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Old Fashioned Cocktails

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When was the Rusty Nall Invented

The Rusty Nail is a cocktail made by mixing Scotch whisky and Drambuie, a sweet herbal liqueur, and is typically served on the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass. The precise origins of the Rusty Nail are unclear, but it is believed to have been created in the 1950s or 1960s.

One popular story attributes the creation of the Rusty Nail to a bartender at the 21 Club in New York City, who invented it for a customer who wanted a new way to enjoy his Scotch. Another story suggests that the cocktail was popularized by the Rat Pack, a group of entertainers that included Frank Sinatra, who were known for drinking Rusty Nails.

Regardless of its origins, the Rusty Nail remains a popular cocktail today and is often enjoyed as a nightcap or after-dinner drink.

What You Need

  • scotch whiskey
  • drambuie liqueur
  • ice cube
  • lemon peel
  • red cherry

How to Make a Rusty Nall

  • Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  • Add Scotch whisky and Drambuie to the mixing glass.
  • Stir the mixture with a stirring spoon for about 30 seconds or until the ingredients are well combined and the mixture is chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into an Old Fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.
  • Optionally, garnish with a lemon twist by twisting a piece of lemon peel over the drink to release the oils, then dropping it into the glass.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Note: You can adjust the amount of Drambuie to suit your taste preferences. Some people prefer a stronger whisky flavor and use less Drambuie, while others prefer a sweeter drink and use more Drambuie.

Tip For Making a Rusty Nall

  • Choose your Scotch whisky wisely: The flavor of the whisky you choose will greatly impact the overall taste of your cocktail. A good-quality Scotch with a rich, smoky flavor will pair well with the sweetness of the Drambuie.
  • Use fresh ice: Fresh ice is important for keeping your drink cold and ensuring that it doesn’t get watered down too quickly. Avoid using old or melting ice.
  • Stir the cocktail properly: Stirring the cocktail well will help to ensure that the flavors are well combined and the drink is chilled. Be sure to stir for at least 30 seconds or until the mixing glass is very cold to the touch.
  • Experiment with the Drambuie ratio: As mentioned earlier, the amount of Drambuie used can be adjusted to suit your taste. Start with the 1:4 ratio (2 oz Scotch, 1/2 oz Drambuie) and adjust as needed.
  • Consider a lemon twist: A lemon twist can add a nice touch of freshness to your Rusty Nail. Be sure to twist the lemon peel over the drink to release the oils and enhance the flavor.

Enjoy your Rusty Nail and feel free to experiment with different variations to find your perfect blend!

Frequently asked questions

What type of Scotch whisky should I use for a Rusty Nail?

You can use any type of Scotch whisky that you prefer, but a richer, smokier Scotch will typically pair well with the sweetness of the Drambuie.

What is Drambuie?

Drambuie is a sweet, golden-colored liqueur made from a blend of aged Scotch whisky, heather honey, herbs, and spices. It has a unique flavor that adds a nice complexity to the Rusty Nail cocktail.

Can I make a Rusty Nail without ice?

While it’s not recommended, you could technically make a Rusty Nail without ice. However, the cocktail is typically served on the rocks to keep it cold and prevent it from becoming too diluted.

Can I make a Rusty Nail with a different type of liqueur?

While the unique flavor of Drambuie is what makes a Rusty Nail cocktail so special, you could experiment with other sweet liqueurs if you prefer. However, it’s important to note that this may significantly change the flavor of the cocktail.

Old Fashioned Cocktails

Rusty Nall

Yield: 1 cockktail
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

Rusty Nail Cocktail, also known as "Rusty Nail" or "Rusty Nail". It is a classical style cocktail with Scotch as the base, just like the Godfather.
Although these cocktails are simple, but the taste is mostly sweet, mature and fragrant! In this drink, the traditional ratio of Drambuie to whisky is 1:1, which is indeed a bit sweet for the modern taste! Nowadays, the ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 is reasonable!


  • 1½ oz scotch whiskey
  • ¾ oz drambuie liqueur
  • 1 ice cube
  • 1 slice of lemon peel
  • 1 red cherry


Add ice cubes to a old fashion glass, stir to cool it down, strain the water and pour in the whiskey and drambuie, stir gently to mix and serve, garnish with lemon peel and red cherries.


You can adjust the amount of Drambuie to suit your taste preferences. Some people prefer a stronger whisky flavor and use less Drambuie, while others prefer a sweeter drink and use more Drambuie.

Did you make this recipe?

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About Robin Lee

Robin is author, photographer, and cocktail enthusiast. He has a passion for life, love of mixology, and enjoys exploring the great outdoors. Robin’s cocktails are both visually stunning and bursting with flavor. He’s always pushing the boundaries of mixology and loves to experiment with unique ingredients and techniques. With Robin’s guidance, you can learn the art of mixology and create cocktails that are sure to impress.

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