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The Best Scotch Cocktails To Drink Your Way Into Fall


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Summer was a lot of fun, but it’s over now. We just have to accept that and move on to bolder, peaty-er, smokier things. Because autumn is the perfect time to get into Scotland’s native spirit.

If you’re unfamiliar with Scotch, you might find it to be a little intimidating. That’s okay. We’re here to help ease you into the world of Glenmorangie, Macallan, Bruichladdich, and Ardbeg. We don’t expect you to stop by your local liquor store, grab the first bottle of Scotch you see, take it home, pour yourself a dram and sip. If you’re new to the spirit, your best bet is to try it first in the form of a cocktail. Luckily, there are plenty of Scotch-based cocktails for you the sample and they’re almost all perfect for fall weather.

Below you’ll find some of our favorites.

Penicillin

Created by Australian bartender Sam Ross at New York’s Milk & Honey in 2005, Penicillin might be the most popular Scotch-based cocktail in the world. This combination of blended Scotch, smoky Islay Scotch, honey syrup, and lemon juice is like a modern-day, iced version of the iconic Hot Toddy.

Recipe:
2 ounces blended Scotch whisky
¾ ounces lemon juice
¾ ounces honey syrup
¼ ounce Islay single-malt Scotch whisky

Roby Roy

Supposedly named for a character in a Sir Walter Scott novel, the Rob Roy was invented in the late 1800s at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. In the simplest terms, it’s the Scotch version of the iconic Manhattan along with the usual vermouth and Angostura bitters.

Recipe:
2 ounces Scotch whisky
¼ ounces sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Rusty Nail

The Rusty Nail has been around since the early 1900s, but it didn’t gain popularity until much later. Bartenders at New York’s 21 Club cemented its popularity in the 1960s and it’s been a bar staple ever since. This very simple cocktail only contains two ingredients: Scotch and Drambuie.

Recipe:
2 ounces Scotch whisky
½ ounce Drambuie

The Godfather

Not surprisingly, this drink named for the film of the same name, first gained a following in the 1970s. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and rich because of the 50/50 combination of Scotch and Amaretto. It’s also the perfect accompaniment to a fall Godfather marathon.

Recipe
1 ounce Scotch whisky
1 ounce Amaretto

Hot Toddy

It might require an unseasonably cold fall evening to truly enjoy, but the Hot Toddy is one of the best Scotch-based cocktails ever created. Basically, the drink consists of hot water and whisky. Believed to have medicinal qualities, modern day Hot Toddies are made with Scotch, hot water, honey, and lemon.

Recipe:
1 ½ ounces Scotch whisky
1 teaspoon honey
2 ounces hot water
Lemon slice

Blood and Sand

Named for Rudolph Valentino’s 1922 film of the same name, Blood and Sand is one of the most well-known Scotch cocktails. The blood is a reference to the cherry liqueur and the sand is a reference to the orange juice. The drink also includes Scotch and vermouth.

Recipe:
¾ ounces Scotch whisky
¾ ounces sweet vermouth
¾ ounces Heering cherry liqueur
¾ ounces orange juice

Robert Burns

Named for the famed Scottish poet, the Robert Burns cocktail is pretty much an amped up version of the Rob Roy. On top of the Scotch, vermouth, and bitters, this version also contains absinthe. Enjoy a drink on a chilly fall day while reading the work of the well-known writer.

Recipe:
2 ounces Scotch whisky
¾ ounces sweet vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
1 dash absinthe

Presbyterian

This classic whisky highball is probably the best drink on this list to bridge the gap between summer and fall. This effervescent, refreshing mixed drink combines Scotch, club soda, ginger ale, and lemon. Make up a whole batch for your friends and family and sip it around a late summer campfire.

Recipe:
2 ounces Scotch
Topped off with equal parts ginger ale and soda water
Lemon slice

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