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Mix up a Rob Roy your way with these simple variations

ballantines 12 rob roy drink aspect ratio 16 9

The Rob Roy is a Scottish legend. The scotch, the story and the serve make this cocktail one of the great whisky classics. But there’s more than one way to drink it. 

A traditional Rob Roy combines scotch, sweet vermouth and bitters in a chilled glass topped with a maraschino cherry garnish. And we’re big fans. But here at Ballantine’s, we also encourage individualisation. So whether you prefer a lighter serve, extra spice, to keep things dry or to make things icy, we love any kind of remix.

Here’s some of our favourite Rob Roy variations to get you started.

ballantines 12 rob roy drink

Rob Roy

For those in the know, a Rob Roy is simply a Manhattan made with scotch. But also, it’s the shot of Ballantine’s 12 that makes it a true Scottish legend.


Perfect Rob Roy

We think the traditional Rob Roy recipe is pretty perfect. But according to cocktail law, an actual ‘Perfect Rob Roy’ combines equal parts sweet and dry vermouth. The result is a slightly drier, lighter cocktail, perfectly served with a lemon twist.

Dry Rob Roy

If you want to go extra dry, swap out the sweet vermouth completely. Dry vermouth is a light-bodied drink with a more herbaceous, floral finish. Mixing it with Ballantine’s 12 Year Old whisky will therefore bring out the scotch’s refreshing notes.

Rob Roy on the Rocks

A classic Rob Roy is stirred with ice before being strained into a chilled martini glass. This means the ice can’t water down the drink. But if you like things super chill, don’t be afraid to stay true to your style. Make up the cocktail over a large cube in a tumbler for a slow sipping serve.

Bobby Burns

Named after another of Scotland’s national treasures, Bobby Burns is a close cousin of Rob Roy. This herbal, sweet, smoky drink celebrates the poet Robert Burns of which Burns Night is named after. It’s very similar in style, mixing whisky and sweet vermouth. But this time bitters is swapped for Bénédictine, a herbal liqueur that adds extra warming spice.


Bobby Burns

Raise a toast to Scotland’s national bard with this sophisticated cocktail.

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Upgrade a Negroni by swapping out Gin for our Ballantine’s 12 Year Old Whisky and mix up the Boulevardier. Our favourite kind of remix



Keep the scotch, stick or twist vermouth for Byrrh, and swap the bitters for Campari and voila! You’ve got yourself a Boulevardier. This Parisian classic is what happens when a Rob Roy and a Negroni cross paths. It’s sweet, bitter and a real crowd-pleaser.


A Rob Roy is essentially a Manhattan made with scotch. So if you want to take things back to basics, simply swap scotch to bourbon or rye whisky. This makes for a slightly spicier taste. Most Manhattan drinkers keep the maraschino cherry garnish. But feel free to make it your way with a lemon twist or olive.

Make more whisky cocktails your own with Ballantine’s. Try our top variations of a Negroni or put a twist on a Whisky Sour.

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