While bourbon and rye rules the whiskey cocktail world, with drinks from the Sazerac to the Manhattan, their brethren across the ocean in that gray and misty northern tip of the United Kingdom see less use in mixed drinks. Generally, scotch is consumed on its own, or maybe with a bit of water to help open up its flavors. But The Peat Monster from Compass Box Whisky needs no such aid in unlocking its bold and smoky self. It forms the base of the Rusty Compass from bartending veteran Meaghan Dorman, and while the drink won’t do much to help you get home if you’re lost at sea, it does, at least, taste delicious.
In such a bold and potent concoction, the Peat Monster is assertive enough to not get lost in the rich flavors of Drambuie. It is a bit like doubling down, though, as Drambuie is a scotch-based liqueur flavored with honey, herbs and spices. There’s a clear precedent, though: the Rusty Nail, a 2-to-1 mix of Scotch and Drambuie that gives the Rusty Compass the inspiration for the other part of its name.
The Rusty Compass also gets some added bittersweetness from Cherry Heering Liqueur. This liqueur comes by way of Denmark and is a neutral grain spirit flavored with cherries and spices. Like Scotch and Drambuie, Scotch and Heering have a cocktail precedent, as well: the Blood & Sand, arguably the most famous of scotch drinks, also features a mix of Heering and scotch. If Heering isn’t readily available, it’s acceptable to substitute for another fine cherry liqueur like Luxardo maraschino. If using something like a kirsch, which is unsweetened, it might require a dash or two of simple syrup. However, using one of those substitutions will impact the drink’s signature ruby hue.
This crimson concoction is no slouch. For those who like their cocktails intense, spirit-forward and robust, it’s likely to be a hit. Those who like something a little less alcohol driven and bracing might want to look elsewhere, especially if they are not a fan of smokey scotches.
- 1 1/2 ounces Compass Box The Peat Monster scotch
- 3/4 ounce Drambuie
- 1/2 ounce Heering cherry liqueur
- Garnish: orange twist
Add the scotch, Drambuie and Heering into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with an orange twist.