Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Scotch Cocktails

20 Scotch Cocktails to Try Today

Scotch fans have a lot to love in this list of cocktails both modern and classic.

Sin Cyn cocktail / Tim Nusog

The first half of this list is “bartender’s choice” cocktails, contemporary creations that come straight from the cocktail shakers of today’s top bartenders. The second half is classics, both pre-Prohibition standards and more modern ones that have achieved worldwide acclaim. You’re sure to find something for every palate among these 20 drinks.

Known for its status as the ultimate neat sipper, Scotch whisky is surprisingly versatile in cocktails, too, when paired with the right ingredients. Whether you’re keeping it simple with a Rob Roy, looking to try something new and fruity like the Cunningham, or want a spin on a classic like the Rusty Compass, there’s a scotch cocktail to please every drinker’s wishes.

  • North Sea Oil

    North Sea Oil / Tim Nusog

    You might not think to pair Islay scotch with the herbaceous Scandinavian spirit aquavit, but that’s exactly what bar pro Leo Robitschek did to create this unexpected combination of the two ingredients, plus Cocchi Americano and triple sec. The resulting drink is spirit-forward, smoky, and complex.

    Get the recipe.

  • Prophet in Plain Clothes

    Prophet in Plain Clothes cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This smoky, bittersweet, and undeniably bold Rob Roy riff combines Laphroaig single malt scotch, Fernet-Branca, sweet vermouth, and Amaro Cinpatrazzo. “It hides the glorious message of Fernet inside,” says creator Kraig Rovensky of the drink’s name. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Royal Balmoral Punch

    Royal Balmoral Punch / Tim Nusog

    This inventive cocktail from bartending vet Charlotte Voisey is indeed fit for a royal. She combines Glenfiddich single malt scotch, Granny Smith apple juice, an English breakfast tea syrup, sparkling lemonade, and Champagne to produce a festive and fizzy drink. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Mint Green Old Fashioned

    Mint Green Old Fashioned / Tim Nusog

    The bright green hue of this new Old Fashioned is ideal for St. Patrick’s Day, but its refreshing minty flavors are perfect for any time you’re looking for something with pizazz. It was developed by iconic bartender Dale DeGroff for a cocktail-pairing dinner, where DeGroff surprised guests who’d ordered the lamb course with the stunning combination of mint, scotch, and bitters.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • Rusty Compass

    Rusty Compass Cocktail / Tim Nusog

    The recipe features smoky and bold The Peat Monster from Compass Box whisky, which is paired with a dash of Drambuie in a 2-to-1 ratio that nods to the classic Rusty Nail. Add a bit of Heering cherry liqueur and you have an intense spirit-forward drink that’s perfect for fans of bold flavors and bracing sips.

    Get the recipe.

  • South by Southwest

    South by Southwest Cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Cocktail pioneer Gary Regan revived this recipe from Benny McKew for his book The Negroni. The drink itself, essentially a scotch Negroni, is easy to make: Just stir scotch, Campari, and sweet vermouth with ice, then strain into a glass sprayed with orange blossom water. One sip will show you just how rich and complex a drink can be that plays the smokiness of scotch off Campari’s bittersweetness.

    Get the recipe.

  • She's No Gentleman

    She's No Gentleman Cocktail / Tim Nusog

    The classic combination of raspberries and cream doesn’t have to be relegated to after-dinner treats. It’s proven to work just as well in a cocktail glass as it does in a bowl; add in some booze and you have an ideal anytime sip. This one pairs scotch with Chambord, cream, and Earl Grey syrup to make a lightly sweet drink that’s best enjoyed in front of a roaring fire but delicious any time of year.

    Get the recipe.

  • Dreamy Dorini Smoky Martini

    Dreamy Dorini Smoking Martini / Tim Nusog

    This cocktail by bar pro Audrey Saunders of the late Pegu Club and other seminal cocktail bars is essentially an upgraded Smoky Martini. Saunders’ version is a riff on a Vodka Martini, replacing the usual dry vermouth with an Islay scotch whisky and adding a dash of Pernod. It’s a dreamy Martini variation, indeed.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 9 of 20 below.
  • Cunningham

    Cunningham cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Turn your usual Scotch Sour on its head with this inventive drink. Created by San Francisco bartender Marco Dionysos, it’s a nod to the Blood & Sand with notes of scotch, cherry Heering, and orange juice, plus a hint of the Bobby Burns combination of scotch and Benedictine. It’s all brought together with blood orange and lemon juices, then garnished with a brandied cherry and a flamed blood orange twist. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Sin Cyn

    Sin Cyn cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Simple yet sophisticated, this modern classic will take you from before-dinner drinks straight through your final nightcap. Just combine single malt scotch, Cynar amaro, and Carpano Antica Formula vermouth in equal parts to give the Negroni format a scotch spin. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Blood & Sand

    Blood and sand cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This classic cocktail has been a mainstay since it was invented in 1930. Smooth scotch (be careful to choose one that’s not too smoky) and sweet vermouth get their blood color from Heering cherry liqueur; orange juice represents the sand. Shake it all together and then strain and garnish with an orange peel.

    Get the recipe.

  • Rob Roy

    Rob Roy cocktail / Tim Nusog

    The Scottish folk hero was the inspiration for this drink, as well as the source of its name. The recipe itself is a nod to the classic Manhattan, with its sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters, but here scotch replaces the traditional rye whiskey. Garnish with two speared brandied cherries for a timeless presentation.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 13 of 20 below.
  • Godfather

    Godfather cocktail / Tim Nusog

    It’s a cocktail you can’t refuse: This simple two-part combination of blended Scotch whisky and amaretto became an instant classic, just like the movie that inspired it, when it debuted in the 1970s. 

    Get the recipe.

  • The Modern

    Modern cocktail / Tim Nusog 

    At one time, Scotch whisky and sloe gin were the trendiest ingredients around. Created by famed New York City bartender Charlie Mahoney in the first decade of the 20th century, The Modern employs both, alongside lemon juice, sugar, and dashes of absinthe and orange bitters. While its name might not exactly be timeless, the resulting drink certainly is. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Penicillin

    Penicillin cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Though it has only been around since the mid-2000s, this riff on the Gold Rush has become a true modern classic. Blended scotch forms the backbone for lemon juice and homemade honey-ginger syrup, all coming together when shaken with ice, strained, and then topped with Islay single malt scotch. Garnish with a piece of candied ginger to finish it all off.

    Get the recipe.

  • Rusty Nail

    Rusty Nail cocktail / Tim Nusog

    A favorite for decades, this simple recipe is perfect for throwing together as a nightcap after dinner. Just add scotch and Drambuie to a glass with ice, stir, and serve. It’s really that easy. No wonder it has stuck around for so long.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • Presbyterian

    Presbyterian cocktail / Tim Nusog

    If you treat scotch like it’s your religion, then this is the cocktail for you. Fill a highball glass with ice and add two ounces of scotch, then top with a mixture of your favorite spicy ginger ale and club soda for a light and refreshing result. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Bobby Burns

    Bobby Burns cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Named for the Scottish poet, this drink will have you reciting your favorite couplets and quatrains in no time. Stir blended scotch, sweet vermouth, and Benedictine with ice, then strain into a cocktail glass and serve with a lemon twist.

    Get the recipe.

  • Mamie Taylor

    Mamie Taylor / Tim Nusog

    Named for a famous opera singer and said to have been invented sometime around 1899, this turn-of-the-century stunner is a cooling highball you won’t want to put down. Blended scotch and lime juice are topped with ginger beer for a drink that’s reminiscent of a Moscow Mule with an extra punch. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Blue Blazer

    Blue Blazer cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Light up the night with this flaming cocktail. Created in Gold Rush-era San Francisco, the spin on a Hot Toddy is made by pouring a flaming combination of scotch, boiling water, and sugar between two mugs. Once the mixture is extinguished, garnish with lemon wheels and enjoy. Just make sure you keep a fire extinguisher on hand in case things get a little wild.

    Get the recipe.