The Rob Roy is essentially a Scotch Manhattan, the main difference being that it highlights a Scotch whisky while a Manhattan features an American whiskey, such as bourbon or rye. Similar to the recipe of the Manhattan, this cocktail combines your Scotch of choice with sweet vermouth. Add a dash of bitters and you’re ready to savor every last drop. This popular cocktail uses a simple recipe that can be made time and again with ease.
Whisky to Use for a Rob Roy
While a blended whisky is typically the most traditional choice, a single malt Scotch can also be used as a substitute based on your own preference. You can’t go wrong with either choice, as the uncomplicated nature of the recipe truly highlights the whisky itself. If you’ve been saving up your premium whisky for the perfect drink, this is it.
- 3/4 ounce of sweet vermouth
- 1 1/2 ounces of Scotch whisky, your choice
- Maraschino cherry, to garnish
- A dash or two of bitters, as desired
- Chill a cocktail glass 30-60 minutes ahead of time
- Fill a cocktail mixer with ice, add the whisky, vermouth, and a dash of bitters, to taste
- Stir continuously until well mixed
- Over the chilled cocktail glass, strain your cocktail and add a maraschino cherry
- Serve, enjoy, and make sure a glass is chilled for the next round
Variations to Try
This cocktail is easily adapted to your own personal preference, like all classic cocktails that use the combination of spirit and vermouth. Your Scotch of choice blends seamlessly with any number of popular variations. Sweet vermouth can be used in ratios better suited to your palette; many drinkers favor a 3 to 1 ratio of vermouth, sometimes even less. A dry vermouth can be substituted for the sweet vermouth and is typically garnished with an olive instead of a cherry.
To make this drink a perfect blend of sweet and dry, use 1/4 ounce each of dry and sweet vermouth. This variation usually takes a lemon twist as garnish. If an old-fashioned glass is preferred, skip the cocktail shaker entirely and build this drink right in the glass. It serves well on the rocks or over an ice ball if slower dilution is desired.
The Alcohol Content
A cocktail of this nature is only as strong as the whisky you pour into it and the ounces of vermouth used. If an 80-proof blended Scotch is used to make the standard recipe, it becomes around 29 ABV or 58 proof. This is not considered a lighter drink, which is why the portion size is small.
This classic drink is easily enjoyed in any number of scenarios or occasions. Since its creation in the 1980s, this recipe has been a huge contributor to introducing blended Scotch whisky into American culture. Thanks to the 1894 Broadway show, Robert Roy MacGregor, we can enjoy this theater-inspired cocktail for ages to come. Make yourself one today and appreciate the perfection of simplicity.