Highway Robbery: Up, or on the Rocks?

The Rob Roy is the black sheep of the illustrious martini family. It is simply a Manhattan made with scotch, instead of bourbon. However, unlike the Manhattan, it’s namesake can be traced back to a a single and specific entity. This drink is named after an 18th century Scottish outlaw.

Born into a family of bandits in 1671 Robert “Roy” MacGregor grew up cattle rustling. As he grew older he adopted the moniker “Roy” because it means “red” in Gaelic, and by all accounts he was a big ol’ ginger. In addition to overseeing several roving bands of cattle thieves, MacGregor operated a protection racket that would charge nearby farms 5% of their annual rent to guarantee that their cattle would not be stolen.

When a business deal with the Duke Montrose went sour, MacGregor absconded with some of the duke’s assets, and then proceeded to sneakily raid Montrose’s property over the next eight years. Eventually he settled down, and even received a full pardon from the king.

In honor of this scotch cocktail in honor of this Scottish highwayman, here are another pair scotch recipes.

Rusty Nail:

  • 1.0 oz. blended Scotch
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1 dash absinthe
  • 1 dash pomegranate grenadine
  1. Stir all ingredients pour straight up into a coupe glass

 

Hair of the Wolf:

  • 1.5 oz. Scotch
  • 0.5 oz. Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 6.0 oz. stout
  1. Shake Scotch, Kahlua, and Grand Marnier and pour into empty rocks glass.
  2. Top with stout
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Madeira: the Drink of Nationmakers

Violet Madeira:

  1. Shake Madeira and Violet Jelly vigorously, and strain into coupe glass.
  2. Garnish with dollop of Violet Jelly

And here’s the story behind it!

America’s founding fathers could hardly get enough Madeira. It is a wine fortified with neutral grape spirits, which boosts its alcohol content to almost 20%, and comes from an island bearing the same name off the coast of Portugal.

Early colonists arriving to America from Europe naturally liked to bring as much of their former lives as they could fit onto a cramped ship. Who wouldn’t want the comforts of home when establishing a new life on a wildly different continent?

While architecture, livestock, and cultural customs transposed nicely, European wine-grapes did not. Thus, anyone thirsty for wine in the early days had to import it, and adding liquor to the wine casks (as was done for Madeira) helped it survive the long hot trans-Atlantic journey. By the time July 4, 1776 rolled around the likes of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin were drinking Madeira daily.