The Best Scotch Whisky for Cocktails

22nd June 2022

Scotch Whisky Day is on the 27th of June, so naturally, we’re celebrating all things Scotch. As good as it tastes neat, we wanted to reintroduce how versatile the spirit is in cocktails. So let’s look at some of the best Scotch local to the Highlands, eh? ??

Blood and Sand

Named after Rudolph Valentino’s 1922 bullfighter movie Blood and Sand, this cocktail is not only screen-famous but bar-famous too. It’s made up of ¾ ounces of sweet vermouth, ¾ ounces of Heering cherry liquor, ¾ orange juice and ¾ ounces of a not-too-peaty Scotch. Shake with ice and then strain into a martini glass (or a mug, we don’t judge!). And if you’re feeling fancy, garnish your creation with an orange peel. 

The recipe first appeared in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock and now lives on bar menus across the world. Blood and Sand is fruity with only a hint of smoke, making it a great cocktail for people who aren’t too sure about Scotch (yet!).

A good Scotch for this one is Loch Lomond Original Single Malt Whisky. This is a smooth and easy-drinking dram matured in the finest oak casks. Its flavour? Creamy, malty, softly smoky – and a subtle hint of peat. Perfect for a Blood and Sand cocktail any day. 

Rusty Nail

The Rusty Nail comprises Scotch and Drambuie – ‘Drambuie’ translates from Gaelic to ‘the drink that satisfies’ – and its fame emerged from Club 21 in New York City in the 1950s. Rumour has it the famous Rat Pack loved this drink – it was known that the Rusty Nail was a favourite of the one and only Frank Sinatra’s; a drink that consoled him through those late-night lyrical compositions.

But where did the Rusty Nail get its name? One theory is that the drink was originally stirred with a rusty nail. Another theory is that the name came from the rusty nails that held the cases of Drambuie together. But there’s no definite answer as of yet. Its current origins remain a mystery.

The Rusty Nail is a simple yet sleek cocktail that’s difficult to get wrong. To make it, go half and half on Drambuie and Scotch. It’s easy to experiment to suit your taste, too; blended whisky is said to go well with this cocktail, but so would a nice single malt. Johnnie Walker Red is a good choice as this Scotch really packs a fiery punch to any cocktail. It’s made for mixing, being the perfect ingredient to warm your belly. 

Originally from cellars deep in the belly of Scotland, the Rusty Nail eventually made its way to New York City and is now a renowned vintage classic.

Scotch Old Fashioned

The suave and sophisticated Old Fashioned has been around since the 19th century. But adding a touch of Scotch to this classic dram really gives it the taste of Scotland. Simply swap the traditional bourbon or rye for Scotch.

Copper Dog Blended Scotch Whisky is said to go nicely with this one. This Scotch is called Copper Dog because back in the day distillery workers would help themselves to a dram using a ‘copper dog’ – a pipe hidden inside the leg of their trousers! The whisky is an easy-drinking Scotch that goes down smoothly with ripe fruit aromas and a soft spicy finish. These flavours are great for a Scotch Old Fashioned as they give the cocktail a smokier, oakier flavour than the original. 

You can grab a bottle of this delicious Scotch from the not-too-far Oban Distillery which offers great tasting experiences for a fantastic whisky-full day out.


The godfather of all cocktails (no pun intended). Did you really think we’d skip this one? This 1970s-era drink is named after the film ‘The Godfather’. It’s made with Scotch whisky and Amaretto. Blended Scotch is the classic choice and gives this cocktail a soft and smoky flavour. 

You could also blend it with bourbon and that will give the cocktail subtle spicy undertones. The cocktail is made with equal parts of whisky and amaretto – just shake with ice for a nice cool, smooth taste, and then strain into a glass over fresh ice.

The sweet nuttiness of the Amaretto complements the oaky notes of a good Scotch. Now, for this one, we recommend MacDonald’s Traditional Ben Nevis Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. An attempt at recreating the McDonald’s Traditional Ben Nevis whisky which was a popular dram in the 1880s, this whisky is rich yet smooth, with undertones of chocolate, sherry, lemon and smokey oak. This makes it the perfect Scotch for the Godfather.

What better way to spend Scotch Whisky Day than to settle down with a fancy cocktail or simple Scotch on the rocks and enjoy a dram or two? Why not have a go at making one of these cocktails yourself? You’re practically a professional now, after all. 

Spend your holiday in style, sipping on a dram and looking out over the Scottish Highlands when you stay with us.