Old Grampian

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Cocktail History

The Old Grampian is a Scotch cocktail that was created by Isaac Shumway of Tosca Café in San Francisco, California and included in PUNCH Drink’s book Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails. This riff on an Old Fashioned calls for both a blended and a peated Islay Scotch and pairs them with rich honey along with 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:

Blended Scotch: This is one of the base spirits. We chose to use The Famous Grouse because it’s a great mixing Scotch with a bit of smoky flavor but still plenty of sweetness.

Islay Scotch: This is the other base spirit that adds more smoky flavor. We chose Laphroaig because it’s a great, peaty Islay Scotch with bold flavors.

Honey Syrup: This sweetens the cocktail and adds honey flavor. We made ours using Alex’s simple recipe.

Angostura Aromatic Bitters: This is a type of spirit infused with botanicals. They add more spice and complexity to the drink and tie the other flavors together.

Orange Bitters: This is a type of spirit infused with orange and botanicals. They add citrus flavor and spice to the drink for more complexity. We used Angostura Orange Bitters because they pair well with their aromatic bitters.

Orange Twist: This is the garnish. It adds a hint of citrus aroma.

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 this one to the short list of Scotch-based cocktails she would try again. 

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 certainly 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.

AuthorWinter DrinksPrep Time5 minsRating

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

Method
1

Add blended Scotch, Islay Scotch, honey syrup, Angostura 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 ice.

4

Stir for 10-15 seconds.

5

Garnish with orange peel.

Ingredients

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

Directions

Method
1

Add blended Scotch, Islay Scotch, honey syrup, Angostura 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 ice.

4

Stir for 10-15 seconds.

5

Garnish with orange peel.

Old Grampian

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

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

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

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

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

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