Bobby Burns Cocktail – Scotch, Vermouth and Bénédictine

Bobby Burns - Deep red short drink made with blended scotch, sweet vermouth and benedictine. Garnished with a maraschino cherry or lemon zest.


45 ml | 1 1/2 ozBlended Scotch
45 ml | 1 1/2 ozSweet Vermouth
22,5 ml | 3/4 ozBénédictine D.O.M

Method: Stirred
Garnish: Maraschino cherry or lemon zest
Glass: Nick & Nora or Coupe

Shopping list

  1. Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch

  2. Dolin Rouge Vermouth

  3. Bénédictine D.O.M Liqueur

The story of the Bobby Burns Cocktail

The earliest known recipe for what we now call the Bobby Burns cocktail appeared in the 1900 edition of “Fancy Drinks” by Bishop & Babcock, where it was originally named the „Baby Burns“. This initial version was quite different from the modern recipe, featuring Irish whiskey, vermouth, and absinthe. The name “Robert Burns” first appeared in the 1908 “Jack’s Manual” and the 1914 “Drinks” guide, which still used Irish whiskey.


Evolution of the Recipe

The cocktail began to take its more recognizable form in the 1930s. Harry Craddock’s “The Savoy Cocktail Book” (1930) included a recipe for the Bobby Burns Cocktail that called for equal parts Scotch whisky and vermouth, with a few dashes of Bénédictine. This version highlighted the drink’s connection to Scotland by using Scotch whisky, aligning it more closely with the poet Robert Burns.

In 1948, David A. Embury’s “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” offered another variation, suggesting the use of Drambuie instead of Bénédictine, which added a unique twist with its Scotch whisky base. Embury’s recipe also included Peychaud’s Bitters, which he believed blended better with Scotch than Angostura bitters.

The Bobby Burns cocktail is often enjoyed on Burns Night, a celebration held on January 25th to honor the birthday of Robert Burns. This tradition underscores the drink’s cultural significance and its connection to Scottish heritage. While it may not be as universally recognized as other whisky cocktails like the Manhattan or the Old Fashioned, the Bobby Burns holds a special place in my heart.

I show you the sweeter version of the Bobby Burns Cocktail in which I combine two parts each of Blended Scotch and Sweet Vermouth with one part Bénédictine.

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