Search Our Site

Scotch Whisky Cocktails


rbcocktail photo

Make With: 

Any wonderful scotch whisky will do, so experiment with your favorite dram.


Burns Cocktail

The history of this cocktail is somewhat confusing.  The first recipe for  "Bobby" Burns comes from Harry Craddock's The Savoy Cocktail Book, yet the 1931 published Old Waldorf Bar Days cocktail book lists a similar yet more formally named "Robert Burns" libation which is thought to be the original.  It is not clear whether this one was named for the famous "Bard" or a local cigar salesman of the same name.  In 1948, mixologist David Embury further confused the issue by substituting Drambuie for Benedictine claiming it was preferable because it is made with a Scotch whisky base.   We recommend that whichever way you choose to make this drink, call it a Burns cocktail, as many believe that the diminuitive title of Bobby shows disrespect for this great literary luminary and Scottish Icon.


Makes 1 drink

Equal parts scotch whisky and sweet vermouth (see variations)

Light Dash of bitters (angostura, Peychaud or orange bitters)

Dash of Benedictine to taste (see variations)

There are several variations, the most common one being to change the ratio to 2:1 parts whisky to vermouth (much preferred). 

The Waldorf recipe uses a dash of Absinthe in place of Benedictine and aforementioned Embury substitutes Peychaud's lighter, sweeter bitters for angostura then chooses Drambuie in place of Benedictine for the finishing touch.  Other recipes substitute orange bitters and Pernod for the last two ingredients.


  In a shaker add ingredients and ice.  Shake until blended.  Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.