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Bartenders Name The Best Scotch Whiskies To Mix With This Winter

Sure, we enjoy a nice warming dram of single malt or blended Scotch whisky on a cold winter’s night. But sometimes we prefer the change of pace of a wintry hot toddy, rusty nail, or godfather. Luckily, there are plenty of high-quality, reasonably priced scotches with flavors that are well-suited for winter cocktails.

Regarding those aforementioned flavors, scotch offers two very different avenues for mixing. You can go with smoky whiskies to build your penicillin, Rob Roy, or blood and sand. Or you can grab a bottle of sherry-finished Scotch whisky and use those deeply resonant flavors of plums, holiday spices, orange, and chocolate to build a Scotch old fashioned, sour, or toddy.

To help you find the best possible options, we asked 15 bartenders to tell us their picks for the best Scotch whiskies to mix with this winter. Keep scrolling to see all of their selections.

Harleston Green Blended Scotch Whisky

Harleston Green Blended Scotch Whisky
Harleston Green

Kimberly Schow, bar director at Hotel Dryce in Fort Worth, Texas

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $13

Why This Whisky?

At Hotel Dryce, we are currently using Harleston Green Blended Scotch in our cocktails, and we love it due to its mellow, easy mixability. You can’t go wrong with a rusty nail or Scotch and soda to warm up on a winter night.

Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky

Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky
Johnnie Walker

Juliana Ortiz, food and beverage manager at The Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg, Florida

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $28

Why This Whisky?

Johnnie Walker Black Label is one of the most popular scotches that customers request for wintry cocktails and for good reason. It’s full-bodied and the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, fruity, and smoky all in one sip and mixes well.

Dewar’s White Label Blended Scotch Whisky

Dewar’s White Label Blended Scotch Whisky
Dewar

Nick du Mortier, lead mixologist at Bar Pendry in Chicago

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $25

Why This Whisky?

Dewar’s White Label is always going to play nicely in mixed drinks. It’s one of the few Scotches I drink that makes me want more of its subtle flavors of lemon and honey. Mix it with some freshly squeezed lemon juice, balance it all with a citric acid-spiked chamomile tea honey syrup, and you’ll feel like you’ve rounded the fifth corner to spring.

Talisker 10 Single Malt Whisky

Talisker 10 Single Malt Whisky
Talisker

Aaron Ramirez, lead bartender at The Restaurant at Mr. C Beverly Hills in Los Angeles

ABV: 45.8%

Average Price: $65

Why This Whisky?

My favorite scotch to mix with is a Talisker 10. It has a peaty, smoky flavor which makes it the perfect choice for a penicillin shot or godfather cocktail. Overall, it’s a pretty well-rounded, complex addition to wintry cocktails.

Laphroaig 10 Single Malt Whisky

Laphroaig 10 Single Malt Whisky
Laphroaig

Christopher Devern, lead bartender of Red Owl Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $62

Why This Whisky?

Laphroaig 10 Year is my pick. This classic Islay single malt adds warming complexity to cocktails like a penicillin. Smoke and peat in the winter are a great way to warm up. Also, try adding a half-ounce to an old fashioned to bring it to a new level of complexity.

Lagavulin 16 Single Malt Whisky

Lagavulin 16 Single Malt Whisky
Lagavulin

Sean Ingenthron, bartender at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Carlsbad, California

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $80

Why This Whisky?

My favorite Scotch whisky to mix in the winter months is Lagavulin 16. It’s from Islay and carries with it heavy peated flavors and aromas. These heavily smoky and wintery profiles are perfect for an Islay old fashioned when paired with rich sugar and Creole bitters.

Glenmorangie X Single Malt Whisky

Glenmorangie X Single Malt Whisky
Glenmorangie

Mark Phelan, beverage director at 16″ On Center in Chicago

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $38

Why This Whisky?

Glenmorangie X is a recent addition to the scotch landscape. When our team blind tasted it alongside other value-driven options, it was the unanimous favorite. It has a body and richness that stands up well in cocktails both shaken and stirred. Plus, it’s a single malt versus a blended scotch, so it is a fine sip on its own.

The Dalmore 12 Single Malt Whisky

The Dalmore 12 Single Malt Whisky
The Dalmore

Marla White, lead bartender at Lona Cocina & Tequileria in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $65

Why This Whisky?

The Dalmore 12 is my go-to. The aging process for this scotch is very interesting and makes a complex single malt. The first stage of aging happens in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels. Then it is transferred to 30-year-old sherry casks. The sherry mixed with the peat flavors brings heat and earthiness that will warm up your cocktails during the winter months.

Aberlour 12 Single Malt Whisky

Aberlour 12 Single Malt Whisky
Aberlour

Robert Kidd, bar manager at Le Cavalier in Wilmington, Delaware

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $40

Why This Whisky?

Having a nice peaty scotch to work within the winter seems like the go-to. Personally, I find this flavor profile can be a bit overpowering. I have been using Aberlour 12-Year instead. Aberlour is not peaty and has lovely notes of caramel, dried fruits, and a touch of nuttiness from the Oloroso sherry casks it’s finished in. If you do want to bring that smokiness to your drink, try just spraying a layer of peaty scotch over your drink or rinsing the glass.

This will give you a supple smokiness that allows other flavors to come through.

Highland Park 12 Single Malt Whisky

Highland Park 12 Single Malt Whisky
Highland Park

Lee Noble, lead mixologist at Art in the Age in Philadelphia

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $50

Why This Whisky?

Highland Park 12 is a nice dram on its own, mixed into a Scotch cocktail, or subbed in for bourbon or rye in a classic whisky cocktail recipe. The full, round flavors, like heather honey and vanilla with some citrus, with a gentle smoke profile, make it a versatile single malt to mix with this season.

The Famous Grouse Smoky Black Blended Scotch Whisky

The Famous Grouse Smoky Black Blended Scotch Whisky
The Famous Grouse

John Tran, restaurant manager of BluSky Restaurant & Bar in Anaheim, California

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $27

Why This Whisky?

I love the fact that this scotch is very price-friendly, so I don’t feel guilty turning it into a winter cocktail. Throw into a blood and sand cocktail and enjoy the peat singing a gentle melody with the support of the other spirits in the mix and this cocktail is one to love.

Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch Whisky

Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch Whisky
Monkey Shoulder

Zach Wilks, bartender at Anthony’s Chophouse in Carmel, Indiana

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $35

Why This Whisky?

For winter cocktails, I always reach for Monkey Shoulder. It’s a blended scotch from the Speyside region with a great richness that rounds out cocktails and gives a touch of vanilla and subtle fruit flavors. It’s a great way to add an interesting new dimension to too many common whisky cocktails.

The Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask Single Malt Whisky

The Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask Single Malt Whisky
The Balvenie

Vanessa Consiglieri, bar manager at Botanico Gin & Cookhouse in Coconut Grove, Florida

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $80

Why This Whisky?

My favorite scotch to mix with during the winter months would have to be The Balvenie 14-Year-Old Caribbean Cask because it’s very well-rounded and works well in a variety of cocktails. I also enjoy this scotch neat or on the rocks because of its sweet, warm notes.

Pig’s Nose Blended Scotch Whisky

Pig’s Nose Blended Scotch Whisky
Pig

Andres Bedoya, bartender at The Apothecary 330 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $25

Why This Whisky?

If I’m mixing with a scotch in the winter, I prefer to use a blended scotch. My biggest discovery has been Pig’s Nose Blended Scotch Whisky. It’s not sweet or smokey, just a perfect blend that is great to use in a penicillin and many other cocktails.

Ardbeg Wee Beastie Single Malt Whisky

Ardbeg Wee Beastie Single Malt Whisky
Ardbeg

Cassie Stockbridge, bartender at Lobby Bar at The Godfrey Hotel in Boston

ABV: 47.4%

Average Price: $45

Why This Whisky?

The Scotch sour is a classic cocktail that is perfect during the long winter months. Ardbeg Wee Beastie is my scotch of choice to mix in this drink. The crisp and sweet-tart initial taste complements the smoky and peaty finish to make this cocktail unlike any other whiskey sour you’ve ever tasted.

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