rob roy

SCOTCH MEETS THE MANHATTAN When the Manhattan cocktail took hold in America, around 1874, rye whiskey ruled the bar. By including a generous pour of sweet vermouth as a foil to the rye's spiciness, and a dash of bitters to add intrigue, the Manhattan cocktail was made potent yet harmonious. By 1891, however, a new spirit arrived on the American scene, the blended Scotch whisky of John Dewar. Andrew Carnegie, Scottish by birth, welcomed it by sending a cask of Dewar's® to President Benjamin Harrison. As word of blended Scotch whisky's smooth character continued to spread, it was just a matter of time before some enterprising bartender swapped it for rye in his Manhattan. A new classic was born, and the drink found a fittingly bold namesake in a legendary Scotsman: Rob Roy.


In a mixing glass combine Dewar's® Blended Scotch Whisky, Martini Rosso, bitter and ice. Stir until well-chilled and strain into a cocktail glass containing a maraschino cherry. Rub the orange peel over the rim of the glass before twisting it over the drink to release the oils.


Try these simple ways to take this classic cocktail in new directions.
  1. Replace half of the Martini Rosso with Martini extra Dry for a Perfect Rob Roy.
  2. Replace Angostura with orange bitters and absinthe for a Borden Chase.
  3. Create a top-shelf Rob Roy with the rich flavor of Dewar's® 18 Blended Scotch Whisky.
  4. Drain the syrup from one jar of cherries and cover them in Dewar's® Highlander Honey. Allow to marinate one week for a honeyed cherry garnish.


1494 An entry in Scotland's Exchequer Rolls records the king's distribution of malt to Friar John Cor for the purpose of making "aqua vitae," the first documented distilling of whisky in Scotland.

1671 Robert Roy MacGregor is born in Glengyle at the head of Loch Katrine. Stemming from his red hair, he's widely known by the Gaelic Raibeart Ruadh-in English Rob Roy-Scotland's legendary rancher, rustler, soldier, bandit and folk hero.

1847 Alessandro Martini, a wine merchant, and Luigi Rossi, a master herbalist, cross paths in Turin, Italy. Their talents converge in the creation of Martini Rosso, the world famous Italian vermouth that perfectly complements Scotch whisky in an authentic Rob Roy cocktail.

1894 The opening of "Rob Roy", a Broadway musical, loosely based upon the exploits of Scottish folk hero Robert Roy MacGregor, inspires New York's Waldorf Hotel to create its own Rob Roy, a new cocktail of Scotch whisky, Italian vermouth and bitters.

1897 In a landmark move for advertising, Dewar's® partners with Thomas Edison's company to produce the first ever filmed commercial. This short movie, which promotes Scotch Whisky, is projected onto a building in New York's Herald Square, where it immediately stops traffic.

1930 In The Savoy Cocktail Book, Harry Craddock of London includes a recipe for a Rob Roy of equal parts Italian vermouth and Scotch whisky, with bitters, advising it is "particularly for Saint Andrew's Day, to open the evening for the usual enormous annual gathering of the Clans at the Savoy."

1934 In his book Punches and Cocktails, "Charles of Delmonicos" includes the Rob Roy, with a tongue-in-cheek recommendation that it's a drink "For Bankrupts, Jilted Lovers, Gamblers' Losing Streaks, Examination Failures, Business Depressions and Husbands Caught Cheating."

1980 In the comedy classic Caddyshack, golfer Bishop Pickering's caddy asks, "Another Rob Roy, Bishop?" to which he replies, "You never ask a Navy man if he'll have another drink, because it's nobody's goddamned business how many he's had already."