Best Rob Roy Cocktail Recipes

The Rob Roy, named after a Scottish folk hero and outlaw, is one of those classic cocktails that lends itself to variation. The recipe is simple: it calls for Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, and bitters. But by tweaking these ingredients, you can come up with an endless variety of drinks.

Classic Rob Roy

Just like mom used to make.


  • 2 oz. Scotch
  • .75 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Brandied cherry (for garnish)

First add the scotch, vermouth, and bitters to a cocktail mixer with ice and stir. Then pour into a chilled cocktail glass and serve with two speared brandied cherries.

Dry Rob Roy

As the name might imply, the Dry Rob Roy is made with dry vermouth instead of sweet vermouth, for a stiffer, more liquor-dependent flavor.


  • 2 oz. Scotch
  • .75 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Lemon twist (for garnish)

Just as you would in a standard Rob Roy, combine the ingredients (apart from the lemon twist) in a cocktail mixer with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve with a lemon twist.

Perfect Rob Roy

This is the same idea as a “perfect” Manhattan, where we split the difference between a the dry and classic by adding both sweet and dry vermouth. The name “Perfect” is coincidental, but this may be the best way to enjoy a Rob Roy; the mixture of dry and sweet vermouth compliments the smoky complexity of the scotch in a way that neither does on their own.


  • 2 oz. Scotch
  • 1 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • Maraschino cherry or lemon twist (for garnish)

Stir the wet ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve garnished with cherry or lemon twist.

Scotch Brooklyn

The Brooklyn is a close neighbor of both the Rob Roy and the Manhattan. The usual recipe calls for Rye whiskey, dry vermouth, bitters, and maraschino liqueur for sweetness. This version, closer to a Rob Roy, opts for sugar to do the job.


  • 2 oz. Scotch
  • ½ teaspoon superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon seltzer
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • Green maraschino cherry (for garnish)

Combine the Scotch, sugar, seltzer, and bitters in a cocktail mixer with ice and stir until chilled. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass with ice and serve with a cherry garnish.

The Bobby Burns

This classic Rob Roy riff adds sweetness with Benedictine and sweet vermouth. The result is a rich drink that is sweeter than Rob Roy, but still doesn’t step on the Scotch’s toes.


  • 2 oz. Scotch
  • .75 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • .25 oz. Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Orange twist (for garnish)

Add scotch, vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters to a cocktail mixer with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve with an orange twist.

The Blood and Sand

The Blood and Sand isn’t so much a variation of the Rob Roy. The addition of Cherry Heering and blood orange juice and lack of bitters makes it a drink in its own right, but if you’re in the market for scotch and vermouth drinks, this is exactly what you’re looking for plus some.


  • .75 oz. Scotch
  • .75 oz. sweet vermouth
  • .75 oz. Cherry Heering
  • .75 oz. blood orange juice
  • Orange twist (for garnish)

Mix all the ingredients (minus the orange peel) in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe glass and serve with an orange twist.

Best Scotch for Cocktails

Usually scotch isn’t used to make cocktails. The smoky flavors don’t pair well with the usual mixers and the price can be prohibitively expensive. To help you with both of these problems, we’ve cultivated a list of scotches that not only mix well, but also won’t have you trying to reclaim spilled scotch from your countertop.

Famous Grouse

Famouse Grouse is the best-selling whiskey in Scotland for a reason. The malt-forward taste with just a hint of spice and smoke makes it a spirit for heavier cocktails. In most places, it can be found for under $20

Johnnie Walker Black

This 12-year-old blend of forty whiskies is renowned for its balance and its value. The peaty smoke and dry spices are at the forefront with herbal and caramel flavors following. It’s not as complex or smooth as the higher-grade scotches, but at $30 a bottle, the value can’t be beat.

Teacher’s Highland Cream

This blended scotch, originated by a 19th century Scottish grocer who went on to found one of Scotland’s most successful distilleries, is a smooth combination of malt, toffee, and licorice. Older bottles will be smoother but they can’t beat the price of the standard bottle, which clocks in under $20.

Macallan 12 Year

This is the most expensive scotch on the list, but for good reason. Macallan 12 Year has been called ‘the best 12 year old single malt around’ by renowned whiskey expert F Paul Pacult. It balances rich fruit flavors with hints of oak, smoke, and spice. While a full bottle can approach the $70 mark, smaller sampler bottles can be found for much less.