Published on October 26th, 2012 | by Dipsology


Scotch Cocktails, Mastered

On Monday of this week held an event with The Famous Grouse (and the lovely Nicola Riske) at Macao Trading Company.  Dipsology scored a few tickets for some of our peeps – here’s what Lansing Moore thought about all of it:

So last night was an event celebrating “Master Scotch Cocktails” at Macao Trading Co. in Tribeca. Partly a seminar, partly a promotional event, end entirely an open bar, I went in with an open mind. After all, I head learned about the event only that afternoon and was attending by a pure stroke of luck, lacking any background knowledge or a plus one at that. The crowd was thin, thanks in no small part to the debate that evening, and they filed into the shadowed café tables of Macao’s opium den ambiance. Perfect atmosphere for a scotch tasting.

The photographer, the staff and the hosts were exchanging jokes as the attendees were greeted with a baptismal first cocktail, the Kobayashi, the lightest and sweetest one on the menu. The first one to speak was our bartender for the evening, Dushan Zaric, an advisory board member from It was like an after-dark TED Talk. He outlined in broad strokes the entire history of distilled spirits and their origins in medieval Europe as a medicinal and spiritual craft. He prepared examples of drink recipes the guests could (theoretically) make at home, though doubtlessly without his own flair for handling a shaker.

Next was Nicola Riske, brand ambassador of The Edrington Group, who stepped to the front of the room to provide her own background on the history and craftsmanship particular to the brand sponsors, Black Grouse, Famous Grouse, and Cutty Sark. I did not even know the difference between single malt and blended whiskeys, but I left understanding that all whiskeys are single malt until batches aged in different barrels were blended to create new and complex flavors. It is quite a bit like making a perfume. What sets scotch apart, aside from being Scottish, is that the barley is dried over a peat fire.

Thus briefed, we were left to swarm the bar and order whichever of the evening’s signature cocktails most intrigued our newly enlightened curiosity. Frankly I wish my own college seminars had included so many free drinks. There were classics like the Blood and Sand, and not so classics like the Kilts & Skirts which included a learning moment on mixing egg white cocktails*. The photographer shared with me her preference for the Rob Roy. In any case, the crowd had thinned further by 10, when the burlesque show was due to perform. By the time I left, feeling warm enough to survive the Titanic, I passed the two dancers having a cigarette break outside. The show seemed uncertain.

*Dipsology Editor’s Note: the trick to egg white cocktails is 1) use fresh eggs (obviously), 2) it is not dangerous! and 3) to emulsify the egg white properly you need to dry shake (eg, without ice) the ingredients first.  Then add ice and shake again.


And for those of you wishing to test your luck with a shaker, here are some of the recipes for your home imbibing pleasure:

+ Blood & Sand

3/4 oz Scotch
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Cherry Heering
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth

Add all ingredients to shaker with ice, shake vigorously, strain into a coupe.

+ Rob Roy

2 oz Scotch
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Add all ingredients to a chilled Boston glass, add cracked ice and stir 25-30 seconds, strain into a chilled coupe.

+ Bobby Burns

a variation on the Rob Roy, with Benedictine 

2 oz Scotch
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Benedictine
2 dashes Angostura

Add all ingredients to a chilled Boston glass, add cracked ice and stir 25-30 seconds, strain into a chilled coupe.


Thanks to for hooking us up with tickets to this event, and for letting us use their great photos, by the talented Gabi Porter.





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