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Rob Roy Drink

This classic Rob Roy drink is an easy cocktail made with Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Garnish this deeply hued sip with an orange twist or Luxardo cherries!

There are some drinks that just scream “elegant” and I think the Rob Roy is one of them. Served in a chilled coupe glass (affiliate link) and garnished with Luxardo maraschino cherries (affiliate link) or an orange twist, this drink has a gorgeous red-orange color. It has a smoky, slightly sweet flavor, which is perfect for anyone who enjoys drinks that aren’t overpoweringly sweet.

This is the kind of cocktail you can serve at a fancy dinner party, though I also like to sip one while reading a good novel in the evening! If you ask me, the experience of reading a great book is just as worthy of a good cocktail.

What is a Rob Roy?

A Rob Roy drink is a classic cocktail made mostly of whisky and vermouth. It was invented in the late 1800s at the Waldorf Historia hotel in Manhattan, NY. The cocktail was named after an operetta based upon the life of Scottish folk hero Robert Roy MacGregor, also known as Rob Roy.

What’s the Difference Between a Rob Roy and a Manhattan?

Essentially, a Rob Roy drink is a Scotch Manhattan cocktail. The bartender who invented this drink took a classic Manhattan cocktail and swapped the traditional rye whiskey with a Scotch whisky, then named the drink after a Scottish folk hero.

Is it whisky or whiskey?

In the United States and Ireland (where rye whiskey is from), it is spelled “whiskey” with an e. However, in Scotland and Canada, it is spelled “whisky” without the e.

Top view of a Rob Roy Drink in a Coupe Glass

What’s In It?

A Rob Roy drink is made with 3 ingredients: Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Usually, it’s garnished with Luxardo Maraschino cherries (affiliate link) and/or an orange twist. A Rob Roy is traditionally served in a chilled coupe glass (affiliate link).

What’s the Difference Between Luxardo and Maraschino Cherries?

The main difference is that Luxardo maraschino cherries (affiliate link) are high-end garnishes for cocktails. They are made by the Luxardo family using Marasca cherries that are pitted, then canned in syrup made with the cherries’ juice and sugar.

By contrast, Maraschino cherries have a bright red color and are usually served on ice cream sundaes or desserts. They are made with sweet American Royal Anne cherries that are stored in a brine and then dyed bright red. They also have a touch of almond flavoring.

How to Make a Rob Roy Drink

Making a Rob Roy is super simple! Here’s how to do it:

  • Add ice to a large glass.
  • Pour in the Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, and bitters.
  • Give everything a good stir.
  • Strain the cold liquid into a chilled coupe glass (affiliate link).
  • Garnish with Luxardo maraschino cherries (affiliate link) and/or an orange twist.

What Does a Rob Roy Taste Like?

A Rob Roy drink is somewhat sweet with a smoky undertone. The sweetness comes from sweet vermouth, while the smokiness comes from the Scotch whisky. However, just like a Manhattan cocktail, you can order a “dry Rob Roy.” In this case, the bartender will swap the sweet vermouth for dry vermouth.

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Rob Roy Drink

Top view of a Rob Roy Drink in a Coupe Glass
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This classic Rob Roy drink is an easy cocktail made with Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Garnish this deeply hued drink with an orange twist or maraschino cherries!

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail
  • Category: Cocktails
  • Method: Stir
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1 1/31 2/3 oz Scotch whisky*
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of bitters

Instructions

Add ice to a tall mixing glass. Pour in the whisky, sweet vermouth, and bitters.

Give everything a good stir, then strain the liquid into a chilled coupe glass.

Garnish with Luxardo maraschino cherries and/or an orange twist.

Notes

*I use 1 1/3 oz for a slightly less smoky flavor and a slightly sweeter drink, but my husband prefers 1 2/3 oz.

Keywords: rob roy drink, scotch whisky manhattan cocktail

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