There's no better time to learn about Drambuie than than the fall. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Drambuie is a blend of aged Scotch, heather honey and herbs that has a sweet, but balanced flavor. Unsurprisingly, it mixes incredibly well with Scotch—the whisky-Drambuie cocktail Rusty Nail is a true classic—but the liqueur's own complexity means it's great to use whether Scotch is involved or not. Here are three simple cocktail recipes to try.
Easy: Bonnie Prince Charlie
Named for the prince who led a Scottish uprising against the English, this cocktail combines Drambuie with one of our favorite things: bubbles. Don't skip the garnish here; lemon peel will help the sparkling wine keep bubbling and bubbling (so be careful as you add it, lest you have an unexpected sparkling volcano on your hands).
Instructions: In a tall glass or champagne flute, pour 1 ounce of Drambuie and then 4 ounces of sparkling wine. Garnish with a long, skinny lemon peel.
Intermediate: Rusty Nail
While using a top-dollar Scotch certainly wouldn't hurt this cocktail (and we wouldn't say no to drinking it with Macallan 18, if you're pouring), a sensibly priced blended Scotch will do just fine.
Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 1 ounce of Drambuie with 2 ounces of Scotch. Dash in some Angostura bitters. Stir until well-chilled, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon peel, twisting it over the drink before you serve to release its citrus oils.
Advanced: Scotch Coffee
Good coffee cocktails can be few and fair between. But by using high-quality, freshly-made coffee and pairing it with classy ingredients like Drambuie, it's possible to create a drink that makes great use of coffee's complex, slightly bitter backbone, without all the sweet drek you get from coffee liqueurs.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces of vodka, 1 ounce of Drambuie, and 1 ounce of freshly made coffee (you can let it cool first). Add 1/4 ounce of fresh lemon juice and a dash of Angostura bitters. Shake all that up, and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel.