use whenever you want to enjoy this delicious drink.

Here’s how to make The Great Pumpkin:


  • 1 sugar pumpkin
  • 1 750ml bottle of Scotch whisky
  • Ginger liqueur – 1 oz
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice – ½ oz
  • Maple syrup – ½ oz 
  • Ground cinnamon to garnish


  1. Preheat your oven to 250ºF. Peel and chop the sugar pumpkin into 2-inch square pieces, lay them across a baking sheet in an even layer, sprinkle with a little salt, and roast for 20 minutes. 
  2. Once out of the oven, put the roasted sugar pumpkin in an airtight container, pour over the scotch, seal it, and let it steep for 48 hours.
  3. After this time, strain off the pumpkin and pour the scotch back into the bottle. This needs to be kept refrigerated at all times. 
  4. To make the cocktail, fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in 1 oz of the pumpkin-infused scotch along with the ginger liqueur, lemon juice, and maple syrup.
  5. Shake well before straining into a martini glass. 
  6. Garnish with a dash of ground cinnamon and enjoy!

Final Thoughts

Scotch can be as complex or simple as you wish. Whether you are using aged or single malt, peaty or oaked barrel, cocktail making with Scotch Whisky will be an enjoyable and tasty experience.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.