Simple Whisky Cocktails That You Can Make at Home

A Rusty Nail cocktail with a twist of lemon

Why make Simple Whisky Cocktails?

Whisky cocktails can be a little like marmite, you either love them or hate them! Many whisky purists will have already closed down this post in disgust, but not us. We love finding ways of using whisky in simple cocktails we can make at home and using recipes to bring out that warmth and depth of flavour that takes years to develop. 

Whisky is also great in cooking, of course, and we’ve used a wee dram in our popular Cranachan recipe as well as our Caledonian Cream recipe, without it both would just not be the same! 

So to see how else we can enjoy whisky a little more we decided to look into the best simple whisky cocktails that you can make with minimal fuss. Nice, simple and delicious, perfect for those who may not be the biggest whisky neat fans, or just want to try something new.

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Simple Scottish Whisky Cocktails

6 Simple Whisky Cocktails

Rusty Nail

One of the simplest whisky cocktails you’ll ever find and now a true classic whisky cocktail. It’s a subtle mix of whisky of your choice and Drambuie, a well-known Scottish Whisky Liqueur flavoured with herbs, spices and honey.

The Rusty Nail was once cutting edge. The Rat Pack themselves are said to have been huge fans, which in turn made their fans huge fans. That’s a lot of fans and perhaps the reason there was always a bottle in your Gran’s cupboard. Frank has a lot to answer for! 

We think this is the perfect drink for any fans of Frank and his pals or anyone that just wants the edge taken off their whisky by the sweetness of the liqueur and a bit of ice. It’s a slow sipping cocktail and easy to make. You really can’t go wrong!

Ingredients:

  • 60ml Whisky (2oz) – A blended whisky is perfect
  • 30ml Drambuie (1oz)
  • 3-4 Ice Cubes 
  • Lemon rind garnish

Tools:

Method:

  • Add ice to your glass. 
  • Add your whisky of choice and the Drambuie.
  • Stir gently.
  • Peel a small rectangle of Lemon peel and twist over the glass, add this to the mix.
  • Enjoy! 

Top Tip:

A 2:1 ratio is the whisky and Drambuie is a good rule of thumb for this cocktail but this can be played with to achieve the perfect Rusty Nail for you. A bigger whisky fan may want 3:1 or 4:1. 

A Rusty Nail cocktail and bottle of Drambuie

Scottish/Whisky Mule

This take on the famous Moscow Mule brings together your whisky of choice with the soft burn of ginger beer and lime.

Another nice and simple cocktail to enjoy especially when the weather warms up – it seems a long way off but it will happen!

Ingredients:

  • 60ml Whisky (2oz) – A blended or light whisky suits – something not too peaty! 
  • 200ml Ginger Beer (7oz) – We love Fever-Tree Ginger Beer
  • 1 Fresh Lime
  • 3 Mint Leaves
  • 3-4 Ice Cubes

Tools:

  • High Ball glass – traditionally Moscow Mules are served in a copper mug like this so do try this if you happen to have one otherwise glasses like this are fine too.
  • Spoon
  • Knife

Method:

  • Add ice to the glass to chill
  • Add the Whisky and Ginger Beer
  • Cut the lime into wedges, squeeze two into the glass
  • Stir gently
  • Garnish with a wedge of lime. Slice one wedge halfway down the middle of the wedge and slide onto the edge of the glass.
  • Take three mint leaves and clap them the palm of your hands, add these to the top of your drink. The clapping helps bring out the scent and flavour of the mint.
  • Serve

Top Tips: 

  • If you want to take your Scotch Mule a step further you can muddle (crush) fresh ginger and honey together and mix with lemonade and whisky rather than using ginger beer. To make a long drink add a dash of soda water.
  • Add Drambuie for a little sweetness – try a 2:1 ration with the whisky. 
  • The mint is a personal preference so feel free to leave this out.

The Flying Scotsman Cocktail

One of our favourite simple whisky cocktails is the Flying Scotsman, named after the famous steam train that travelled between London and Edinburgh. What a sight it must have been! We have to admit the link to a famous steam train was enticing but the cocktail itself is delicious and strong.

It was so good and so full of history that we wrote a post for it all on its own and you can find it here, with a little more history and detail about both the train and the drink.  

See the Flying Scotsman Recipe here

A Flying Scotsman Cocktail and cocktail shaker

Hot Toddy

Who hasn’t been told when they have a cold that they should have a hot toddy? Who then goes and makes one? Not as many people as are told we’re sure, but it’s actually pretty easy.

The idea behind it is simple – a bit of sugar, a bit of lemon and a wee dram to help you get back on your feet. Not only perfect for when you’re feeling a little sick but also a great drink for a cold winters day and one that reminds us of the festive season.

Ingredients:

  • Boiled water – enough to fill the glass or mug of choice. 
  • 30ml Whisky (1oz) per Hot Toddy – A single malt works well but any will do if, like us, you’re not fussy. 
  • 2-3 tsp Honey per Hot Toddy
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick, per Hot Toddy

Tools:

Method:

  • Boil water
  • Add the honey and Whisky to the glass or mug
  • Stir or whisk to blend them together
  • Add your cinnamon stick and pour in boiling water until nearly full
  • Stir
  • Cut the lemon in half
  • Juice half and add a good splash of the juice into the glass
  • Stir
  • Slice the other half and add two slices to your Hot Toddy
  • Serve

Top Tips:

  • Use a whisky to suit you, anything light may mean the taste will get lost in the other flavours, anything too strong will be the dominant flavour, the choice is yours! If whisky really isn’t your thing (but you’re here so…) try adding Rum or a Spiced Rum to give it a different flavour.
  • If you want to use Drambuie we suggest using hot apple juice instead of water to make a hot rusty nail toddy, another great Drambuie cocktail!
  • You can add a few cloves if you fancy a more ‘mulled wine’ taste. Push them into your lemon slice before adding to the mix.

Whisky Sour

The Whisky Sour may be the ultimate whisky cocktail. It is the most complicated on our little list but possibly also the most satisfying to enjoy, and one we like to order when we’re out.

The “sour” is another classic cocktail that was first recorded in 1862! It’s a great one to have up your sleeve at parties and can be made with any base spirit but today we’re making them with whisky.

Ingredients:

This cocktail, like the Flying Scotsman, using sugar syrup. It is possible to buy but so simple to make yourself!

Sugar syrup – 2:1 ratio – make as much as you need, each Whisky Sour needs 12.5ml, the below makes more than that so you can make several cocktails or keep aside for later.

  • 108g Granulated Sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 60ml Water (2 oz)
  • Add the sugar and water to the saucepan and heat over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Make as much or as little as you like using a 2:1 or 2:2 ration depending on how sweet you like your cocktails.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved allow to cool and store in a resealable glass bottle. This will last for at least three weeks.

Whisky Sour

  • 50ml Whisky per drink (1.75 oz)
  • 35ml Lemon Juice per drink (1.25 oz)
  • 12.5ml Sugar Syrup per drink (0.5 oz)
  • 1 Egg White from a small or medium egg per drink – yep, egg. Don’t stop reading it really is nice! 
  • Ice – enough to fill your shaker
  • Maraschino cherry per drink
  • 1 Fresh Orange
  • 1 Cocktail stick

Tools:

  • Sour or Coupe glass (small glass with a stem like this) / rocks glass as above
  • Saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Glass Bottle
  • Cocktail Shaker like this
  • Strainer  (sometimes these are part of the cocktail shaker but if not you can buy separately like here)
  • Bar Spoon

Method:

  • Add the ice to your cocktail shaker
  • Add the whisky, lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white to the shaker*
  • Replace the top of the shaker and shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds
  • Remove the lid and pour through the strainer into the glass
  • The drink should have no ice in it as it has been cooled in the shaker but should settle with foam on top
  • Skewer a Maraschino cherry between a small slice of orange and place on the edge of the glass as garnish

Top Tips:

  • For an extra frothy mix, you can shake the egg white first for 20-30secs then add the ice and other ingredients and shake again for the same time. This is called a dry shake and a wet shake.
  • *This cocktail can be made without the egg white but it helps bring all of the flavours together while adding a creamy, frothy texture. There is no taste, we promise.
  • For something a little different, replace whisky with Amaretto for a delicious Amaretto sour.
A Whisky Sour with cocktail shaker

Drambuie Collins

The Collins cocktail is both a classic and world-renowned cocktail. It’s traditionally made with gin, lemon juice and soda but we’ve given it a whisky cocktail twist.

Another Drambuie based cocktail we’re afraid! There are lots of Drambuie cocktails to try as the mix of spices lends itself perfectly to many different recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 75ml Drambuie (2.5oz) per drink
  • 150ml Soda (5.1oz) per drink
  • 1/2 Fresh Lemon per drink
  • 2 Mint Sprigs, 3-8 leaves per drink
  • Ice, enough to fill your glass

Tools:

Method:

  • Add ice to fill the glass
  • Slice lemon into wedges
  • Add Drambuie
  • Squeeze lemon wedges into the glass and add
  • Add soda to fill the glass
  • Stir gently
  • Place the mint sprigs in the palm of your hand and clap, add as garnish
  • Serve

And there you have it our simple list of simple whisky cocktails that will make you look like an expert Mixologist in front of your friends and family.

And the best bit, you’ll now have whisky in the house to try some Scottish Scran recipes that contain a wee dram too! Have you tried our Cranachan Cheesecake recipe

Do let us know what you think. Like our other recipes, everyone has there own way of making their favourite drinks. We would love to hear your own versions!

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