The Rob Roy is the scotch drinker’s Manhattan. Scotch drinkers tend to be no-nonsense people; that’s what enjoying the taste of peat does to you. And so while the Manhattan screams bright lights and big city, the Rob Roy has the aura of a more practical drink that’s often enjoyed at home. Like the Manhattan, it requires just whiskey, Italian vermouth, and bitters. Unlike the Manhattan, which is made with rye, the Rob Roy demands scotch. Blended scotch is traditional, although feel free to experiment with a prized single malt; the bottle you use can drastically change the character of your Rob Roy, keeping things interesting without a ton of fuss. Drink your Rob Roy in your library, surrounded by old globes and leather-bound books, or next to a roaring fireplace as an October wind blows across the Highland hills outside. If you can swing it.
A Little Background
Rob Roy was a real man, a Scottsman born in 1671 whose job titles included rebellion leader, cattle thief, outlaw, and bandit. He was a Scottish folk hero, often referred to as the Scottish Robin Hood, and his escapades inspired a number of fictionalized works about his life. One such work was an operetta called Rob Roy, written by Henry Louis Reginald De Koven (who’d previously written an operetta named Robin Hood; sensing a pattern?), that debuted on Broadway in 1894. Down the way from the theater sat New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, where it is said the Rob Roy cocktail originated. At the time, it was all the rage to name cocktails after premiering shows, and the Manhattan had recently been invented to great acclaim, so it all makes sense. These days, you don’t often see Rob Roys on cocktail menus—like we said, this drink is a homebody—but that doesn’t mean a bartender won’t know how to make you one. After all, it remains quite literally a Manhattan with scotch.
If You Like This, Try These
We’ve talked about the Manhattan so much, we might as well give you the recipe: two parts rye whiskey, one part Italian vermouth, a couple dashes of Angostura bitters. Some folks make their Manhattans with bourbon. A Brooklyn cocktail is a cousin to the Rob Roy and the Manhattan, with rye, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and Amer Picon. And another strong Scottish drink is the Glasgow, with blended scotch, French vermouth, absinthe, and Peychaud’s bitters.
What You Need
Here’s what you need to do a Rob Roy justice, beyond what you might be able to dig out of the fridge or cupboard.
Food styling by Sean Dooley
Prop Styling by Ashley Naum
Source : Esquire