Owing to a misspent youth and for reasons I'd rather not get into, I have no taste whatever for blended Scotch whiskeys. Thus the dearth of Scotch-based cocktails during the Friday Cocktail Hour. But there are some fine Scotch-based elixirs that deserve attention, such as the classic Rob Roy, inspired by a 19th-century Broadway show. This was a tradition back then, naming drinks after shows—a tradition worth reviving, I think. How about it, mixers out there? Give me a Kinky Boots! Or go downtown with a Designated Mourner. Or my fave theater experience of the year, also at the Public Theater, Here Lies Love. I'd love to hear that uttered at a bar.
"What'll it be, pal?"
"Here Lies Love."
"Comin' right up."
Herewith, a true classic, served in classic proportions. I am forced by my own history to use a splendid single malt (best enjoyed neat with a splash of cool water, if anything) for this excellent cocktail. That said, I was surprised and impressed by the complexity of a cocktail made with an excellent single malt. I'd say it's worth it.
This cocktail is of course a variation on the theme of sweet vermouth and bitters; change the Scotch to rye or bourbon and it is called a Manhattan. Use bitters to taste. Angostura is the default here, but I love Hella citrus.
- My cocktail posts on the Boulevardier, the Mint Julep, and the Southside.
- The NYTimes weighed in on what an old-fashioned is, giving two old-fashioned recipes, and a third that needs it's own name.
- Learn about the regions of Scotch in Scotland.
- Here are five essential Scotch cocktails from the Serious Eats.
- When in Cleveland, don't forget to visit the Best Bar in the World: the Velvet Tango Room.
© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.
THE ROB ROY
- 2 ounces Scotch
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- Bitters to taste
- Lemon twist
- Combine the liquids in a shaker with ice, swirl till cold, then pour into a martini glass. Alternatively, mix the liquids in a lowball and add ice. Finish with the lemon twist.