10 Best Scotch cocktails

By Timo Torner / Last updated on November 25, 2023

This collection of Scotch cocktails includes classic recipes and modern riffs, all based on the Whisky from Scotland. They have a deliciously smoky note and are a treat for everyone - Scotch aficionado and Newby.
Best Scotch Cocktails - Top 10

You're having a bottle of Scotch at home and don't know what to do with it? Or you're a Scotch enthusiast and want some mixed drinks for a change?

Scotch is an excellent spirit to serve neat or on the rocks. But there are many recipes to mix Whisky into cocktails as well.

These Scotch cocktails will impress your friends, Scotch lovers or not. From classics like the Rob Roy to 70s drinks like the Rusty Nail and modern classics like the Penicillin cocktail.

Each of these recipes takes advantage of the unique flavors in Scotch. They highlight the smoky, spicy, and earthy aromas of fine Whisky.

1. Penicillin cocktail

Penicillin cocktail with garnish

The Penicillin cocktail is, without a doubt, one of the best Scotch cocktails. The peated smoke notes of Scotch are combined with fresh, sweet, and spicy flavors of citrus juice, honey, and ginger. It's similar to a Sour cocktail but has a truly unique taste and vibe. A must-try Scotch Whisky cocktail! View Recipe

2. Glasgow Mule

Glasgow Mule cocktail

Do you like Mule cocktails? How about this refined twist on the classic Moscow Mule? The Glasgow Mule combines blended Scotch with floral elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and ginger beer. This cocktail is a refreshing mix that's not only one of the best Scotch drinks but also among the top Mule cocktails. View Recipe

3. Scotch Sour

Scotch Sour Cocktail

Following the classic template of Sour cocktails, this cocktail is made with Scotch as a base, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters. Instead of regular Angostura bitters, the Scotch Sour called for the Peychaud's version. View Recipe

4. Blood & Sand Cocktail

Blood & Sand cocktail

If you fancy a classic Scotch cocktail from the 1920s, try the Blood & Sand. The mix of Speyside Scotch, Heering cherry liqueur, Sweet Vermouth, and orange juice is phenomenal and similar to other traditional cocktails like the Manhattan or Martinez. View Recipe

5. Scotch Old Fashioned

Scotch Old Fashioned cocktail

This smoky twist on the classic Old Fashioned is an excellent way to imbibe a fine Scotch Whisky. 

It's best when using an intensely peated Scotch in combination with Demerara syrup, chocolate bitters, and a Maraschino cherry. Compared to a regular Old Fashioned, the taste of this drink is oakier and more complex. View Recipe

6. Smoky Martini

Smoky Martini cocktail with olive garnish

This recipe is a riff on the Dry Martini, adding peated Scotch instead of Dry Vermouth to the Gin base. It creates a spicy, smoky, and more flavorful version of the drink with a distinct Scotch note. 

Although to not overpower the Gin base, you have to reduce the amount of Whisky compared to Vermouth. View Recipe

7. Godfather cocktail

The Godfather cocktail

Here's one of the popular 70s Scotch cocktails. Consisting of only two ingredients - Amaretto and Scotch - the Godfather is one of the easier-to-make Scotch cocktails. For a perfect balance, use three parts blended Scotch Whisky per one part Amaretto. View Recipe

8. Rob Roy

Rob Roy cocktail with Maraschino cherry

The Rob Roy cocktail is closely related to the classic Manhattan cocktail. So close, in fact, that it got the nickname Scotch Manhattan

Use a quality blended Scotch or a mild Single Malt Whisky and combine it with Sweet Vermouth, Angostura bitters, Peychaud's bitters, and a Maraschino cherry. View Recipe

9. Scotch Collins aka Sandy Collins 

Scotch Collins Cocktail aka Sandy Collins or Jock Collins

This cocktail goes under many different names: Scotch Collins, Sandy Collins, and sometimes even Jock Collins. Whatever you call it, this Collins cocktail is a refreshing drink. 

It is balanced with fresh lemon juice and chilled soda water. Like many other Scotch cocktails, it asks for Peychaud's bitters instead of Angostura. View Recipe

10. Rusty Nail 

Rusty Nail cocktail

The Rusty Nail is another Scotch cocktail that was super popular in the 1970s. To make this Scotch drink, you'll need three parts blended Scotch Whiskey and one part of Drambuie. 

Drambuie is a liqueur based on Scotch named after a Gaelic phrase. The term Drambuie refers to a drink that knows how to satisfy your tastebuds. View Recipe

What is Scotch?

Scotch is the short form for Scottish Whisky. To be called a Scotch, the entire production has to take place in Scotland. 

Another crucial feature of Scotch is its iconic smoky peated taste. It can be subtle but also almost overwhelming. The level of smokiness depends on the brand and specific bottle. 

The smoky flavor in the spirit comes from peating. The term peated means the malted barley is dried over a peat fire. This procedure adds a distinct smoky flavor that made Scotch Whisky famous.

Scotch is available in different types I quickly want to explain below.

Types of Scotch

Depending on the grains used for producing the spirit and other aspects, Scotch is classified into different types. In total, there are five different types of Scotch. 

  • Single Malt
  • Blended Malt
  • Single Grain
  • Blended Grain
  • Blended

The most common and popular ones are Single Malt Scotch and Blended Scotch. Single Malts are often more pricey and have a stronger flavor. Blended Scotch is made by combining various distillates and therefore has a milder and more balanced taste.

To learn more about this, read our article on the different Scotch types.

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