A cocktail lover’s guide to separatist Europe - Scotland

With Scotland on the verge of leaving the UK, it’s perhaps time for a reminder of the scores of separatist movements around Europe. From Spain to the Baltics there remain both major and minor political parties dedicated to the independence of their regions. 

Most often, the movements behind these parties depend on regional customs, dialects and culture, including food and drink. With Europe carefully watching Thursday’s Scottish referendum, we thought we’d look at the beverages that made their name in corners of Europe seeking sovereignty.

And to get started, why not explore the cocktails of Scotland?


Be sure to check out the rest of our separatist Europe cocktails series:


the flying scotsman

The term has been employed for a number of phenomena, including the London to Edinburgh express train that made its first trip in 1862 and a dish of chicken stuffed with Scottish haggis. But the Flying Scotsman as a cocktail calls on the Scottishiest of all Scottish drinks, whisky.

  • 2oz Scotch Malt Whisky
  • 2oz sweet Vermouth
  • 1 dash sugar syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Mix ingredients in an ice filled cocktail glass and stir.


the rusty nail

Sweet, sweet Drambuie. And it is sweet! The whisky and honey concoction mixed with straight Scotch makes this signature drinks one of the most recognizable cocktails in the world no thanks to those rascals in the Rat Pack which helped to popularize the drink in the 1960s.

  • 2oz Scotch whisky
  • 1/2oz Drambuie

Pour ingredients over ice in an Old Fashioned glass and stir


rob roy

We may be writing about Scottish cocktails, but the Rob Roy was created in Manhattan in 1894 at the famed Waldorf Astoria hotel. Still, it’s about as Scottish as anything from America can get. Named after an operetta about the Scottish folk hero Robert Roy MacGregor that was premiering in New York at the time, the Rob Roy is essentially a Manhattan that switches out bourbon for Scotch. Maybe Liam Neeson downed some off-screen on the set of the 1995 film, Rob Roy.

  • 2oz Scotch whisky
  • 3/4oz sweet vermouth
  • a dash of bitters

Stir on ice in a mixing glass, strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a Maraschino cherry


bobby burns

The poet Burns would fit right in to today’s Scottish “Yes” vote. He was not a fan of the British taxes on Scotch whisky, a nectar he felt as much a part of Scotland as its many lochs.

O Whisky! soul o’ plays and pranks!
Accept a bardie’s gratfu’ thanks!
When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks
Are my poor verses!
Thous comes - they rattle in their ranks
At ither’s arses!
  • 2oz blended Scotch whisky
  • 1oz Italian vermouth
  • 1 dash bitters
  • 2 dashes Benedictine


whiskey mac green ginger wine

A Colonel Macdonald is said to have first mixed this concoction with a strictly English invention, green ginger wine. Ginger wine dates back to London in 1740 but Colonel Mac didn’t mix it with Scotch whisky until the British Raj in India which began in the mid-1800s.

  • 1 1/2oz Scotch whisky
  • 1oz green ginger win
  • optional: add hot water to make a drink similar to a Hot Toddy

Pour ingredients into a wine goblet and stir slowly.