This recipe was first published as part of our Get to know feature on the Rob Roy.

As with Manhattans, this drink was originally made much sweeter than perhaps modern tastes would like, with equal parts sweet vermouth to whisky. Now, some recipes go as far as a 4:1 ratio in favour of whisky. That depends on your own and your customer’s taste, and on how much bitters you use (often the bitters are omitted altogether from a Rob Roy).

The variations don’t stop there. Again like the Manhattan you can make a Perfect Rob Roy, using equal parts dry and sweet vermouth for the vermouth portion instead of just sweet, or even a straight Dry Rob Roy, just using dry vermouth. In that case the garnish is usually an orange twist, instead of the usual maraschino cherry with stem.

If you are using bitters, experiment with those too; try orange bitters or Peychaud bitters. If you can only get Angostura bitters, try replacing the dash with a splash of Fernet Branca or Underberg instead. However, for a balanced, satisfying Rob Roy, try something like this:

  • 45ml Scotch whisky
  • 15ml Sweet vermouth
  • Dash of bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.