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Top 10 whisky cocktails

If you’re gearing up for a Burn’s Night celebration this weekend but don’t fancy a swig of the strong stuff, take a look through our whisky cocktail alternatives.

As Burns Night approaches (25 January) thoughts inevitably turn to all things Scottish be it Haggis, tartan or a wee dram.

But if whisky is not your thing, you can still raise a glass to the Scots with one of these whisky-based cocktails.

Scroll through for our top 10 whisky-based cocktails.

10. Grant’s Old Fashioned

This classic cocktail originated at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, in the mid-1880s around the time William Grant, of Grant’s Whisky, was laying the foundations of his first distillery.

50ml Grant’s Family Reserve
Dash of orange bitters
Dash of Angostura bitters
Sugar (or sugar syrup)


Muddle an orange slice in a tumbler and remove. Add one dash of Angostura bitters. Add three dashes of orange bitters. Add 3 ice cubes. Add 15ml Grant’s Family Reserve. Stir well. Add 2 more ice cubes. Add 15ml Grant’s Family Reserve. Stir well. Add 2 more ice cubes. Add sugar or sugar syrup. Stir well. Pour. Garnish with a twist of orange zest.

9. Grant’s Godfather

Inspired by the Martin Scorsese films, Grant’s Godfather combines Grant’s family reserve with Italian Amaretto alongside orange bitters.

50ml Grant’s Family Reserve
20ml Amaretto
Splash of orange bitters (or juice)
Garnish with orange zest

Fill a glass with ice cubes. Add the Grant’s Family Reserve. Add the Amaretto. Splash over the orange bitters. Zest an orange over the glass and garnish with a long slice of peel.

8. Ginger Storm

Ginger storm pictured left

Recommended by Waitrose, this fiery ginger-based cocktail is sure to kickstart any Burns Night celebration.

2 tbsp Johnnie Walker Red Label Whisky
Dash Angostura Bitters 200ml
Waitrose Fiery Ginger Beer

Pour the whisky into a champagne flute and add a dash of Angostura Bitters. Top up with ginger beer and serve swiftly.

Tip: Try adding two tbsp sweet vermouth in place of the Angostura Bitters.

7. Whiskey Twist

Whisky twist pictured right

Impress your guests with this whisky and orange twist.

3 ice cubes
2 tbsp Johnnie Walker Red Label Whisky
2 tbsp orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau
Twist of orange peel, to serve

Place the ice in a small tumbler and pour over the whisky and orange liqueur. Muddle together, add a twist of orange peel and serve.

6. The Referendum

This unique cocktail comes from the Chase Distillery in Islay and combines Islay whisky cask conditioned vodka with pink grapefruit.

Chase age their award-winning vodka in an Islay whisky cask for around three months after which batches of no more than 380 are syphoned into limited edition bottles.

50ml Chase Islay Whisky Cask Conditioned Vodka
50ml Fresh Pink Grapefruit Juice
20ml Lillet Blanc
5ml Tio Pepe
5ml Sugar Syrup

Shake hard and strain into a frozen coupette glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist. Serve.

5. Famous Grouse New York Sour

This “offbeat” mixture of whisky, wine and lemon juice comes courtesy of The Famous Grouse. Not your typical combination but apparently very drinkable.

2 fluid oz of The Famous Grouse
1 oz fresh lemon juice
0.75 oz simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
5 fluid oz red wine

Add all the ingredients, except the wine, to a cocktail shaker and pack with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a squat tumbler filled with fresh ice cubes. Add your red wine ‘float’ in a neat layer on top. The best way to do this is to hold a tablespoon upside down over the glass, barely touching the surface of the drink. Then, slowly pour the wine over the back of the spoon so that it cascades gently onto the top of the drink without sinking beneath the surface.

4. Famous Grouse Flying Scotsman

The Flying Scotsman is a sweeter and slightly more bitter relative of the classic Rob Roy cocktail. The Rob Roy was created in 1894 by a bartender at the Waldorf Astoria New York and named in honour of Rob Roy, an operetta which was loosely based on the life of Scottish folk hero Robert Roy MacGregor.

45ml The Famous Grouse
30ml sweet Italian vermouth (Martini Rosso for instance)
2 – 3 generous dashes of Angostura bitters or any other bitters to hand
½ tsp sugar syrup

Pour all the ingredients into a tall mixing glass, or even better – and a touch more stylish – a classic cocktail shaker. Add plenty of crushed ice, then stir or shake and strain into a glass. This is a good old fashioned cocktail, so go for a chunky and appropriate old fashioned glass. The sweetness of the Italian vermouth varies by brand, so you might need to adjust quantities of this and the syrup, depending on how sweet a tooth you have. That said, the sweetness is a key part of the appeal so make sure you don’t lose it altogether.

3. Aberdeen Flip

This unusual cocktail from Chivas features a whole egg and black cherry jam.

2 parts Chivas 18
1 part 12 year-old Oloroso sherry
1 whole egg
0.25 parts honeyed spice syrup
0.1 parts Fee Brothers’ Aztec Chocolate Bitters
2tsp black cherry jam

To make your own honeyed spice syrup bring 200ml white sugar, 200ml water, 3 tsp honey, 0.5tsp ground cinnamon, three whole star anise and half a vanilla pod to the boil. Simmer for five minutes. Strain and leave to chill in the fridge. Add all the ingredients into a dry cocktail shaker (no ice) and shake for 30 seconds. Fill the shaker with ice and shake for a further minute. Finally strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

2. Auld Alliance

An old-fashioned cocktail based on the popular American Sazerac featuring a good helping of Cognac to perfectly complement the whisky.

1 part Chivas 18
0.75 part Martell Cordon Bleu
Pernod Absinthe Rinse
0.2 parts sugar syrup
0.1 parts Peychaud’s Bitters
0.1 parts Fee Brothers’ Old Fashioned Bitters
Lemon and orange twist

Pack a glass with crushed ice and leave to chill. In a second glass stir the sugar syrup with the bitters, add the Chivas Regal 18 and Martell and stir again. Throw the ice away from glass one and swirl enough Absinthe round the insides to coat the glass. Pour the contents of glass two into glass one. Garnish with lemon and orange twists.

1. Hot Apple Toddy

This pleasant alternative to mulled wine, comes from Drambuie. The hints of heather honey, hot apple juice and spice make it an ideal drink for cold winter nights.

1 Part Drambuie Original
3 Parts Pressed Hot Apple Juice
1 Cinnamon Stick

Heat all the ingredients together except the Drambuie.
Add the Drambuie to a teacup or handled latte glass, then strain in the warm apple juice mixture. Squeeze a lemon slice into the cocktail and garnish with a fresh cinnamon stick.

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