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Cocktail
Dec 13, 2022

4 Classic Whisky Cocktails To Try

Written by THE ART OF SHAKING

Last update: Jan 13, 2023 -

2 min read

Index

It’s the perfect season for sipping rich and warming whisky-based cocktails by the fire, as we gather together with family and friends. Whisky is a classic cocktail spirit, which is a key ingredient in some of the oldest and best loved mixed drinks in the world. They often have a colourful origin story too! Here’s a look at a few favourites.

 

Old Fashioned

Although it probably wasn’t the case, most people consider the Old Fashioned as the original cocktail drink. Its main ingredients are Scotch whisky or bourbon, a dash or two of Angostura bitters, and two teaspoons or sugar or syrup. Additional splashes of soda water are optional, and it’s usually served with a cherry and an orange slice.

The simple idea of muddling sugar and bitters has been replicated in many different ways, but the classic simplicity of the Old Fashioned never loses its appeal. It is thought to have evolved in America in the early 1800s, when it was simply known as a whisky cocktail.

However, as cocktails became ever more fashionable, and bartenders became more creative and experimental, patrons who preferred the simplicity of the original started to ask for an ‘old fashioned’ cocktail, and the name stuck. It even had a glass named after it, the heavy-based short tumbler designed to hold plenty of ice.

 

The Manhattan

The Manhattan is another cocktail from America, said to have been invented in the upmarket New York Manhattan Club. The drink is made from bourbon, sweet vermouth, extra dry vermouth, a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters, and garnished with a cherry.

The drink is traditionally served with lots of ice in a Nick & Nora glass, which is a long-stemmed glass with a higher sided bowl than the classic martini glass. This was thought to be better for containing the rich aromas of the drink.

The glass is named after the characters Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man series of detective films of the 1930s and 40s, where they drink from such glasses.

 

Rob Roy

The Rob Roy is basically a version of the Manhattan, which uses Scotch whisky instead of bourbon. However, it is not named directly after the legendary Scottish outlaw Robert Roy MacGregor, as you might expect. As it was invented in America, it was named after a Broadway show of that name, which presumably was about said hero!

 

Whisky Sour

The Whisky Sour is a favourite cocktail with a long history. Like most cocktails, there are various different versions of the origin story. Some claim it was the invention of the legendary US bartender Jerry Thomas, who blazed a trail in the art of shaking in the mid-18th century American cities and towns.

Other sources think that the cocktail was invented much earlier, in the 1700s. The story goes that the British Navy were in the habit of adding lime or lemon juice to the whisky or rum, to make it last longer, and help stave off scurvy.

 

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