Drambuie is a honey-
and herb-flavoured golden scotch whisky liqueur made from aged malt whisky,
heather honey and a secret blend of herbs and spices. The flavour suggests
saffron, honey, anise, nutmeg and herbs.
The alcohol by volume of this liqueur is 40% (80 proof).
The name Drambuie comes from the Scottish Gaelic phrase an
dram buidheach, meaning "the drink that satisfies". It was coined first at the Broadford Inn in 1893 where it was sold to patrons.
After the battle of Culloden (1746), Prince Charles Edward
Stuart fled to the Isle of Skye. There, he was given sanctuary by Captain John
MacKinnon of Clan MacKinnon. According to family legend, after staying with the
captain, the prince rewarded him with this prized drink recipe. (This version of
events is disputed by historians – some believe it to be a story concocted to
boost sales of the drink).
The first commercial distribution of Drambuie, in Edinburgh, was in 1910. Only
twelve cases were originally sold. In 1916, Drambuie became the first liqueur to
be allowed in the cellars of the House of Lords, and Drambuie began to ship
world-wide to stationed British soldiers.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Drambuie being bottled in Edinburgh, the
makers launched a new style of bottle and embarked on a television and print
advertising campaign in 2010.
Drambuie can be served "neat" (at
room temperature with no ice), on the rocks, or used as an ingredient in a mixed
drink, such as the rusty nail cocktail (see below). It can also be served as a flaming Drambuie.
The honey in Drambuie can cause the cap to seize to the bottle in as little as
twelve hours, making it almost impossible to reopen by hand. This is the likely
origin of the term "Drambuie strength", as it can seem as though the last person
to open the bottle closed it very tight.
A Rusty Nail is made by mixing Drambuie and
Scotch. Many prefer less
Drambuie to decrease the sweetness of the drink. Scotch has a fairly
biting and hot taste that is counterbalanced by the honeyed, herbal
overtones of the Drambuie. A Rusty Nail can be served in an
old-fashioned glass on the rocks, neat, or "up" in a stemmed glass.
It is most commonly served over ice. A Rusty Nail served without ice
is sometimes called a Straight Up Nail.
Rusty Nail Cocktail Ingredients
4.5 cl (9 parts) Scotch
2.5 cl (5 parts) Drambuie
and Serving Method
First fill a 16 oz glass with
crushed ice until it is overflowing. Pour in 5 parts
drambuie and 9 parts scotch. Stir gently, as to not
bruise the ice. Keep stirring until a thick frost
develops on the side of the glass. Garnish with a
lemon twist. Serve.