Highland Fling Cocktail Recipe

Jump to Recipe ⬇️

Highland Fling Nutrition Facts






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 Highland Fling cocktail is a classic Scottish drink that dates back to the early 1900s. It is said to have been created in honor of the traditional Scottish dance, the Highland Fling. This dance is characterized by its lively and energetic movements, which are reflected in the bold flavors of the cocktail. The Highland Fling is a popular choice among whisky enthusiasts and those who appreciate the rich history of Scottish culture.

  • Origin: Early 1900s
  • Inspired by the traditional Scottish dance, the Highland Fling
  • Popular among whisky enthusiasts and fans of Scottish culture

How Highland Fling Tastes?

The Highland Fling cocktail is a bold, robust, and slightly sweet drink with a hint of citrus. The smoky and rich flavors of the Scotch whisky are balanced by the sweetness of the Drambuie and the tartness of the lemon juice, creating a complex and satisfying taste experience.

Interesting facts about Highland Fling

  • The name 'Highland Fling' comes from a traditional Scottish dance
  • The cocktail is typically made with Scotch whisky, which is known for its smoky and rich flavors
  • The Highland Fling is sometimes referred to as a 'Scotch Sour' due to its combination of whisky and citrus


Scotch Whisky

The soul of the drink. It gives depth, a smoky note, and a little hint of mystery. Too little and the cocktail lacks its backbone; too much and it bullies the other flavors.

Emma Rose


A liqueur that's sweet with a touch of herb and spice—it's the Robin to our Scotch Batman. Skipping it? The cocktail loses its signature sweetness and rounded herbal profile.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice

Provides a fresh, citrusy zing; it's like a splash of sunshine. Leaving it out would mean missing the essential bright note that balances the sweetness of Drambuie.

Mary Mitkina

Angostura Bitters

Just a couple of dashes bring a complex botanical boost—if it’s too much, it becomes a bully in the playground of flavors.

Emma Rose


Keeps everything cool and dilutes the drink slightly, which helps mellow the flavors. A cocktail sauna without it!

Alex Green

Lemon Twist

Aromatic oils give a fragrant nose and pretty up the drink. It's the cocktail's bow tie—dapper but functional.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Highland Fling Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  2. Add the Scotch whisky, Drambuie, lemon juice, and Angostura bitters
  3. Shake well until chilled
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist

Pro Tips

  • Use quality Scotch whisky for the best flavor.
  • Shake well to ensure all ingredients are well mixed.
  • Chill the glass before pouring the cocktail to keep it cool longer.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese Plates: A classic cheese platter with strong cheese like blue cheese or aged cheddar pairs well with the bold flavors of the cocktail.
  • Smoked Salmon: The smokiness of the salmon complements the whisky.
  • Roast Beef Sliders: Again, the rich meat works well with the robustness of the cocktail.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Steak: The earthy flavor of grilled steak harmonizes with the peaty notes in the Scotch whisky.
  • Shepherd's Pie: A comfort food that can stand up to the complexity of the Highland Fling.


  • Lemon Tart: The tartness will resonate with the lemon juice component of the cocktail.
  • Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate's bitterness and the sweetness of Drambuie are a perfect match.

🍹 Discover the Top 50 All-Time Recipes! 🍹

Enter your email, and we'll send the exclusive list straight to your inbox.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

What you could change in Highland Fling

  • Scotch whisky: Can be replaced with any other type of whisky, but it will change the flavor.
  • Drambuie: Can be replaced with any other honey and herb flavored liqueur.
  • Lemon juice: Can be replaced with lime juice for a different citrus twist.

Explore all drinks starting with H here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Highland Fling

  • Ingredients: Same as the original but with a peated Scotch.
  • Recipe: Swap out the usual Scotch for a peated one and follow the original recipe. The peated Scotch will give an intense smokiness, turning up the drama.

Highland Citrus Burst

  • Ingredients: Add an extra 0.5oz of lemon juice and a splash of orange bitters.
  • Recipe: Increase the lemon juice and add a splash of orange bitters for a sunnier profile. It'll be like a lemon grove in the Highlands, brighter and a bit less sweet.

Herbal Highland

  • Ingredients: Add a sprig of fresh thyme and a dash of herbal liqueur.
  • Recipe: Muddle the thyme in the shaker before adding the rest of the ingredients, and add a dash of your favorite herbal liqueur. It's like the Highlander took a detour through an herb garden—the drink gets a green, earthy punch.

In case you forgot basics how to make Highland Fling

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

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

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

Find the cocktail you'd love!

If you want to drink something else - you can use our AI-augmented search to find the best cocktail for you!
Completely free!

Frequently Asked Questions on Highland Fling

What is the best time to enjoy Highland Fling cocktail?

While the Highland Fling can be enjoyed at any time, it is typically served as an afternoon or evening drink.

Is Highland Fling a good cocktail for beginners to make?

Yes, the Highland Fling cocktail is relatively simple to make, making it an excellent choice for beginners.

What can I pair with Highland Fling cocktail?

Highland Fling cocktail pairs well with rich, hearty foods like steak or lamb.

Can I batch make the Highland Fling cocktail?

Yes, you can. However, it's recommended to add the lemon juice and ice just before serving to preserve the fresh flavor.

How long does it take to make a Highland Fling cocktail?

It typically takes around 5 minutes to make a single Highland Fling cocktail, depending on your proficiency with the cocktail shaker.

What is Drambuie made from?

Drambuie is a golden-coloured liqueur made from Scotch whisky, honey, herbs, and spices.

More similar recipes to Highland Fling!

Explore new cocktails you'd love!

Please rate this recipe