A play about a real Scottish hero inspired the popular cocktail the Rob Roy.

Rob Roy cocktail photo

So many of the classic cocktails we enjoy today, like the martini and the Manhattan, come from contested origins.  Usually there are several claims to their invention and the true story is lost to history.  However, when it comes to the Rob Roy, the story is a little different.

The Rob Roy was invented in 1894 by a bartender who worked at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.  That year an operetta based on the real life Scottish folk hero, Robert Roy MacGregor, debuted in New York.  The play was a collaboration between two prolific lyricists/composers of the time, Harry B. Smith and Reginald De Koven.  The hotel was located close to the theater and the bartender created the cocktail for opening night as a way to publicize the play.

A classic Rob Roy is similar to a Manhatan, except that it is prepared exclusively with Scotch whiskey.  It is made by combining the Scotch with sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters.  It is served either straight up or on the rocks in a cocktail glass, garnished with either a Maraschino cherry or a twist of lemon.

If you’d like to enjoy a classic cocktail like a Rob Roy, or any other, come to Gunther Toody’s in Denver or Colorado Springs and order one along with a delicious burger.  It’s hard to beat an American classic!

Photo by StuartWebster