Scotch, the oaky, smoky Gaelic whisky beloved around the world, is often sipped neat. Made peated or unpeated, offerings across the category are highly collectable and can cost a pretty penny. With its rich and sometimes daunting flavor profile, Scotch also makes for a versatile ingredient in inventive cocktails.
Though its flavors are uniquely bold, Scotch can easily balance out zesty citrus notes or join forces with herbal liqueurs in delicious, highly craveable concoctions. From classic recipes to innovative riffs, these are eight of the best cocktails to make with Scotch whisky.
Inspired by the eponymous 1972 film, The Godfather combines the Don’s favorite spirit with amaretto liqueur from his motherland. Like revenge, this drink is best served cold, so be sure to stir with plenty of ice.
This twist on the world’s favorite bourbon drink swaps bourbon’s smooth caramel notes for the spicier, smokier flavors of Scotch. Combine the Celtic spirit with Demerara syrup, aromatic bitters, and orange bitters to make your classic Old Fashioned feel new again.
Created in New York City by Australian bartender Sam Ross, the Penicillin is now considered a modern classic. The drink mixes blended Scotch with lemon juice, honey syrup, and fresh ginger for brightness. Top it off with an Islay Scotch floater to seal in the spirit’s beloved oaky notes.
No ingredients need to be harmed in the making of this cocktail. Despite its gory name, the Blood and Sand was actually named for the 1922 bullfighter film of the same title. To make one, combine Scotch, cherry Heering, sweet vermouth, orange juice, plus an optional lemon squeeze for extra tartness.
Created in 1884 at NYC’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, the Rob Roy is essentially a Manhattan made with Scotch rather than rye. Like the Manhattan, the Rob Roy combines the spirit with sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters, and is topped with a cocktail cherry.
While its name may not sound all that appetizing, the Rusty Nail was a 1960s mainstay for good reason. A combination of Scotch and Drambuie — a warming Scotch-based liqueur infused with honey and herbs — the drink is decadent in its simplicity.
Ideal for winter nights, the Grapefruit Penicillin trades lemon juice for its more bitter citrus cousin. The resulting drink is sure to warm up chilly nights in, but also makes for an ideal aperitif in any season.
The Scottish Seaside imparts an herbal aroma on the Old Fashioned with the citrus-forward, caramel notes of Licor 43. The Spanish liqueur is made with 43 herbs and botanicals, which pack a ton of flavor into this otherwise simple drink.