3 Easy Fall Scotch Cocktails

© Carey Jones

By Carey Jones Posted November 02, 2015

There are some purists out there who see Scotch cocktails as sacrilege—claiming that Scotch should always be served neat, or, at most, with a little water. But we're equal-opportunity cocktail-ists. If you can make a delicious Scotch cocktail, why not enjoy it? True, Scotches tend to be a little more particular and bold than, say, bourbon or Irish whiskey. And of course, the price tag can get up there. But if you're dealing with a moderately priced bottle, there's no reason not to deploy Scotch's smoky depth in awesome cocktails.

Here are three Scotch drinks perfect for fall into winter—some supersimple classics, some a little more creative.

Easy: Rob Roy (pictured above)

You've heard of the Manhattan, but what about the Rob Roy? Scotch's answer to the Manhattan, this classic simply pairs Scotch and sweet vermouth for a smooth, compelling cocktail that showcases the whisky. Use a high-quality sweet vermouth for Manhattans, like Carpano Antica.

Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of Scotch and 1 ounce of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth. Add one dash of Angostura. Stir until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with three brandied cherries.

Intermediate: Scottish Orchard

Food & Wine: Whiskey

© Carey Jones

Bright, sparkling hard cider is a great partner to dark, complex Scotch and despite being a stiff drink, the Scottish Orchard will disappear so fast, you'll immediately want another. (Proceed at your own risk.)

Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of blended Scotch, ¼ ounce of honey syrup (honey cut with an equal part of hot water, so it dissolves) and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters. Stir that all up until nice and cold, then strain into a cocktail glass. Top with two ounces of hard cider, and garnish with a lemon peel and a cherry.

Advanced: Thunderbird

Food & Wine: Scotch

© Carey Jones

We love spicy and smoky flavors together. Usually, we appreciate that combination in the context of smoky agave spirit mezcal—but why not Scotch? Here, a little jalapeño and lemon brighten Scotch into a very drinkable sour that leaves a real tingle on your tongue.

Instructions: In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle 3 thin slices of jalapeño pepper—seeds included (a little less if you're new to the spicy drink game). Add 2 ounces of Scotch, 3/4 ounce agave syrup (that's just agave diluted with an equal part of hot water, so it dissolves) and 3/4 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Shake well with ice, and then double strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a jalapeño slice and a lemon wheel.

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