Our favorite Dewar’s cocktails for the discerning Scotch drinker.
Dewar’s blended Scotch comes in several incarnations—“White Label,” “12-year,” and “18-year” being among the most popular. As is true of most things spirited, it’s best to let price point determine whether you want to tip your Scotch into a cocktail shaker rather than enjoying it neat or on the rocks. And it’s fair to say that the cheaper Dewar’s options are best suited to heavy-handed cocktails with robust contrasting flavors such as blackberry or citrus. See below for a few ways to use the spirit in drinks right now.
Blood and Sand
Invented in London in the early 20th century, this sweet, citrus-y drink is somewhat reminiscent of a Rob Roy—and quite a way to get a hit of Vitamin C!
1 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice
¾ ounce sweet Vermouth
1 oz Dewar’s White Label
3/4 cherry heering
Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds, until very cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and serve neat, garnished with a cherry.
This is how the classic highball is made at Star Bar, the famous whiskey bar in Japan, elevated thanks to little touches such as mineral water (not sparkling) and a super-cold serving vessel.
1 ½ parts Dewar’s White Label
3 parts sparkling mineral water such as Mountain Valley
Lemon peel, to garnish
Take a chilled highball glass from the freezer, and fill with ice. Stir well, and strain off any excess water. Add Scotch, and top with sparkling water. Stir well, and garnish with lemon peel.
Whiskey and Coconut
Set aside your pre-conceived notions of Scotch being best paired with soda or gingerale; on the Caribbean coast of South America, it’s very popular spun with coconut water. (And yes, it works!)
1 ½ parts Dewar’s 12-Year
3 parts coconut water
Lime wedge, to garnish
Fill a highball glass with ice, add Scotch, and top with coconut water. Stir briefly, and garnish with lime.
This drink is a riff on one made by late London bartender Dick Bradsell, whose gin and blackberry “Bramble” cocktail became a much-loved drink among cocktail enthusiasts.
2 parts Dewar’s 12-Year
1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
⅔ part simple syrup
Blackberry or other fresh berry, to garnish
Combine Scotch, lemon juice, and sugar syrup in a rocks glass. Stir, fill with crushed ice, and drizzle a little blackberry liqueur on the ice. Garnish with berry, and serve.
Herbaceous and warming, this nigh-forgotten classic is ideal for chilly autumn and winter evenings.
2 parts Dewar’s 12-Year
1 part Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth
1 barspoon of Bénédictine
Orange peel, to garnish
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, and add ice. Stir well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange peel.
Sam Ross debuted this riff on a whiskey sour at revolutionary Manhattan speakeasy Milk & Honey in 2005, and it has gone on to be a favorite among craft bartenders nationwide. (Ross went on to open the excellent watering hole Attaboy, also in New York City.)
3⁄4 oz. Honey-Ginger Syrup (see below)
2 oz. blended Scotch, such as Dewar’s 12-Year
3⁄4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 1⁄2 oz. Islay single-malt Scotch
Candied ginger, to garnish (optional)
Make 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.
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.