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Rusty Nail

by Anastasia Hartleib
Rusty Nail

The Rusty Nail is a classic cocktail with an unmistakable taste. This simple but iconic drink has been delighting cocktail lovers for decades.

The exact origins of the Rusty Nail are not entirely clear, but it is thought to have originated in the 1950s or 1960s. The invention of this cocktail is attributed to a bartender in New York City or Las Vegas, depending on who you ask.

The original recipe contained just two main ingredients: Scotch whisky and Drambuie, a honey-sweetened liqueur infused with herbs and spices. Thanks to its smooth yet intense flavor, it quickly became popular.

The cocktail's name is probably derived from its color. The combination of Scotch whisky and Drambuie resembles the coloring of rusty steel.

Rusty Nail recipe

Ingredients (for 2 portions):


  1. Pour the whisky and liqueur into two old fashioned glasses and stir well.
  2. Add one ice cube to each.
  3. Garnish each with lemon zest.

Rusty Nail Cocktail Rezept

How do you serve the Rusty Nail?

The Rusty Nail is usually served in a tumbler or an Old Fashioned glass with a single large ice cube. It is best drunk slowly so that the ice can dilute the cocktail a little. This mutes the flavors somewhat and can enhance the overall experience - depending on how you prefer to enjoy your drink.

Drambuie alternatives

If you don't have a Drambuie to hand or want to try alternatives, you can consider a few options depending on your desired flavor profile:

  • Making your own Drambuie: A simple substitute is to combine Scotch whisky with honey and a blend of spices. For a simple homemade Drambuie substitute, mix 2 parts Scotch whisky, 1 part honey and a pinch of spices. Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg work well. Heat the honey slightly to make it easier to mix.
  • Other honey l iqueurs: If you have other honey liqueurs to hand, you can simply use these as a substitute.
  • Herbal liqueur: If you are looking for a more herbal substitute, you can also simply use a mild herbal liqueur. This can give the rusty nail an even more complex flavor profile.

Keep in mind that the flavor of your Rusty Nail may change if you replace Drambuie with other ingredients. So be prepared for a slightly different flavor profile.

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About the autor:

Anastasia Hartleib

Anastasia Hartleib

Katalog & Marketing Managerin

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