Rob Roy - the Perfect Balance of Smoky Scotch Whiskey and Sweet Vermouth
A scotch Manhattan is known as a Rob Roy—the perfect balance of pleasantly smoky scotch whiskey and sweet vermouth.
One look at a Rob Roy and you may think, “Oh hey! It’s just a Manhattan with scotch.” Yes, it’s definitely that. Just like Manhattans, the Rob Roy is a classic cocktail that was put to bed for a long time, then revived during the mid-aughts.
The Rob Roy, named after a Broadway play, dates back to the late 19th century. You can think of it as the Manhattan’s bolder cousin—it uses an identical liquor ratio but with scotch instead of bourbon or rye.
My Recommendation for the Best Scotch
A blended scotch works well—more expensive bottle’s subtle characteristics would be muted here. The flavors of scotch can vary wildly, from almost-sweet and oaky to something that tastes like licking a fire pit.
Try a familiar scotch you enjoy. For a Rob Roy, I love a very smoky scotch, but if the smokiness is off-putting to you, try a milder scotch like The Famous Grouse or a more subtly smoky scotch, like Duncan Taylor’s blended 12-year.
Two Vermouth Suggestions
With only two main ingredients, it’s important to choose a quality vermouth you could sip as-is too. Carpano Antica’s bold, spicy profile will stand up to a smoky scotch. I find Noilly Prat Sweet Vermouth lighter and fruitier, which works well with lighter blended scotches.
How to Serve a Rob Roy
Traditionally, a classic coupe is used to serve up a Rob Roy, but I’ll often break tradition and serve it in a globe glass. Regardless of the vessel you decide to go with, add a large piece of orange zest over the drink, expressing (a.k.a. squeezing) the peel first to release the oils. It will brighten up the cocktail and give it a lovely floral aroma.
Classy Classic Cocktails
Stir the cocktail together:
In a mixing glass or tall glass filled two thirds with ice, pour in the scotch whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Stir for 20 seconds to chill.
Strain and serve:
Strain the cocktail into a coupe glass and garnish with an orange peel. Serve.
Did you love the recipe? Leave us stars below!