This is what life after Heisenberg is all about: locked away in his apartment, Jimmy McGill, formerly known as Saul Goodman, pours himself a tumbler of Scotch and Drambuie, the preferred drink of depressed old men…

The Rusty Nail is a quintessential, unforgiving “old man” drink. Here’s a drink that will put hair on your chest. Even the word “cocktail” doesn’t seem to go with the Rusty Nail. The name alone is enough to send a shiver down your liver. Let’s take the image: A nail. Sharp. Metallic. And rusty!

It’s a good strong drink, with lots of flavor and a subtle sweetness. Plus it’s exceptionally simple to make. The only items required are a bottle of scotch, some scotch liqueur like Drambuie and some good ice. 

The roots

As Drambuie is only about 100 years old, the Rusty Nail is a somewhat recent creation. Drambuie and Scotch cocktails started showing up in the 1930s with various names.

The origin of The Rusty Nail’s name has been rumored ever since its invention. Some say it was originally stirred with a rusty nail…

The creation of The Rusty Nail recipe is often attributed to the “21 Club” in Manhattan, and the name was cemented when the chairwoman of Drambuie Liqueur Company endorsed the drink. The Rusty Nail was one of the main drinks that the infamous Rat Pack consumed, and this fact is most likely why it managed to grow so quickly in popularity.

The Rusty Nail continued to evolve for the next few years, and it took a while for it to finally earn its own name and iconic recipe.

But then, as the popularity of darker spirits gave way to lighter ones toward the end of the century, so faded the Rusty Nail. Today, renewed interest in mixology and classic drinks is helping the Rusty Nail make a comeback.

Unlike most cocktails, the Rusty Nail is 100 % liquor. As such, it’s important to choose a quality Scotch whisky since it will be providing the bulk of the cocktail’s depth and flavor. The addition of Drambuie is only incorporated as a sweetener and counterbalance to the biting, hot taste of the Scotch.

The makin’s

2 parts whiskey — Scotch
1/2 part Drambuie
Old-fashioned glass

 The drill

Combine the Scotch and Drambuie in an Old-Fashioned glass, add lots of ice, and stir.

*The quantities here are a rough ratio. Half and half is too sweet… So start with 2 parts Scotch and 1/2 part Drambuie and work your way up from there (or, of course, stop).


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