Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Scotch Cocktails

Storm King

Storm King cocktail
Image: / Tim Nusog

Storm King Art Center, for those unfamiliar, is a vast sculpture park in the Hudson Valley, about 60 miles north of New York City. It’s set among gently rolling forested hills and ringed with deciduous trees that famously turn varied brilliant hues in autumn, making that season a favorite time for many visitors. 

So it’s appropriate that the cocktail named for the art center is equally marvelous in autumn, a mix of blended Scotch whisky, nocino, Benedictine, and Angostura bitters, created by bartender Damon Boelte, a co-owner of Grand Army in Brooklyn, New York, for one of the bar’s early menus. It’s a spin on a Manhattan by way of both the Rob Roy and the Bobby Burns, and like the numerous Manhattan and Brooklyn cocktail offshoots that bear the names of various New York City neighborhoods, this one followed suit, heading a bit upstate for its moniker. “Storm King just made sense for this one, given the autumn visits and changing leaves,” says Boelte. 

“I love an autumnal landscape of food and beverages, and this cocktail really reflects that: earthy honey, baking spices, roasted nuts, and a suggestion of robust red wine,” says Boelte, describing the flavors that the drink’s components bring. It has the classic foundation of the Bobby Burns, he says, with the nocino adding “an esoteric twist of aged walnut” and a vermouth-like quality. “I'm a huge fan of Benedictine, and have also loved nocino for as long as I can remember,” he says. “And when visiting my friends at their farm in upstate New York where they make nocino, I was inspired to mix these ingredients together.”

Boelte initially used Cutty Sark’s Prohibition Edition, bottled at 50% ABV, as the base of the cocktail, although any lightly peated and ideally higher-proof blended scotch will work. He recommends making your own nocino if you’re so inclined; if not, Nocino Della Cristina is “a beautiful product,” he says. The drink is equally versatile in the way it can be served. “This one feels just as at home served up or on the rocks,” says Boelte. “It also happens to be a great pairing with food.”

But the most important pairing, according to Boelte, is people. “The Storm King, like most cocktails, should be enjoyed with a friend and garnished with a long, leisurely conversation.”


  • 2 ounces blended Scotch whisky (Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition is preferred)

  • 1/2 ounce nocino 

  • 1/4 ounce Benedictine

  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters

  • Garnish: 3 brandied cherries, skewered


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

  2. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.

  3. Garnish with skewered brandied cherries.