Rob Roy (Scotch Manhattan) Cocktail

Rob Roy (Scotch Manhattan)

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail

The Rob Roy is, quite simply, a Scotch Manhattan. Whereas a Manhattan includes an American whiskey like rye or bourbon, a Rob Roy features a Scotch whisky. In keeping with the Manhattan recipe, the Rob Roy simply pairs your favorite Scotch with sweet vermouth and a dash or two of bitters. It is basic, easy, and among the popular cocktails that everyone should taste at least once.

Whether you choose a blended or single malt Scotch is a matter of preference, though a blended whisky is often the more conventional choice. Either way, the simplicity of the drink allows the whisky to shine through, so be sure to make a wise choice. Don't worry, this is one cocktail where your premium whisky will not go to waste.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a cocktail mixer filled with ice, pour the whisky, vermouth, and bitters.

  3. Stir well.

  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

  5. Serve and enjoy.

Recipe Variations

Following the other great classic cocktails that use the spirit-vermouth combination, the Rob Roy can be adapted to fit your personal taste. You can also use any of these variations with the Scotch of your choice.

  • Use more or less sweet vermouth as desired. Some drinkers prefer a 3 to 1 ratio or even less vermouth.
  • This drink can also be served on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass and built right in the glass. For a slower dilution, use an ice ball.
  • A dry Rob Roy substitutes dry vermouth for the sweet vermouth and garnishes the drink with an olive.
  • To make a "Perfect" Rob Roy, use 1/4 ounce each of sweet and dry vermouth. A lemon twist is typically used as the garnish.

Where Was the Rob Roy Cocktail Invented?

The Rob Roy was created at the famous New York City Waldorf-Astoria in the 1890s. As is the case with many classic cocktails of the time, this one debuted along with the 1894 Broadway show, "Rob Roy," which told the story of Robert Roy MacGregor, the Scottish Robin Hood of the 18th century. The cocktail was also instrumental in introducing the American public to blended Scotch whisky.

How Strong Is the Rob Roy?

The alcohol content of any Rob Roy cocktail is going to depend on the whisky you pour and the amount of vermouth you choose to include. When made with an 80-proof blended Scotch in the standard recipe, it mixes up to about 29 percent ABV (58 proof). That is definitely not a light drink, which is why "straight-up" drinks that include alcohol alone are served in such small portions.