The Rob Roy is a scotch whiskey version of the classic Manhattan. Scotch whiskey is used instead of rye whiskey in honor of Robert Roy MacGregor, the famed Scotsman who battled against feudal landlords in the Scottish Highlands during the 18th century in an effort to reclaim his land and protect his family.
The Rob Roy
1 1/2 oz Scotch
1/4 oz sweet vermouth
Angostura bitters to taste
Maraschino cherry for garnish (a lemon twist may be substituted)
Stir the first three ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish and serve straight up, or mixed in rocks glass with ice.
As the default Rob Roy is made with sweet vermouth, there is no need to ask for it “sweet,” though you can order “dry” or “perfect” versions. A dry Rob Roy obviously substitutes in dry vermouth for the sweet, while a perfect Rob Roy uses equal parts sweet and dry vermouths.
The origins of the drink are sketchy, though many peg it to the Waldorf-Asotria hotel in 1894, where a drink was created and named in honor of the opening of a Broadway show called Rob Roy by American composer Reginald de Koven. Rob Roy opened at the Herald Square Theatre on October 29, 1894 and became one of de Koven’s biggest New York successes, ringing up 164 performances.