bobby burns cocktail: the recipe for the bobby burns cocktail martini

The Bobby Burns cocktail is a drink said to have been named after the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns. It is a whisky cocktail and being Scottish, a Scotch Whisky is the preferred base spirit. The other ingredients are Sweet Vermouth and Benedictine.

The drink is said to have originated at the famous Waldorf Bar on 5th Avenue in New York, sometime in the early part of the 20th century. You could very well use a Single Malt Scotch Whisky for this drink, but I suggest a blended Scotch Whisky. The ingredients seems to have changed a little bit over the time.

The various recipes for the drink have called for Benedictine or sometimes Absinthe and bitters. Some recipes also call for Drambuie instead of the Benedictine. The traditional recipe for Bobby Burns also called for a shortbread cookie as the garnish.

I first found this recipe in The Essential Cocktail by Dale DeGroff. There is also a recipe in the famous The Savoy Cocktail Book from the 1930s. The recipe in this post is a slightly modified version with the proportions altered to my taste.


  • 2.5 shots of Malt Whisky
  • 1 shot of Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 shots of Benedictine
  • A shortbread cookie for garnish


  1. Fill a martini shaker with ice
  2. Add 2.5 (Two and a half) shots of Malt Whiskey into the shaker
  3. Add a shot of Sweet Vermouth
  4. Add half a shot of Benedictine to the shaker
  5. Shake the contents of the shaker well
  6. Strain the contents of the shaker into a chilled martini glass
  7. Garnish the drink on the side with the shortbread cookie
Bobby Burns Cocktail with Whisky

Variations and Similar Drinks

The Bobby Burns martini has several different variations, all by the same name. You could substitute Benedictine in the drink with Drambuie, a variation found in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.
The Benedictine is substituted with Absinthe and Bitters as well in earlier versions of the drink.

Notes and Tips

  • Almost all of the recipes call for the drink to be stirred and not shaken. I like my drinks, especially the ones with sweet vermouth and liqueurs to be shaken.
  • You probably should use a blended Scotch Whisky in this recipe. The Single Malt Whisky is probably best on its own, and should not be used in mixed drinks.