NYC Classic Cocktails: The Rob Roy

The Rob Roy is a whisky cocktail, consisting mainly of blended Scotch whisky and sweet rosso vermouth. It was created, in October 1894, by a barman at the original Waldorf Astoria, on Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, New York City. The drink was commissioned to honour the Broadway premiere of Rob Roy, an operetta based on the adventures of Scottish Highland outlaw and folk hero Rob Roy McGregor.

This production was highly praised by the New York Times and ended up running for a year on Broadway. The Rob Roy cocktail was also highly praised and ended up running for over a century in cocktail bars all over the world.

It didn’t take a blinding flash of inspiration to come with the idea of a Rob Roy cocktail, it’s very similar to a Manhattan, but is made with Scotch blended whisky, while the Manhattan is usually made with American rye whiskey. Today, however, a Rob Roy is commonly made with Canadian or bourbon whiskey.

This mix of Scotch whisky, sweet Italian vermouth, and Angostura bitters has been loved for decades because of its peculiar bitter and herb undertones. The Italian vermouth gives sweetness and caramel flavours are provided by the blended Scotch.

Cocktail Ingredients

  • 50ml Scotch blended whisky, we used Chivas Regal
  • 25ml Italian rosso vermouth, we used Martini Rosso
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ice

Garnish with

  • A maraschino cherry

Special Equipment

  • A mixing glass
  • A cocktail strainer

Preparation Method

Combine the ingredients together with ice in a mixing glass, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and serve up.

Best Whisky for Rob Roy?

Chivas Regal blended Scotch Whisky gets our vote.