The Rob Roy is a classic variation on a Manhattan, that was also created in Manhattan in 1894, by a bartender at the Waldorf Astoria to pay homage to the opera of the same name based on the Scottish folk here Robert Roy MacGregor. Like the Manhattan, the Rob Roy has a near infinite number of flavour profiles depending on the ingredients, which are as follows:
- 2 oz Scotch Whisky
- .75 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 3 Dashes of Bitters
- Garnish with a Cherry or Orange Twist
So as you can see, there is a lot of room to play with it. Classic recipes call for Angostura bitters, but obviously that was likely due to the lack of name brand variety back in the day. Outside of that… the flavour profile is largely up to you, or what you request from the bartender.
Lowland and Islay scotches pair better with stronger and more bold vermouths, Highland, Campbeltown and Speyside malts blend well with more balanced vermouths and are far more sippable. Most aromatic bitters will play well in Rob Roy’s but depending on the other two ingredients you can easily enhance other flavours or add additional nuance depending on your tastes.
For my Rob Roy, I just went with what I had laying around, some Glenfiddich I got from a holiday gift exchange, Dolin sweet vermouth which I find to be fairly balanced and mild, some Bittercube Orange Bitters which I felt would add some nice citrus tones to the mix, and a Filthy cherry just dropped right in there.
If you’ve got some experience with Rob Roy’s, what’s your favourite combo of scotch, vermouth, and bitters? Leave ’em in the comments and maybe you’ll see it here in an upcoming Manhattan Monday.