Old Grampian

This post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure policy here.

Get Our Recipes Sent To Your Inbox
Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.

Cocktail History

The Old Grampian is a modern cocktail that was created by Isaac Shumway at Tosca Café in San Francisco, California. The recipe is a simple variation of an Old Fashioned that calls for a base of both blended and peated Islay Scotch, and it pairs them with rich honey and aromatic bitters to make a complex sipper that is meant to be enjoyed slowly.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Scotch: This is a type of whiskey made in Scotland with malt or grain, spices, alcohol, and water. We used The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky because its smoky and sweet flavor works well in cocktails. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Escape Mocktails Green Label Single Malt Whiskey Non-Alcoholic Alternative in place of the whisky.

Islay Scotch: This is a type of of Scotch whisky made in southern Scotland with with spices, alcohol, water, and malt or grain that has been dried with peat fires. We used Laphroig 10 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky because it has a distinct smoky flavor. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Escape Wise Green Label Single Malt Whiskey Non-Alcoholic Alternative in place of the whisky.

Honey Syrup: This is a sweetener made with honey and water. We made ours at home using Alex’s simple recipe.

Aromatic Bitters: This is a food product made with botanicals, herbs, and alcohol. We used Angostura Aromatic Bitters. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the aromatic bitters.

Orange Bitters: This is a food product made with oranges, botanicals, herbs, and alcohol. We used Angostura Orange Bitters. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic Orange Bitters in place of the orange bitters.

Orange Twist: This is is the peel of an orange that has been twisted into a corkscrew shape.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Mixing Glass: This is used to hold the ingredients while they’re being stirred. We used the Viski 17 oz Cocktail Mixing Glass.

Bar Spoon: This is used to stir ingredients. We used the Barfly Stainless Steel Teardrop Bar Spoon.

Julep Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is stirred. We used the A Bar Above Julep Strainer.

Peeler: This is used to remove the garnish peel from the citrus. We used the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set.

Tasting Notes

The Old Grampian has a citrus aroma that is complemented by earthy smoke and a honey-rich flavor that features notes of chocolate, nut, and oak, all of which are chased down by a lingering but not aggressive smokiness.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Unlike the Saigon Lady, our opinions were much more aligned on this Scotch drink. Alex did expect it to be stronger and smokier than it was but loved its smoothness. And thanks to the balance offered by the sweet ingredients, Kendall added the Old Grampian to the short list of Scotch-based cocktails she would try again. 

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I knew from the list of ingredients that I would like this, and as normal when I think that going in, I liked it even more than I expected. The Laphroaig was enough to give the drink a definite peatiness, but it ended up being far less aggressive than I expected. The honey was also a natural bedfellow to the Scotch, and the two played off each other extremely well, creating an earthy Old Fashioned riff that I am certain I’ll come back to again and again.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“We finally found another drink that might make me like Scotch some day! As of right now, Scotch lands in the same arena as mezcal for me—too much like the taste of smoke or rubber. But in this cocktail, it’s quite palatable thanks to the sweet notes. I might even make it through an entire glass of this one.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails by the editors of PUNCH.

Sale
Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails
Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails
Hardcover Book; Editors of PUNCH (Author); English (Publication Language); 160 Pages – 10/02/2018 (Publication Date) – Ten Speed Press (Publisher)
$14.58 Amazon Prime

AuthorWinter Drinks

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 1 ½ oz Blended Scotch
 ½ oz Islay Scotch
 2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
 1 dash Orange Bitters
 1 Orange Peel

Method
1

Add blended Scotch, Islay Scotch, honey syrup, aromatic bitters, and orange bitters to a lowball glass.

2

Squeeze orange peel over top of the glass and rub around the inside.

3

Add cracked ice.

4

Stir for 10-15 seconds.

5

Garnish with orange peel.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 ½ oz Blended Scotch
 ½ oz Islay Scotch
 2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
 1 dash Orange Bitters
 1 Orange Peel

Directions

Method
1

Add blended Scotch, Islay Scotch, honey syrup, aromatic bitters, and orange bitters to a lowball glass.

2

Squeeze orange peel over top of the glass and rub around the inside.

3

Add cracked ice.

4

Stir for 10-15 seconds.

5

Garnish with orange peel.

Old Grampian

Make It a Mocktail: Use Escape Mocktails Green Label Single Malt Whiskey Non-Alcoholic Alternative in place of the whisky, All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the aromatic bitters, and All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic Orange Bitters in place of the orange bitters to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Shop Glassware & Tools

Find collections of cocktail glassware and bartending tools we recommend for your home bar in our Amazon shop.

More Scotch Cocktails

If you like this Scotch-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Flying Scotsman Cocktail Recipe

Flying Scotsman: A Scotch cocktail made with sweet vermouth, simple syrup, Angostura aromatic bitters, orange zest, and an orange twist

Penicillin Cocktail Recipe

Penicillin: A Scotch cocktail made with lemon juice, honey syrup, ginger syrup, and candied ginger

Saigon Lady Cocktail Recipe

Saigon Lady: A Scotch and brandy cocktail made with grenadine, lemon juice, egg white, and ground cinnamon

Flannel Shirt Cocktail Recipe

Flannel Shirt: A Scotch cocktail made with apple cider, Amaro Averna, lemon juice, simple syrup, allspice dram, Angostura aromatic bitters, and an orange peel

This post contains affiliate links, meaning we make a small commission each time you purchase a product using our links. Product images sourced from Amazon Product Advertising API. Amazon affiliate links last updated on 2024-06-16.

Leave a comment