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Rob Roy

b10 rob roy no hand 1

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.

How to make a ‘Perfect Rob Roy’

The secret to making a Rob Roy? It’s all in the chill. The combo of scotch, sweet vermouth and bitters is much smoother when stirred with ice and strained into a cool glass. But temperature aside, there’s no wrong way to create this drink. 

Like most classic cocktails, there’s plenty of variations to try. Experiment with different types of scotch or ratios of spirit. Or, if you like things on the lighter side, mix with equal parts dry and sweet vermouth, otherwise known as a Perfect Rob Roy. The addition of dry vermouth adds a floral, herbaceous twist to this full-bodied serve.

Rob Roy Ingredients

How to make a Rob Roy

  • Stir all ingredients over ice until chilled.
  • Strain into a chilled glass.
  • Garnish with a maraschino cherry.


The Rob Roy is a close cousin of the Manhattan, calling for scotch in place of American whisky. It’s a subtle switch, but the flavour difference is enough to give it its own ranking on the list of top whisky cocktails.

If you want to stir by the book, stick to a blended scotch which won’t overpower the vermouth’s herbal notes. We use Ballantine’s 10, a honey-sweet scotch that just happens to be our master blender’s favourite whisky. But if you have another blend in mind, stay true to your favourite bottle. Ballantine’s 17 brings an extra depth of flavour whilst Ballantine’s 21 marks this drink for a special occasion. Discover the Ballantine’s whisky collection to find your perfect match.

Ballantine’s 10 Year Old

Rob Roy: a cocktail history lesson

Rob Roy wasn’t always a cocktail. Back in the late 17th century, he was an outlaw whose Robin Hood-like antics gained him a reputation as a Scottish folk hero. Robert Roy MacGregor battled noblemen to help the poor and 100 or so years later, his story was told in an operetta on Broadway.

To accompany the new show, the Waldorf-Astoria created a promotional cocktail for opening night. And the rest is history. Some say the Rob Roy has another origin story – ordered by a 19th century scotch salesman who wanted a Manhattan made with his own blend – but however it came about, its name has true Scottish heritage, much like Ballantine’s whisky.

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