Rusty Nail Cocktail Recipe

The origin of the name of the Rusty Nail cocktail is unknown, but it can’t be denied that it is pretty catchy. Made up of two simple ingredients, this cocktail started out as an obscure recipe, and after undergoing a number of transformations, has grown into a popular favourite.

The cocktail gets its characteristic taste from a magic Scottish ingredient – the scotch-based liqueur Drambuie. With its name derived from the Gaelic phrase “dram buidheach” (meaning “a drink that satisfies”), Drambuie is made up of honey, herbs and scotch. This brings us to the second ingredient of the drink – aged scotch. Combined, both ingredients produce a cocktail that is sweet and subtle, with the honey flavours in the Drambuie and the ice in the drink blunting any sharp edges of alcohol that the cocktail might have.

Preparation Time: 4 minutes
Serving Size:
Serves 2 persons
Utensils: Cocktail shaker/electric blender, cocktail glass (preferably a bucket glass), strainer

– 1 1/2 oz scotch
– 3/4 oz Drambuie
– Crushed ice
– Lemon twists for garnish


  • 1

    The Rusty Nail cocktail is best prepared in a cocktail shaker, but if you do not have one readily available, you can also use an electric blender. The only factor that needs to be kept in mind when using an electric blender is that the drink should be blended on low speed, and for a maximum of 8 seconds.

  • 2

    Begin by adding a small amount of crushed ice to the cocktail shaker/electric blender – it is best to fill around a quarter of it with crushed ice. Then, start pouring in the ingredients for the drink, one at a time. Add the 1 1/2 oz of scotch to the cocktail shaker/electric blender, and follow it up by pouring in 3/4 oz of Drambuie.

  • 3

    Now, grasp the cocktail shaker firmly, and shake it vigorously for around15 seconds, until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended, and the ice has had sufficient time to cool the contents of the cocktail shaker. If you are using an electric blender instead, simply pulse it for around 8 seconds on low speed, to ensure that all the ingredients are mixed together.

  • 4

    Then, take two cocktail glasses (bucket glasses are classic, and fitting for a drink of this sort), hold a strainer over them, and pour in the drink, leaving around an inch and a half of space at the top of the glass. Finally, garnish the drinks with twists of lemon zest, and serve chilled.

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