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How to make better cocktails at home with Ballantine’s

b10 wide shot bottle old fashioned scaled aspect ratio 16 9

Cocktail making is an artform. Period. From shaking up a perfectly chilled serve to creating the original recipe, there’s plenty of skill behind it. But you don’t have to trek to your nearest bar to enjoy an epic drink.

With a few bits of equipment and a bottle of Ballantine’s, you too can start making delicious cocktails like the best of them. Here we share how to make the best cocktails at home with some beginner friendly recipes to get you started.

What do you need to make cocktails at home?

The best cocktails to make at home are the simplest ones. But before we do anything, we need to ensure your kitchen is well-equipped for serving up the very best of our whisky cocktail selection. Stocking your bar need not be stressful or difficult. Let’s start off with what you’ll need to make delicious cocktails from your very own home:

  • Ballantine’s whisky
  • Your favourite mixers and juices
  • Cocktail glasses – a wide range is always beneficial to the aesthetic!
  • Ice
  • Shaker
  • Strainer
  • Jigger for measures
  • Muddler for crushing
  • Straws
  • Sweeteners like sugar or fruit
  • Any other spirits and garnishes you want to experiment with

What’s the simplest way to make a cocktail?

Often, simplicity is the key to creating a balanced, delicious cocktail. You don’t need to go out of your way to get your kitchen looking like the best bar in town, nor do you suddenly need to learn any special cocktail making skills (unless you want to of course).

From traditional mixers to blended drinks, we’ve got you covered with a whole range of simple and not quite as simple cocktails. It’s time to get shaking.


Mixers are wonderfully versatile. They’re go-tos for lots of casual whisky drinkers, and we can see why. They’re quick to make and when created using the correct proportions, pretty unforgettable. See for instance the classic whisky coke, using Ballantine’s and Cola. It’s classic and a perfect introduction to whisky making at home. When sampling mixers, be sure to try out a more fiery ginger ale cocktail, perfect for kick-starting the evening with friends or family.

Build in a glass

Get your ingredients and quite literally build your cocktail in the glass, balancing the flavours with a good, old fashioned stir. Pour one ingredient on top of the other and build towards something to your taste. The best thing about building a cocktail in the glass is you can experiment with flavours along the way. That’s part of the thrill of cocktail making. Our Rob Roy perfectly demonstrates how simple making cocktails at home really is.

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.

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ballantines finest whisky sour

Whisky Sour

This cocktail is 150 years old, yet you’ll still find it in the trendiest bars. Give it a go with your favourite Ballantine’s!

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Now’s the time to start introducing slightly more advanced cocktail making tools like your shaker. Oh, that beautiful sound of ice and your ingredients shaking. Shaking your whisky cocktails will take some elbow grease for sure, but it’ll be worth it when you create wonders like a Whisky Sour.

For those of you who enjoy a colder cocktail, shaken cocktails help to chill your ingredients quicker and get some air into the mixture for a consistent texture throughout. 


Inspired by the slushie, blended drinks are popular on the hottest days of the year. Filled with crushed ice and whizzed to perfection, they can be the most refreshing of the cocktail world. Check out our sweet and creamy whisky milkshake for inspiration on how to blend Ballantine’s.

On the hob

Yep, that’s right – plenty of cocktails can also be enjoyed hot. There’s a real place for warm whisky cocktails like the Hot Toddy, especially during the winter months. If you’re feeling a little chilly or fancy a festive drink, a stovetop cocktail is your go-to style for wrapping up warm.

The best thing about cocktails? Their versatility. Don’t be shy in trying out new techniques once you’ve familiarised yourself with the ingredients and discovered what you like. As you become accustomed to the taste of Ballantine’s, there’s nothing more fun than playing around with flavours.

The best cocktails for beginners

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The Old Fashioned

An absolute staple in whisky cocktail making, the Old Fashioned is easy to make at home. Combining orange, sugar and Ballantine’s 7 American Barrel Finish Whisky makes for a balanced cocktail. If you’re only just getting into cocktail making at home, this is a great place to start.


A concoction of some of our favourite flavours. Honey, ginger, lemon and Ballantine’s 12 Year Old. There’s no waiting around for a doctor’s prescription of Penicillin – create your very own at home.

Ballantines 12 Year Old Penicillin Drink


Prescribe yourself the Penicillin, a fiery Scotch classic to kick off your weekend in style. No doctors necessary.

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Bobby Burns Drink with Ballantine's Finest bottle

Bobby Burns

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

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Bobby Burns

Raise a toast to one of Scotland’s finest, Robert ‘Bobby’ Burns. An effortless mix of vermouth, Bénédictine, lemon and Ballantine’s Finest make for a herbal and experimental flavour. The Bobby Burns is sure to be a hit among friends.


A stirred cocktail much like Negroni, but using Ballantine’s 12 year old instead of gin. You get the sweet tones of Ballantine’s instead of Gin’s punch, combined with Campari for a citrusy finish. The Boulevardier is simple to make and sure to be a crowd pleaser in your own kitchen.

ballantines finest 12 boulevardier 2


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

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Atholl Brose - Scotch Whisky Cocktail Recipe

Atholl Brose

This Scottish classic is oats-so-simple. Whip this up after a dinner party to really up your hosting game.

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Atholl Brose

Quintessentially Scottish. When made well, the Atholl Brose looks a delight and tastes one too. Using plenty of honey for a sweet finish, this whisky cocktail is certain for success after dinner. 

If you’re looking for more inspiration on making cocktails in the cosiness of your own home, check out more simple whisky recipes. You’ll find a range of flavours from our favourite cherry whisky drinks to dessert cocktails.

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9 whisky drinks for when you feel like something different

From elegantly flavoured mixers to sophisticated serves, we’ve created a shortlist of our favourite fancy whisky drinks. Discover more ways to drink Ballantine’s.

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How to order scotch at a bar like a seasoned pro

There’s no wrong way to order scotch, but if you want a drink you’ll love, it helps to know the lingo. Get our simple tips on how to order whisky with ease.

ballantines finest scotch whisky blog news page


You already know we’ve nailed the Finest Whisky to ever grace a glass. But that’s just a little drop of what we’re about. Scroll on for the latest news and features from across the world of Ballantine’s whisky, True Music and much, much more.



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