For every 100 Manhattans that get ordered, there might be one Rob Roy. That’s a crime.

Today, we’re heading into the “Cocktail College” archive as we dispel a myth, occasionally purported on this show, that there aren’t many classic Scotch cocktails. Purists will know that certainly isn’t the case — just look to the Rob Roy for evidence.

Described by today’s guest as “a Manhattan with Scotch,” the reason why this cocktail doesn’t hold the same household-name status as its sibling might simply be because of Scotch whisky’s high price point. Or maybe it’s because the average bar-goer is more familiar with rye than Scotch. Whatever the barrier to entry might be, it doesn’t justify the Rob Roy’s lack of popularity.

Joining Tim McKirdy in the “Cocktail College” studio is fellow Scotland native Adam Montgomerie, bar manager at Hawksmoor New York. Tune in to hear these two Scots discuss the many varieties of Scotch, the history behind the Rob Roy, and how to incorporate the cocktail’s three simple ingredients — whisky, sweet vermouth, and bitters — in different ways.

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Adam Montgomerie’s Rob Roy Recipe


  • 2 ounces single malt Scotch, such as Clynelish 14 Year Old
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth, such as Martini Rosso
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: 1 brandied cherry


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Stir until cold and strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.
  3. Garnish with a brandied cherry. (Optional: express and discard a lemon or orange twist.)