Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Scotch Cocktails

Big Red

Big Red cocktail in a Collins glass over ice with two red-and-white straws, served next to a bottle of Budweiser
Image: / Tim Nusog

The snap of ginger, the smoke of scotch, the King of Beers: These are odd but happy bedfellows. And they all come together in the Big Red cocktail from Casey Elsass, author of “Maple Syrup” and founder of Bushwick Kitchen, a company that makes unique hot sauces, maple syrups and honey. He knows a thing or two about combining unexpected flavors, and that skill is on display here.

The cocktail begins with Johnnie Walker Red Label, a workhorse blended scotch that makes a great highball. Most highballs (think Scotch & Soda) contain a spirit and a larger portion of non-alcoholic mixer, like sparkling water or ginger ale. But the Big Red takes its own path by calling for equal measures of beer and ginger beer. The former intensifies the refreshment, while the latter adds a welcome blend of spice and sweetness.

When considering which ginger beer to use, you can choose from one of the many high-quality options on store shelves, or you can try making it yourself. The DIY version is delicious, rewarding and easier to make than you might think. And, while Budweiser is never difficult to source, you can experiment with other lagers if you want. Just be sure that your beer isn’t too overpowering, or it will steal the spotlight from the show’s real stars.


  • 2 ounces Johnnie Walker Red Label scotch whisky

  • 2 ounces Budweiser

  • 2 ounces ginger beer


  1. Fill a Collins glass with ice, then add the Johnnie Walker, Budweiser and ginger beer.

  2. Stir gently to combine.