Recipe: Rob Roy

Hi guys! I hope you have had a great weekend. I have been nursing a crappy ear infection myself. But alas, it’s been a good excuse to catch some extra z’s, lay around the house in my bathrobe, binge some television, and sip a little whisk(e)y. Always look on the sunny side of life, my friends!

In keeping with said whisk(e)y, today we are going to make a Rob Roy. Mr. C and I happen to LOVE a Manhattan cocktail, as we have been on quite the bourbon kick lately (thus the reason I included the ‘e’ in the spelling of whiskey). Our newfound appreciation for bourbon began last fall when we visited Lexington, Kentucky and toured three different distilleries.

Named after the 17th century Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor, a Rob Roy cocktail is essentially a Manhattan. But instead of bourbon – or if you’re a purist, rye whiskey – it is made with a blended Scotch (whisky without the ‘e’). We initially wanted to make today’s recipe with Dimple Pinch, a smooth, non-peaty blend that is suited perfectly for mixed drinks. Unfortunately, Mr. C couldn’t find any and the liquor store he went to was thin on blends. So instead, he decided to try one we have never had. It’s called Monkey Shoulder. Great name, right? It describes itself as “blended in small batches of three fine Speyside single malts, then married to achieve a smoother, richer taste”.

Robert Roy MacGregor (1671-1734) was a marauder in the Highlands of Scotland.  After falling out with the Duke of Montrose, Roy ran a racket, whereby he earned a living stealing cattle and then extorting money from farmers to ‘protect’ them from thieves.  His name was made even more famous by writer Walter Scott when he published his novel Rob Roy in 1817.

Based on its description, I think Monkey Shoulder sounds promising. Let’s see if the taste is as inventive as that fun name!

Rob Roy


• 2 oz. blended Scotch

• 1 oz. sweet vermouth 

• 2 dashes Angostura bitters

• Brandied cherry to garnish

• Orange twist to garnish 


In a chilled cocktail shaker, combine Scotch, vermouth, and bitters. Add ice and stir until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry and an orange twist.  Voilà!

And there you have it. So, the big question. Was it good?

Honestly, Mr. C and I have never been fond of sweet vermouth so have always modified our recipes by mixing them with the dry version. Maybe it’s the Monkey Shoulder talking, but in a Rob Roy, sweet vermouth is very good! My skepticism was definitely replaced with a newfound appreciation. I look forward to seeing how it pairs in an authentic Manhattan.

And how was the Scotch? Monkey Shoulder’s web site says that “richness and vibrancy combine with fruity aromas and mellow vanilla notes, making it the perfect whisky for mixing”. I would totally agree with that statement. While it’s not a Scotch I would choose to sip neat or even on the rocks, it made a great addition to today’s recipe. I would buy Monkey Shoulder again in a heartbeat.

What blended Scotch do you prefer to use when you make a Rob Roy? Leave me a note in the comments!

That’s it for today, my friends. I wish you all a pleasant week ahead. See you again soon!


2 thoughts on “Recipe: Rob Roy

  • No Rob Roy for me. I don’t care for bitters. But that’s not to say I don’t like
    whisky (no e) mixed. For a mixer blend I go with Famous Grouse. Great in a Whisky Mac…which is equal parts whisky and green ginger wine, served neat. It’s a great warmer after a chilly walk by the sea with my English friends. The preferred ginger wine over there is Crabbie’s Green Ginger Wine. “Green” because it comes in a green bottle. Back home I could only find Stone’s Ginger Wine. Not nearly as spicy and tasty as Crabbie’s, but adequate. If you try it, let me know how you like it.

    • That sounds really interesting. I’m not familiar with either Famous Grouse or ginger wine. Or a Whisky Mac for that matter! I might have to give that a try. I’ll be starting your book soon btw. 🙂

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