This cocktail dates back to 1894 when it was created in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan by a bartender working there at the time. The name was given to the drink because at the time there was an operetta premiering called Rob Roy which was based on the tale of Rob Roy MacGregor – a Scottish legend and hero.
Rob Roy MacGregor was a Scottish outlaw in the time of the Jacobite risings, he was a well-known outlaw with a reputation of being a ‘Scottish Robin Hood’. He was a master swordsman fighting in many of the battles of the Scottish Jacobite risings and he was also had a keen eye for business in cattle keeping. His legend truly began when he had a disagreement in business with the Duke of Montrose who declared him an outlaw. This encouraged Roy to gather together the clan MacGregor and battle and raid the English. He was a wanted man for many years, escaping imprisonment a number of times. Finally, after many years he turned himself in but was received a pardon from the King and was allowed to return home.
The Rob Roy drink is made exclusively with Scotch whiskey and can be made with either sweet or dry vermouth depending on taste. If ordering a sweet Rob Roy (the standard version) you will see a garnish of two maraschino cherries and if ordering a dry version, you will usually receive a garnish of a lemon twist.
This is the recipe for a standard sweet Rob Roy:
- 45 ml Scotch whiskey
- 22.5 ml sweet vermouth
- Dash of Angostura bitters
- Maraschino cherry to garnish
- Put ice into a mixing glass and pour in the whiskey, vermouth and bitters
- Stir well
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
- Use the maraschino cherry to garnish
- Mixing glass
- Chilled cocktail glasses