Top 5 Whiskey Based Cocktails

If there’s one thing Scotland knows how to do well, its whiskey. We have mastered the art of whiskey over the centuries, and are famous for what we create. If you’re visiting Scotland, a whiskey based experience should definitely be apart of your trip. However, not everyone is a fan of the drink straight, so here’s our favourite whiskey based cocktails. Whether you want to order from a bar or even make them yourself, here’s our favourites and how to make them!

John Collins 

The John Collins is a cocktail which was recorded to first be made in 1869, but may be older. It is believed to have originated with a headwaiter named John Collins who worked at Limmer's Old House, which was a popular London hotel and coffee house around 1790–1817.


The John Collins is a Collins drink that is stirred with ice and topped with soda—made from whiskey, lemon juice, sugar and carbonated water.


The standard recipe for the John Collins is as follows:


Teaspoonful of powdered sugar
The juice of half a lemon
A wine glass of Old Tom Gin
A bottle of plain soda
Shake up, or stir up with ice. Add a slice of lemon peel to finish.


Some prefer to add a cherry in the glass, but this is less traditional. This cocktail is definetly for the whiskey lovers and has a strong taste, but great for dinner parties and late night suppers!


As with many famous cocktails, the origin of the Manhattan cocktail is much debated.

The most famous theory is that Dr. Iain Marshall invented the recipe in the early 1880’s for a party by Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill’s mother. The supposed explanation behind the name of the drink is because this party was held in the Manhattan Club in New York.

However, this theory is somewhat disbelieved as during that time, Churchill’s Mother was pregnant and living in England, rather than sipping cocktails in New York.


The standard recipe for the Manhattan is as follows:


  • Add the bourbon (or rye), sweet vermouth and bitters to a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled.
  • Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora or coupe glass.
  • Garnish with a brandied cherry (or a lemon twist, if preferred).


Old Fashioned 

An old fashioned was one of the simpler and earlier versions of cocktails, before the development of advanced bartending techniques and recipes in the later part of the 19th century.


Many believe as cocktails advanced through the 19th century, some bar goers preferred the classic simplicity the cocktail provided, which lovingly branded it “the only fashioned”.


The Pendennis Club, a gentlemen's members club founded in 1881 in Kentucky, claims the old-fashioned cocktail was invented there, however this is also debated.


The standard recipe for an Old Fashioned is as follows:


  • Put a tablespoon of sugar, bitters and water in a small tumbler.


  • Mix until the sugar dissolves if using granulated.


  • Fill your glass with ice and stir in the whisky.


  • Add a splash of soda water if you like and mix.


  • Garnish with the orange and cherry.


Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is a long standing, widely loved cocktail.


As a bourbon-based cocktail, it is associated with Southern America, a cuisine featured in the Kentucky Derby in the 1700s in particular. However, some argue the ‘Julep’ has traces back hundreds of years to the Middle East, however it’s unlikely whiskey would have been used to make it there.


The standard recipe for the mint julep is as follows:

In a Julep cup or rocks glass, lightly muddle the mint leaves in the simple syrup.

Add the bourbon then pack the glass tightly with crushed ice.

Stir until the cup is frosted on the outside.

Top with more crushed ice to form an ice dome, and garnish with a mint sprig and a few drops of bitters (optional).

Whiskey Sour 

The history of the whiskey sour is a fascinating one. Sailors would take huge amounts of lemons, limes and oranges on trips out to see. Of course, they would also bring alcohol, like whiskey and bourbon, to keep them occupied.

A natural result of this was mixing the citrus fruits brought on board with the whiskey, a perfect way to combat scurvy and keep the sailors happy.

For years whiskey sours were made by sailors on their journies on boats.

This recipe eventually made it to land, where it’s popularity continued. In modern times bar tenders have added to it, and many variations have been created. However, the basic citrus and whiskey blend is what keeps this cocktails as well loved and popular as it is today.


The standard recipe for a whiskey sour is as follows:


  • Add bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white, if using, to a shaker and dry-shake for 30 seconds without ice.
  • Add ice and shake again until well chilled.
  • Strain into a rocks glass or a coupe.
  • Garnish with 3 or 4 drops of Angostura bitters.