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For whiskey enthusiasts, the Presbyterian cocktail is a delightful choice. This classic highball creation offers a simple yet invigorating means to savor your preferred whiskey. Crafted from just three readily available ingredients, it’s a breeze to concoct in the comfort of your own home, making it an ideal selection for relaxed gatherings or as a nightcap to unwind.

presbyterian cocktail with Ginger Ale and Lemons

The Presbyterian cocktail is aptly named after the Presbyterian church, hailing from Scotland. Traditionally, it features Scotch whiskey, but bourbon or rye can serve as excellent alternatives. This libation is essentially a harmonious blend of whiskey and soda, with a subtle touch of sweetness and a ginger-infused zest, courtesy of the ginger ale. It provides a wonderful way to relish the whiskey’s flavors without an overpowering punch. 


The Presbyterian cocktail is a classic British-style highball that has been enjoyed for over a century. The origins of the drink are somewhat murky, but many drink historians argue that the original iteration was known as the “Mamie Taylor,” named after a famous singer at the time. Apparently, the singer added a bit of ginger, soda, and lime to a glass of scotch whiskey. This drink was later modified to become the Presbyterian cocktail that we know today.

The name “Presbyterian” may come from presbýteros (πρεσβύτερος), the Greek word for ‘elder’, which incidentally is used 72 times in the New Testament. However, the modern Presbyterian Church after which this cocktail is named, originated primarily in Scotland. The drink became popular among Scottish-Americans and was eventually adopted by the Presbyterian Church as an alternative to alcoholic beverages.

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Scotch whiskey is the primary ingredient in the Presbyterian cocktail. Scotch whisky is a type of whiskey that is distilled in Scotland and aged for a minimum of three years. The drink is typically made with blended scotch, which is a combination of malt and grain whiskies. The scotch is then combined with equal parts of club soda and ginger ale, and served over ice. A lemon twist is often used as a garnish.

How to Make It

presbyterian cocktail with Ginger Ale and Lemons


Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Making a Presbyterian cocktail is a simple and straightforward process that requires only a few ingredients and tools.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make this classic highball cocktail.


  • 2 ounces of Scotch whisky (blended Scotch whisky is recommended)
  • 2 to 3 ounces of ginger ale, chilled
  • 2 to 3 ounces of club soda, chilled
  • Ice
  • Lemon twist, for garnish (optional)


  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Pour 2 ounces of Scotch whisky over the ice.
  3. Top the glass with equal amounts of chilled ginger ale and club soda.
  4. Stir the contents of the glass well.
  5. Garnish the cocktail with a lemon twist, if desired.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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While the classic Presbyterian cocktail recipe calls for whiskey, ginger ale, and club soda, there are many variations you can try to mix things up. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

See also  Our 15 Favorite Whiskey Mixers to Drink

Fruity twist

Add a splash of fruit juice, such as orange or cranberry, to the mix for a fruity twist on the classic recipe. This is especially refreshing in the summer months.

Lemon twist

Garnish your Presbyterian cocktail with a lemon twist for a bright and zesty flavor. Simply twist a strip of lemon peel over the drink and drop it in.

Spice it up

For a spicier version of the Presbyterian, try swapping out the ginger ale for ginger beer. This will give the cocktail a stronger ginger flavor and a bit of a kick.

Dark and Stormy twist

If you like the classic Dark and Stormy cocktail, try swapping out the whiskey for dark rum in your Presbyterian. This will give the drink a richer, more complex flavor.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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