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Oct 29, 2010 01:50 PM

Scotch for mixing

Hi all,

So now that I've mastered the Bourbon/Rye drinks in my home mixology 101 quest and the weather is turning colder, I've been thinking about moving on to Scotch based cocktails for my next round of experimentation (Rob Roys, Bobby Burns, etc). Any suggestions for a good mid level scotch that could work primarily as a mixing spirit but survive as a sipping drink if needs be? For comparison I tend to use Maker's Mark (or Rittenhouse Rye when I can find it) as a good standard mixer while keeping a revolving rotation of higher end stuff for when I want it straight. Was hoping for something in that range/quality.

I don't know much about Scotch so was hoping this would be a good entry point before developing my tastes to direct the better stuff. Was thinking one of the Johnnie Walkers but don't know if that's really just a mass brand and that I'd regret it once I knew better.

Thanks in advance.

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    1. re: jaykayen

      Concur with both of those as great cocktail Scotches.

        1. re: sku

          Also Teachers. JW Black does have a strong character that works well in drinks, and Teacher's is similar but smoother and cheaper. I'm drinking some neat right now.

      1. There are two excellent single malts that are under $40.00 that I would recommend. Glenmorangie Original 10 year old and The Macallan 12 year old. Glenmorangie is a bit sweeter than the Macallan, but both are excellent and can be easily found.

        2 Replies
        1. re: SipSmokeSavor

          I've seen macallan in the $40-45 range in a couple areas but in most states it runs more than $50, almost $60 here in NC. .

          I don't know that Glenmorangie original would hold up well in cocktails, it has a very subtle flavor and doesn't even hold up well to a splash of water, leaves it rather flat and lifeless.

          I agree with the recommendation of Teacher's or White Horse if you can find it, both are very inexpensive but have some decent flavor and are quite sippable. JW Black is also good.

          1. re: ncyankee101

            The Macallan 12 year old can be had in 375 ml for between $20-30, which is ideal for those of us who wish to sample without investing in a full bottle.

            That said, I've never mixed a cocktail with it, and I am by no means an expert on scotch. I've read many recommendations for Famous Grouse -- many respectable bars use it -- and I've been very happy with it in my Mamie Taylors and Blood & Sands.

            Next on my scotch list is Isle of Jura's Superstition; I've read that it's a blend of two scotches, one older and one younger, with an interesting combination of sweetness and smoky peatiness. Very intriguing.

            Imbibe posted a cocktail today that I'm eager to try: The Smoking Gun, made with scotch (they recommend Laphroaig) and Fernet Branca. Sounds strange but potentially wonderful. (See:

        2. Famous Grouse is the house Scotch chez nous. I'm told it's the largest selling whisky in Scotland (may or may not be a recommendation). Makes a tasty Rob Roy which is what I mainly use it for. And, if you're in Trader Joe's orbit, you can pick it up by the liter for less than $20.