Drambuie: what it is and what are the cocktail recipes to make with this whisky liqueur
Drambuie is a velvety liqueur made with Scotch whisky, heather honey, herbs, flowers, spices and citrus fruits. It is a historic liqueur that manages to bottle the flavors of Scotland, combining strong, delicate and sweet flavors in a single symphony of taste.
Drambuie is a legendary liqueur produced for centuries, it is the Scottish equivalent of Falernun, a liqueur based on rum, honey and spices, only we are not in the Caribbean and therefore we find the powerful Scotch. Its use in the mixing of cocktails was fundamental to make it immortal and although in Italy it is not widely used and renowned, everyone knows a mythical cocktail like the Rusty Nail based on Scotch and Drambuie.
How Drambuie liqueur is made?
It is not a distillate, but a blend of various whiskeys flavored with honey and countless botanicals, including orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, herbs and flowers. The ingredients, the doses, the maceration times and the recipe of this whisky-based liqueur are secret, only three people in the world know it and no one else. Ask no questions or you will see an A-Team-style van full of shady thugs appear in your home …
Organoleptic characteristics of the Drambuie liqueur
In addition to the alcoholic base made of whisky, the most important ingredient is heather honey, which not only helps to give sweetness, but also great aromaticity and this is easily perceived on the nose. The aromas are those of whisky, biscuit, malt, pungent fruit. Spices are present in large quantities, sweet, spicy, pepper, nutmeg, there are plenty of them. Citrus fruits bring a touch of freshness. Grass and heather close in style, making the flavor profile very Scottish. They are the scents of the moor, of the moss that you feel while walking among these wonderful hills.
Now we come to the big problem of this liqueur. In 2014 the “Drambuie brand” was sold and the new management decided to update the recipe and all the graphics of this product. The matter is very simple, before it was a liqueur that had memories of honey, spices, freshness and a tasty body, but also a nice herbaceous touch. It was more austere and subtle. Today they added more sugar, more than a change is an upheaval, they met the need of the general public addicted to sugar and cheap banal flavors.
Before it was a liqueur loved above all by whisky enthusiasts, who considered it a graceful interlude, a way to tame a whisky that was too sharp or peaty. Now that heroic dimension has been lost, it does not represent Scotland and its flavors so precisely, on the contrary it has become a sort of sweet liqueur in the triple sec style. Let’s be clear: the liquor itself is not evil, not at all, it is well made. If you have never tasted the previous version this is a decent product, but if you were used to the old this is a disappointment.
History of the Drambuie
The story is fascinating: we are in the mid-1700s, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, fleeing the men of the King of England, finds refuge on the Isle of Skye (where the Talisker is located). The local clan leader, John MacKinnon, helped him escape and so the good prince repaid his kindness, giving him the recipe of his personal liqueur. The name derives from the words said one day by two patrons who tasted this liqueur: dram buidheach, which in Gaelic means the drink that satisfies. After various adventures, in 2014 William Grant & sons distillers ltd, those of Gelnfiddich, bought the brand.
Price of Drambuie liqueur
25 euros: normal price, in the same range of similar liqueurs such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau.
Cocktail to make with Drambuie
How to drink Drambuie
Serve it cold, at 8 degrees, or even with two ice cubes to tame its sweetness and make it sharper.