How to make a Drambuie cocktail fit to raise the dead

Philip Salter
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City A.M.’s resident cocktail expert

TO MAKE Donn Beach’s infamous Zombie cocktail you’ll need white rum, golden rum, dark rum, apricot brandy, fresh pineapple juice, fresh papaya juice, 151-proof rum and grenadine. Good luck with that. Making some cocktails is akin to trying to cook like Heston Blumenthal. You’ll be back on the beer in no time.

But don’t fret. You don’t need a walk-in drinks cabinet to make many of the great cocktails. Take the classic martini – it’s a delightfully simple combination of gin or vodka and dry vermouth (with lemon twist or olive). A less familiar option would be The Rusty Nail, which is simply the mixture of Drambuie and Scotch whisky, on ice, with an optional lemon twist. It’s not the most challenging cocktail known to man – its antecedents gained popularity during prohibition, when Drambuie was used to mask the rough flavours caused by the ban – but there are worse uses for that bottle of Drambuie that is gathering dust at the back of your cupboard.

Drambuie is a useful addition to a cocktail cabinet. Dave Marsland of says the tasting notes of Drambuie are: “Very sweet hit on the nose with instant honey aromas and a light scent of herbs. A kick on the palate of spice but soon mellows. Rather short but warming with a slow medicinal flavour coming through near the end.” Straight up, this combination of flavours isn’t for everyone – for some too sweet, for others too medicinal, but in the right cocktail it will be just about right for everyone.

To make a cocktail of Zombie proportions – something to wake the living dead – without having to scour the four corners of the earth, try this recipe, which Drambuie created to coincide with the launch of its 50cl bottle.

Drambuie Hot Apple Toddy (serves 20)
■ 50cl Drambuie Original
■ 150cl Pressed apple juice
■ 4 Cinnamon sticks
■ 15 Cloves
■ 20cl Sugar syrup
■ 25cl Lemon juice
■ 10 Orange twists

● Heat all the ingredients in a cauldron.
● Serve warm in a teacup or handled latte glass.
● Garnish with a fresh cinnamon stick