Our favourite whisky cocktails

let’s begin

Looking for a new way to enjoy your favourite dram? Try it in one of our favourite whisky cocktails and you can’t go wrong!


The Highball is massively popular in Japan, where they have bars dedicated to it. It’s a simply cocktail but very effective. You can use anything for your mixer and we recommend matching it to the flavours of the whisky you use. We’ve gone with Dewar’s White Label and ginger ale to bring out the spices. It’s best served in a tall, chilled glass. Add the whisky to the glass first, then the ice and fginally the mixer.


50ml Dewar’s White Label

100ml Ginger Ale

Lime to garnish

2. old fashioned

There is no whisky cocktail quite as well loved and respected as the Old Fashioned. It dates back to the 1800s and has been the cocktail of choice for serious whisky drinkers for decades (and for some TV shows!). Like the Highball it’s very simple to make and enjoy. We recommend it with American Rye whisky to give it a sweet warmth.


60ml Rye Whisky

3 dashes Angostura Bitters

1 sugar cube

A dash of soda water

Orange peel to garnish

3. rob roy

The first Rob Roy was created in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York in 1894. It’s similar to a Manhattan but with Scotch instead of Rye and is named after the Rob Roy operetta, which was released the year it was created. Another classic whisky cocktail in the same vein as the Old Fashioned.


60ml Scotch

30ml sweet Vermouth

Dash of Angostura Bitters

Maraschino cherry to garnish

4. rusty nail

A little younger than the Old Fashioned and Rob Roy, the Rusty Nail was created in the 1930s. There isn’t really much more of a back story but cocktails were becoming very popular in prohibition to cover the taste of badly distilled bathtub spirits. The Rusty Nail saw a renaissance in the 1960s when Scotch had a golden age. We recommend Ballantine’s or Monkey Shoulder as your tipple of choice for this cocktail.


60ml. blended Scotch

15ml. Drambuie

1 dash Angostura Bitters (optional)

Lemon twist to garnish

5. sazerac

Created in New Orleans, the Sazerac starts off as a traditional whisky cocktail, like the ones we’ve discussed, but throws the whole thing off with an excellent dash of Absinthe. It’s a brilliant cocktail that twists the idea of a normal whisky and mixer combination. The Sazerac is usually made with Rye and Cognac, although some recipes leave out the Cognac.


40ml. Rye whisky

40ml. Cognac

1 tbsp Absinthe

2 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

1 sugar cube

Lemon peel to garnish

6. blood and sand

Born in the same era as the Mint Julep, this is a cocktail the Great Gatsby would be proud of. Named after movie starring Rudolph Valentino, who was a big name at the time (think Brad Pitt in the 1920s), the Blood and Sand is wonderfully sweet and rich.


20ml. Johnnie Walker Black scotch

20ml. cherry liqueur

20ml. sweet vermouth

20ml. orange juice

Orange zest to garnish

The El Camino

Bringing together whisky and mezcal, this is a refreshing cocktail that is perfect for hot weather. Mezcal, if you’re not aware, is a spirit made from the Agave plant, in South America and can be compared to Tequila. We’ve paired it was a Rye whisky to bring out the heat.



30ml.Rye whisky

1 tbsp Benedictine

4 dashes Paychaud’s Bitters

Orange peel to garnish


You can’t go wrong with a Penicillin. It’s similar to a Hot Toddy, with lots of comforting warmth. Like the Hot Toddy it also feels like it probably does have magical healing powers as well. Although we don’t suggest taking it in place of actual penicillin, I don’t think viruses respond well to alcoholic self-remedies.


60ml. blended Scotch

25ml. Fresh Lemon Juice

25ml. Honey-Ginger Syrup

1 dash Islay Scotch

Candied ginger to garnish

Whisky Sour

There is nothing like a Whisky Sour. It’s just the best cocktail out there. Feeling sad? Whisky Sour. Feeling happy? Whisky Sour. Feeling indifferent? Whisky Sour. It’s sweet, it’s sour, it’s full of whisky goodness. What’s not to love?

60ml. Bourbon

20ml. Lemon juice

15ml. simple syrup

Egg whites for texture

Cherry and orange peel to garnish


Similar to the Negroni, the Boulevardier is whisky with Campari and vermouth. The name means “wealthy, fashionable socialite”, which was a magazine in Paris that was started by Erskine Gwynne, a rich American in the 1920s.


40ml Bourbon or Rye whisky

20ml Campari

20ml sweet vermouth

Orange peel to garnish

Tags: barsdramflavoursJapanWhisky Cocktails
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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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