Cocktail & Other Recipes Flavor Profile Smoky

Whisky in Church

A rocks glass with a stirred brown cocktail on a large ice cube garnished with lemon zest
Image: / Tim Nusog

Sherry and scotch whisky make a great pair in cocktails, perhaps evidenced by the centuries-old practice of aging the latter in casks that once held the former. The soft sweetness of sherry within the wood tends to lend roundness, depth, and complexity to the whisky, and one could say the same about sherry’s presence in a scotch cocktail.

This one comes from Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud and Todd Smith of Dalva in San Francisco. A take of sorts on a Rob Roy, in this drink the usual sweet vermouth is replaced with rich oloroso sherry and a bit of dark, intense Grade B maple syrup—two intense flavors that work in tandem to balance the intensely peaty flavors of the Islay scotch that forms the drink's base. A massive hit of smoked cherry bitters takes the place of the ordinary (and more modest quantity of) Angostura bitters for a hit of sour sweetness to round it all out.


  • 2 ounces Islay scotch
  • 3/4 ounce oloroso sherry
  • 1 barspoon grade B maple syrup
  • 6 dashes smoked cherry bitters
  • Garnish: lemon twist


  1. Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.

  3. Garnish with a lemon twist.