Let’s learn Cocktails – Rob Roy, Manhattan, Arnaud’s Special

Keeping with our article on the Negroni, these drinks are easily pre-made and able to be stored in the fridge for a later date. More on that later!

So when I’m teaching new bartenders I like to simplify everything. Yes it is true there are hundreds of classic cocktails, thousands of flavour combinations and millions of possibilities but to think of things in this way will only overwhelm and turn some people off taking that next jump down the rabbit hole that is a career in bartending.

Think of cocktails like you would music, everything has been done before (to a point) - everything is just a twist on a twist on a twist on a twist. A sidecar is just a margarita with cognac and a sugar rim instead of salt, boom. Easy!

I think a fantastic example of this is the Manhattan, Rob Roy and the Arnaud’s Special Cocktail.

Essentially all three drinks have the same base formula.

Most bars will make minor adjustments in regards to the amount of vermouth/bitters depending on their own personal tastes and what whisky they use but for the sake of simplicity and batching at home, I will keep things in ratios.


Rob Roy:

50ml Scotch Whisky
25ml Sweet Vermouth
2 Dash Angostura Bitters


50ml Bourbon/Rye Whisky
25ml Sweet Vermouth
2 Dash Angostura Bitters

Arnaud's Special Cocktail:

50ml Scotch Whisky
25ml Dubonnet (French Sweet Vermouth)
3 Dash Orange Bitters

A Manhattan is a Rob Roy but on American Whisky - An Arnaud's Special is a Rob Roy on a specific vermouth and orange bitters.

Learn one, learn them all.

Personally, I prefer a Perfect Manhattan which is 10ml Sweet Vermouth and 10ml Dry Vermouth with the smallest dash of sugar syrup but that’s just me!

Now to make at home things are pretty simple! You need exactly half the amount of vermouth as you do Whisky. Pour a whole bottle of whisky (700ml/70cl) into a large container, add half a bottle of sweet vermouth (350ml/35cl) and about 28 dashes of bitters. Make sure to taste along the way!

Give it a stir, and decant back into bottles!

Now do remember that this is quite a spirit-forward drink so to serve either stir down over ice to dilute or serve on ice and let it dilute on its own.

Rob Roy Garnish:
Lemon Twist

Manhattan Garnish:
Maraschino Cherry

Arnaud's Special Garnish:
Orange Twist

Easy! Enjoy!

Drink Responsibly.