Trust us: here’s a blended Scotch that’s definitely worth trying.

By Alex Van Buren
October 25, 2016
Courtesy of Black Dog

Even if you don’t have the smoothest, most expensive single malt Scotch kicking around your liquor cabinet, don't be concerned. You can put the blended stuff to good—even great—use. Black Dog is one of several blended Scotch whiskies that is made in Scotland. It comes in two varieties, Black Reserve and Triple Gold Reserve, the latter of which is matured in Oloroso sherry casks. Both versions of the spirit marry well with a wide range of ingredients and flavor profiles—lemon juice, ginger ale, Aperol, even mango—as long as you use it smartly. Read on for how bartenders have spun this surprisingly flexible whiskey into gold.

Pay the Ghost

FIG, Charleston, SC

Notes of caraway, wine, slightly bitter Campari, and citrus awaken this strong, super-flavorful drink from one of Charleston’s best restaurants.

2 oz Black Dog Scotch

.5 oz Madeira wine, preferably “Charleston” from Rare Wine Co.

.5 oz Aperol

.25 oz Linie Aquavit

Orange twist, for garnish

Combine all spirits in a mixing glass with ice. Stir, strain, and serve neat in an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with orange twist.


Trick Dog, San Francisco, CA

Reminiscent of a tiki drink in its fruit-forward taste, this marriage of smoky Scotch and sweet mango—balanced with lemon juice and a crack of fresh pepper—is well-done and lei-worthy.

2 oz Black Dog Scotch

.25 oz mango puree

.5 oz rich simple syrup (combine 2 parts sugar to 1 part water until sugar dissolves)

.75 oz fresh lemon juice

Fresh pepper (one twist)

Place all ingredients in a metal cocktail shaker. Add ice. Mix until shaker feels cold. Strain into a small glass, such as a Nick and Nora glass, and serve neat.


Sam Ross, Attaboy, New York, NY

Originally debuted at groundbreaking Manhattan speakeasy Milk & Honey in 2005, Sam Ross’s invention has become a favorite among craft bartenders nationwide. Ross brought this recipe with him when he opened the excellent watering hole, Attaboy.

.75 oz Honey-Ginger Syrup (see below)

2 oz Black Dog

.75 oz fresh lemon juice

1.5 oz Islay single malt Scotch, such as Laphroaig 10-Year

Candied ginger, to garnish (optional)

To make the honey-ginger syrup, combine honey, ginger, and 1 cup water in a 2-quart saucepan over high heat; boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Chill overnight, then strain, discarding solids.

To make the cocktail, combine blended Scotch, lemon juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice; shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass with one large ice cube. Top with single-malt Scotch and garnish with candied ginger, if desired.

Falling Leaves

Travis Owens, Curio at Harvest, Columbus, OH

Reminiscent of a Rob Roy, with a nutty, smoky, herbaceous quality leavened by a splash of aperol, this strong drink is intended for slow sipping and sweater weather.

.5 oz Punt e Mes vermouth

.5 oz Aperol

.33 oz nocino (an Italian walnut liqueur), preferably Watershed

1.75 oz Black Dog

.25 oz single-malt Scotch, preferably a peaty one from Islay

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass three-quarters filled with ice. Stir until cold, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass, and serve neat.


Ginger-and-Jameson devotees might want to take a break from the usual to order a Presbyterian, which made its first cameo on the American bar scene at the start of the 20th-century. Pro tip: The spicier the ginger ale, the more bracing the drink.

2 oz Black Dog

2 to 4 oz ginger ale

Club soda (optional)

Pour Scotch into a tumbler or Collins glass, add two or three ice cubes, and top with ginger ale. If you prefer a less sweet or less gingery drink, try half ginger ale and half club soda.