What to do with Drambuie

6th October 2016

Drambuie’s one of those drinks, right? You’ve seen it around the back of a bar. You’ve heard the name, maybe spotted it on the shelf along the Tesco booze aisle. It’s instantly familiar, but you somehow can’t quite place it. It’s a sort of whiskey thing, yeah? Scotch-y? Alcoholic?

The point is, you don’t really know what it is, but you know it. You don’t know what to do with it either, beyond drink it.

But you should (know about it, that is, not drink it – though that too). It’s a whiskey liqueur, what you get when you chuck scotch together with spices and honey – a bit like a dessert wine, a bit like spiced rum, a bit like 40% despite all that.

It’s sweet, it’s strong, and it’s underrated. So here’s what to do with it:

Rusty Nail

This is, to be blunt, basically the only famous Drambuie cocktail. But it’s also Frank-Sinatra-loved-it famous, so it’s got that going for it. It’s basically just whiskey and Drambuie, but it works – and it’s a great way to use a robust (read: cheap) scotch, because you need something with heft to balance out the honey of the Drambuie. The Rusty Nail is blunt, straight to the point, and far, far tastier than it has any right to be:

50ml Scotch

25ml Drambuie

Lemon twist garnish

Stir, serve over ice

Sweet Pal

Dig through the depths of the Savoy Hotel cocktail book and you’ll find the ‘Old Pal’ – basically just a negroni with whiskey instead of gin, because how else are you going to improve a negroni? Here, swap the scotch for a sweeter twist on a classic, the staple bitterness of the negroni undercut by the sugar-y Dram.

25ml Drambuie

25ml Campari

25ml Vermouth

Orange twist garnish

Stir, serve over ice

Dram ‘n’ Stormy

It may be kissing cousins with scotch, but dark spiced rum is Drambuie’s true neighbour in the spirit world. Here, swap rum for a Dram for a variant on a classic.

50ml Drambuie

Serve over ice, top up with ginger ale


Bonnie Prince Charlie

If the Rusty Nail is the classic Drambuie cocktail, this is its closest rival. Pairing sparkling wine with a touch of sweet stuff is a cocktail classic, and this is no exception. Add a bit of extra lemon juice if you want to cut through the sugar-y finish.

25ml Drambuie

75ml sparkling wine

Lemon twist garnish

Drambuie Knife

Keep it simple with this one, making the most of the spiced notes on Drambuie’s nose while controlling its sweet finish.

Don’t go easy on the lemon, it’s crucial to balancing out the flavour.

50ml Drambuie

100ml soda water

25ml lemon juice

Lemon twist garnish

Stir, serve over ice


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