Most straightforwardly, the Rob Roy is a Scotch-lover’s version of the Manhattan, with the simple substitution of Scotch for Rye. We chose to do it with a peaty scotch (Laga 16) rather than the more common blended or highland scotch, and loved the results.
The cocktail was created originally for the premier of an 1984 operetta loosely based on a Scottish folk hero, Robert Roy MacGregor. Although the operetta is largely forgotten (the 1995 feature film starring Liam Neeson as Rob Roy is far more well-known), the drink lives on.
The Clan MacGregor has produced several famous names, including modern-day Conor McGregor (hailing from the Irish side) of UFC fame. Back in the late 1600s to early 1700s, Robert Roy MacGregor was an Highland outlaw, who is romanticized as a Scottish Robin Hood but was more so a man bent on getting revenge against the Duke of Montrose. The story goes that the Duke had lent him money to purchase a large herd of cattle, but Rob Roy’s head herder sold the cattle and ran off with the money, rendering Rob Roy unable to pay. The Duke outlawed Rob Roy, evicted his family, burned down his house, and seized his lands. In response, Rob Roy waged a personal war against the Duke through cattle-rustling, plundering, and banditry of Montrose’s servants.
He was captured several times (escaping a few times) before finally being successfully imprisoned in London where he was pardoned. By all accounts, in his late age he turned to religion and died peacefully at home.
- 2 oz Lagavulin 16
- 1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
- 2 dashes 1821 Earl Gray Bitters
- Add all ingredients to a mixing tin, stir and strain.