Bobby Burns Cocktail Recipe

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Bobby Burns Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:30

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Bobby Burns cocktail, named after the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns, is a classic cocktail that dates back to the early 20th century. It's a warming, rich, and complex drink that's perfect for those who appreciate a good Scotch whisky.

  • The cocktail was first mentioned in Harry Craddock's 'The Savoy Cocktail Book' in 1930.
  • It's traditionally enjoyed on Burns Night, a Scottish celebration of Robert Burns' life and poetry, which takes place on January 25th.

How Bobby Burns Tastes?

The Bobby Burns cocktail is a robust, full-bodied drink with a rich sweetness from the vermouth and a hint of herbal complexity from the Benedictine. The Scotch whisky provides a smoky, malty backbone that's both warming and comforting.

Interesting facts about Bobby Burns

  • The Bobby Burns cocktail is often garnished with a lemon twist, but some variations use a cherry instead.
  • Despite its Scottish origins, the cocktail has become popular worldwide, particularly in the United States.
  • The Bobby Burns is sometimes referred to as a 'Rob Roy with a twist' due to its similar ingredient profile.


Scotch Whisky

The backbone of the Bobby Burns, Scotch whisky contributes a smoky, malty character that is unmistakably robust. Opting for 2oz strikes a balance, enough to assert its presence without overpowering the other elements. Less whisky would make the cocktail too mild, more could be overwhelming. Alternatives: Using an Irish whiskey instead would lend a softer, smoother profile to your cocktail.

Alex Green

Sweet Vermouth

Sweet vermouth brings a touch of sweetness, herbaceous complexity, and balances the powerful whisky. Using 1oz integrates seamlessly without tipping the cocktail into cloying territory. Going lower might lose the herbal bouquet; more could overshadow the whisky's prominence. Alternatives: A dry vermouth could be used for a less sweet, more botanical variant.

Emma Rose


At just 1tsp, Benedictine provides depth with its honeyed, herbal notes without becoming a scene-stealer. This liqueur rounds out the cocktail, unifying the whisky and vermouth. Omit it, and you'll miss an essential layer. Alternatives: You could experiment with other herbal liqueurs, like Chartreuse, but expect a sharper, more pronounced herbal kick.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Twist

The lemon twist is the finishing touch. Its essential oils add a fresh, citrusy aroma enhancing the cocktail's overall appeal. Forget the twist, and the drink loses that bright, fragrant edge. No true alternative here; a lemon twist is irreplaceable for the freshness it adds.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Bobby Burns Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add the Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, and Benedictine.
  3. Stir until well chilled.
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Pro Tips

  • Use a high-quality Scotch whisky for the best flavor.
  • Stir the cocktail gently to avoid diluting it too much.
  • Chill your glass before serving for the best experience.

Perfect Pairings

Hors d'Oeuvres

  • Smoked Salmon Canapés: The smoky flavors of the salmon pair elegantly with the peaty notes of Scotch whisky.
  • Blue Cheese: The pungency of blue cheese contrasts beautifully with the sweet vermouth and honeyed notes of Benedictine.

Main Courses

  • Roasted Duck Breast: The gamey, rich flavors of duck complement the complexity and robustness of the Bobby Burns cocktail.
  • Grilled Steak with Peppercorn Sauce: A hearty steak with a pepper sauce aligns well with the woody and spicy undertones of the whisky-based drink.


  • Dark Chocolate Mousse: Chocolate and Scotch are a classic pair; the bittersweet notes highlight the herbal vermouth and Benedictine layers.
  • Shortbread Cookies: A nod to the Scottish origin of the drink, the buttery cookies are subtly enhanced by the cocktail's sweet and herbal characteristics.


  • Aged Cheddar: The sharp and nutty flavors of an aged cheddar can stand up to the Bobby Burns's assertive taste profile.

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What you could change in Bobby Burns

  • Scotch whisky: Can be replaced with bourbon or rye whiskey.
  • Sweet vermouth: Can be replaced with dry vermouth for a less sweet cocktail.
  • Benedictine: Can be replaced with Drambuie or Chartreuse.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

The Rusty Burns

  • Substitute the Scotch whisky with a rich, peated Isle whisky.
  • Add a drop or two of orange bitters.
  • Garnish with a burnt orange twist. This twist intensifies the smoky profile and introduces a bittersweet citrus note, creating a darker, more mysterious version of the original Bobby Burns.

The Highland Herbalist

  • Use a honey-infused whisky instead of regular Scotch.
  • Increase Benedictine to 1/2oz and remove sweet vermouth.
  • Add a dash of Angostura bitters. This variant is sweeter and more herbal-forward, perfect for those who prefer their cocktails with a pronounced honey note and less bitterness.

The Benedict Burns

  • Keep the original Scotch whisky and sweet vermouth.
  • Boost the Benedictine to 1/4oz for more herbal depth.
  • Stir in a bar spoon of Fernet-Branca to introduce a minty complexity. A play on the medicinal qualities of both Benedictine and Fernet, this twist adds an invigorating layer that fans of botanical spirits will enjoy.

In case you forgot basics how to make Bobby Burns

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Bobby Burns

Why is this cocktail named 'Bobby Burns'?

The cocktail is named after the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns, who is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland.

What type of Scotch whisky is best for this cocktail?

This largely depends on personal preference, but generally a smooth and slightly smoky Scotch works well.

Can I drink Bobby Burns as an aperitif or digestif?

Yes, this cocktail can work both as an aperitif before a meal, and as a digestif afterwards.

Is this cocktail sweet or dry?

The Bobby Burns cocktail has a balance of both sweet and dry flavors. The Scotch whisky gives it a dry quality while the sweet vermouth and Benedictine add sweet herbal notes.

How should I store leftover Benedictine?

Benedictine can be stored in a cool, dark place, like a cabinet. Once opened, it should be consumed within six months for maximum flavor.

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