Whisky Mac, A Drink from Days of the Raj

Whisky Mac, formerly known as Whisky MacDonald, has its roots in British India where Colonel Hector MacDonald concocted this beverage. In 1899, the colonel proposed a demarcation between China and British India with a border. There was unrest after this demarcation which was followed by a breakout of cholera. Owing to medicinal properties of ginger, ginger wine gained wide popularity. Ginger, apart from being a digestif, brought relief to the cholera patients. Combining his love for whisky and the medicinal benefits of ginger, the colonel came up with the unusual Whisky Mac, which the men in uniform preferred to unwind with after a grueling day at the border.

Traditionally, Whisky Mac was served neat. If you want to serve it with crushed ice, it’s best to strain the concoction into a drinking glass after adding ice. This ensures that the liquid is chilled but not too diluted by the melting ice, which might bring changes to the flavor and thereby change the taste.

Interestingly, this cocktail is also referred to as the “Golfer’s favorite”. During winters, after a chilly round at the course golfers drink Whisky Mac. This helps ward off the chill and keeps the body warm. The hot version of Whisky Mac (by adding hot water) is the absolute spirit when the temperatures dip.


  • 60ml Blended scotch
  • 30 ml of green ginger wine
  • Ice

The Process

The quality of Whisky Mac depends on the Scotch being used. Usually, a blended scotch is the best choice. The ginger wine which you use should be green ginger wine. On the cold days add more of whisky and less of wine in the concoction.

Alternatively, you can either use equal parts of whisky and wine or combine 60 ml of blended Scotch whisky and 30 ml of green ginger wine. Put these ingredients in an ice-filled glass and stir it lightly. You can serve this cocktail without ice as well.

Steer clear of smoke-flavored Scotch as the peat or smokiness does not combine well with ginger. The two strong flavors clash.