An image showcasing a vintage cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice, as a rusty nail cocktail pours out

Rusty Nail Cocktail Recipe

Are you seeking a smooth and sophisticated cocktail to add to your repertoire? The timeless Rusty Nail is the perfect pick.

This classic libation combines the warmth of Scotch whisky with the sweet, herbal notes of Drambuie for a truly delightful sip. Mixing up this timeless tipple is easy – just a few simple steps and you’ll be able to impress your guests.

So get your shaker, ice, and ingredients ready, because it’s time to shake things up with a Rusty Nail cocktail.


Diving into the origins of the Rusty Nail cocktail, it’s said to have been created by a bartender named Donn Beach, also known as Don the Beachcomber. Donn Beach was a legendary figure in the world of mixology, credited with inventing many famous cocktails.

The Rusty Nail is made by combining Scotch whisky and Drambuie, a sweet and herbal liqueur. Though the exact origin story of the Rusty Nail is uncertain, its popularity is said to have grown in the 1960s and 1970s.

Today, it’s still a beloved and timeless cocktail enjoyed by many.

Ingredients for Rusty Nail Cocktail

  • 2 parts Scotch whisky
  • 1 part Drambuie
  • 1 lemon twist (for garnish)


Chill your glassware in the freezer for a refreshing drink. Once it’s chilled, it’s time to mix the perfect blend of flavors. Here’s how:

Fill the chilled glass with ice cubes. Pour 1.5 ounces of Scotch whisky into the glass. Add 0.75 ounces of Drambuie liqueur.

Gently stir the mixture with a cocktail spoon to combine the ingredients.

The Rusty Nail is traditionally served straight up, without any additional garnishes. However, you can garnish the cocktail with a lemon twist or a small piece of orange peel for a touch of citrus aroma.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the smooth and sophisticated taste of a Rusty Nail cocktail. Cheers!

Making Tips

For a tastier Rusty Nail cocktail, make sure to use top-notch Scotch whisky and fresh Drambuie liqueur. These ingredients are essential for achieving its unique flavor profile. High-quality ingredients will improve the taste and enjoyment of your concoction.

Here are some tips to make sure your Rusty Nail is nothing short of perfect:

  1. Use a highball glass: This glass type’s tall and slender shape helps retain the drink’s taste and aromas.

  2. Don’t skimp on the ice: Fill your glass generously with ice cubes to keep your cocktail cold and refreshing.

  3. Stir gently: Stir the cocktail using a bar spoon to blend the ingredients without diluting it too quickly.

  4. Garnish with a lemon twist: This not only enhances the visual appeal but also adds a hint of citrus aroma to the cocktail.

For a great Rusty Nail, rely on quality ingredients and pay attention to the details. Enjoy!

Final Thoughts

To finish up, keep in mind that the essence of a great Rusty Nail cocktail relies on the quality of your ingredients and the attention you give to making it.

Opt for a good Scotch whisky and a premium Drambuie liqueur – these two elements will make or break the flavor of the drink.

Make sure to measure your ingredients precisely to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.

Give the cocktail a good stir, allowing the flavors to mingle, and serve it over ice in a chilled glass.

Don’t forget to garnish the Rusty Nail with a lemon twist to add a hint of zest.

Enjoy your perfectly crafted Rusty Nail cocktail!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Rusty Nail Cocktail Be Made Without Scotch Whisky?

Yes, it is possible to make a Rusty Nail cocktail without scotch whisky. Nevertheless, scotch whisky is a key element in this traditional drink, so substituting it with another liquor will change the flavor.

What Is the Best Type of Scotch Whisky to Use for a Rusty Nail Cocktail?

The best scotch whisky to use for a Rusty Nail cocktail is a single malt. This type of whisky adds a rich and complex flavor, perfectly balancing the sweetness of the Drambuie.

Can the Rusty Nail Cocktail Be Garnished With Anything Other Than a Lemon Twist?

You can absolutely garnish your Rusty Nail cocktail with something other than a lemon twist. Get inventive and experiment with orange zest, a cherry, or even a sprig of rosemary for an interesting variation!

Are There Any Variations of the Rusty Nail Cocktail That Are Worth Trying?

Yes, there are variations of the Rusty Nail cocktail that are worth exploring. Experiment by substituting different types of whiskey or adding a splash of another liqueur for a unique flavor. Have fun and enjoy!

How Strong Is the Rusty Nail Cocktail Compared to Other Classic Cocktails?

The Rusty Nail cocktail is renowned for its strong flavor and potency. It is a robust and bold drinking experience that can pack quite a punch compared to other classic cocktails. Be prepared for a memorable experience.

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