A Deep Dive into the Rusty Nail

Rusty Nail is known to be one of the most popular Scotch Cocktails of all time. According to cocktail historian David Wondrich, the Rusty Nail made its first appearance in 1937. It has been categorized under The Unforgettables in The Big Book of Cocktails and tastes very rough, as indicated by its name.

This wonderful concoction is made by mixing Scotch (malt) whisky and Drambuie (a sweet, golden colored 40% ABV liqueur made from Scotch whisky, honey, herbs and spices) and is commonly served in an Old Fashioned Glass.

The smoky savor of well-aged Scotch is abridged by adding Drambuie to the concoction, which makes the aroma slightly sweeter. It also imparts herbal nuances to it, without overpowering the characteristic undertones of the Scotch.

Quite a few variants of the Rusty Nail are served at different bars and restaurants around the world and various well-aged liqueurs are used as the base spirit. One has to serve this mix in glass full of ice-cubes. The shaken version of this cocktail is served in a Stemmed Glass or a Martini Glass.

Straight Up Nail is the neat version of this concoction, which is generally served without ice or garnish.


  • Ice
  • 30ml Scotch
  • 15ml Drambuie

The Process

Pour lots of ice into an Old Fashioned Glass and add 30ml Scotch to it. The Black Dog Centenary can be a good bet. Stir the Scotch well with the ice while pouring 15ml Drambuie into it. Stir the mix carefully and add a dash of lemon juice into the mix. You can use cracked ice to keep this drink chilled for a longer time. If you are a Scotch lover, we ask you to popularize this once favored drink again, rescuing it out of oblivion.