Burns Night, a holiday celebrating Scottish luminary Robert Burns, falls on January 25. In his honor, here’s a rundown of the most innovative new drinks featuring Scotch whisky, ranging from tiki-style libations to smoky Negroni variations, all suitable for toasting Scotland’s best-loved bard.
Don’t Sweat the Technique (Blackbird, San Francisco)
It looks austere, but Matt Grippo’s drink gives blended Scotch a tropical twist with a coconut fat wash. He then blends it with smoked maple syrup and lemon oil.
Great Scott! (Daniel, New York, NY)
This iconic French restaurant has what may be the most elaborate Scotch drink in the world, made with Great King Street Scotch, lemongrass syrup, smoked Earl Grey tea and orange oil. A bar cart is wheeled out so the cocktail can be prepared tableside—and the whole dining room can see (and smell) as the drink is blowtorch-smoked with much ceremony and drama.
Get In The Cah (Gracie’s, Providence, RI)
Created by bar manager Kristi Dukoff, this luscious, wintry warmer is made with Famous Grouse Scotch, 10-year-old Madeira, Aperol and black walnut bitters, plus a finishing sprinkle of coarse fleur de sel.
The Hardest Part (Le Sel, Nashville, TN)
Who says a Scotch cocktail can’t be cool and refreshing? This tall number, created by bartender James Beck, mixes Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch with herbal Becherovka, Licor 43, housemade grenadine, lemon and Angostura bitters, topped up with soda water for a bit of fizz.
Jimmy Mac (Jimmy’s, An American Restaurant & Bar, Aspen, CO)
This drink, served at Jimmy Yeager’s eponymous bar, is made with the guest’s choice of either Macallan 18- or 12-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch, along with small amounts of Averna Amaro, Benedictine and orange bitters, “to keep the light floral and blossom notes present,” in the whiskey, says Yeager.
Love, Sex and Kung Fu (Sexy Taco/Dirty Cash, New York, NY)
Head to this new Harlem hot spot to try owner/mixologist Brian Washington Palmer’s horchata-like sipper, made with Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Tempus Fugit crème de cacao, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur and oat milk, topped with grated chocolate.
The Manchester (Elixir, San Francisco, CA)
Proof that Scotch isn’t too precious to mix into a Whiskey Sour: Elixir proprietor H. Joseph Ehrmann combines Glenmorangie 10-Year-Old Single Malt with Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, clover honey syrup, lemon juice, rosemary and egg white.
Negroni Smoke (312 Chicago, Chicago IL)
How do you improve upon the classic Negroni? You amp it up with a super peaty single malt. Here, head bartender Jennifer Knott uses smoky Ardbeg 10-Year and tops it off with an orange peel rosette.
Plays For Today (The Partisan, Washington, DC)
Bar & Spirits Director Jeff Faile created this bittersweet new drink with Pig’s Nose Blended Scotch whisky, Black Note Amaro, Contratto Bitter and Cointreau orange liqueur.
The Skeleton Key (Resto, New York, NY)
A Mai Tai–inspired Scotch drink? “When I think of Scotch in the winter, for some reason I want it in a tiki-style cocktail,” explains beverage director Bill Brooks. “Maybe it’s because I’m from Florida and sick of all the snow and want a warm beach and some sunshine.” To make it, he mixes Pig’s Nose 5-Year-Old Blended Scotch with velvet falernum, lemon, orange juice and pomegranate grenadine, topping it all with a tropical umbrella.
Smoking Gun (spoonbar, Healdsburg, CA)
This nutty little number from bartender Alec Vlastnik combines Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch, glögg, lemon and nocino, a walnut liqueur, and is garnished with toasted pecan pieces.