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Rob Roy
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Difficulty: Easy

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Makes: 1 drink

The Rob Roy is a blend of Scotch and vermouth sharpened by a dash of angostura bitters. Experts everywhere would agree that a martini is to a vodka martini as a Manhattan is to a Rob Roy. A Manhattan is a blend of rye or bourbon and sweet vermouth, and the Rob Roy is a mixture of Scotch and sweet vermouth; the difference is as sharp as that between a yam and a Yukon Gold. Anyone familiar with the 1995 film Rob Roy knows the source for the name of this cocktail—Robert MacGregor, the Scottish Robin Hood. Of course, unless you’re a Scottish history buff, if you heard someone order a Rob Roy before 1995 you may have been a bit puzzled. Although we do not know who christened the Rob Roy for that feisty Scottish hero, according to William Grimes in Straight Up or On the Rocks, the drink was named for a Broadway play based on Sir Walter Scott’s 1817 novel Rob Roy. Just as feisty, the Rob Roy gives you a wealth of enjoyment; the only thing it may rob you of is your memory after one too many.

Follow your instincts on whether to stir or shake, but as with the Manhattan, a Rob Roy doesn’t lose much by not being served glacially cold. The classic Rob Roy is served with a maraschino cherry, but some shudder at this and substitute a twist of lemon peel.


  1. 1Shake the Scotch, vermouth, and bitters with ice; then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry or lemon peel.


Dry Rob Roy: Substitute dry vermouth for the sweet vermouth.

Perfect Rob Roy: Use 3/4 ounce each of sweet and dry vermouth.

Green Briar: Substitute Cointreau for the bitters.

  • Rob Roy

This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.
Copyright Quirk Books

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