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.

Cunningham cocktail
Cunningham Image: / 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 Scotch & Soda, looking to try something new and fruity like the Cunningham or want a spin on a classic like the Whisky in Church, there’s a scotch cocktail to please every drinker’s wishes.

  • Bee Sting

    Bee Sting / Tim Nusog

    If you were to take a Rusty Nail and cross it with a Whiskey Sour, you’d have this cocktail. Bärenjäger, a German honey liqueur, adds a sweet botanical flavor that’s perfect with scotch and Fernet-Branca, while tangerine juice adds a jolt of acidity and a quick shake with an egg white brings it all together with a thick, frothy texture and top that’s perfected with a few dashes of bitters for aroma and visual appeal.

    Get the recipe.

  • Mama, I'm Coming Home

    Mama I'm Coming Home cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Jenn Knott, the head bartender at 312 Chicago, calls this cocktail "a one-stop shop for all of the flavors reminiscent of the changing seasons." Scotch infused with pecans is a warming base that’s simmered with port, apple cider, honey syrup, cinnamon, and cloves to make a warming large-format drink that’s perfect for crisp outdoor gatherings. Serve in an Irish coffee mug and garnish with a soft caramel candy to really bring it over the edge.

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  • 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 this stunning combination of mint, scotch, and bitters.

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  • 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.

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    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • Whisky In Church

    Whisky In Church Cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Sherry and scotch whisky make a great pair in cocktails, particulary in this one 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, while a massive hit of smoked cherry bitters rounds it all out.

    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.

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  • 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, and 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.
  • Campbeltown

    Campbeltown Cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This cocktail from Bramble Bar & Lounge in Edinburgh, Scotland, calls for a Bijou-esque mixture of 10-year-old scotch whisky, green Chartreuse, and Cherry Heering liqueur. The recipe specifies Springbank whisky, which lends the drink the name of the town where its distillery is located. It’s a combination of strong flavors, with the peated whisky, sweet Heering, and herbaceous Chartreuse, but the result is a bold-yet-balanced mix.

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  • 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.

  • 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.

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    Continue to 13 of 20 below.
  • Scotch & Soda

    Scotch & Soda / Tim Nusog

    Simple, straightforward and seductive, this cocktail doesn’t need much to be a home run. Plus, it’s so easy you can make it virtually whenever the mood strikes. Simply top a couple of ounces of scotch with club soda in a highball glass filled with ice until the drink reaches your preferred ratio. 

    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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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 2 ounces of scotch, then top with a mixture of your favorite spicy ginger ale and club soda for a light and refreshing result. 

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    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • 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.

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  • Mamie Taylor

    Mamie Taylor cocktail

    Michael Dietsch

    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.

  • Sin Cyn

    Sin Cyn cocktail

    Paul Dellevigne

    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. 

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  • Blue Blazer

    Blue Blazer cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Light up the night with this flaming cocktail. Created in Gold Rush-era San Francisco, this 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.

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