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Rusty Nail

There are countless whisky cocktail recipes. The best-known drinks such as the Whisky Sour, Old Fashioned, Sazerac or Mint Julep can be ordered in various bars and restaurants. Less well-known, however, is the Rusty Nail Cocktail. It consists of just two ingredients and can be prepared within two minutes. How does it work? That’s exactly what we’ll show you in this article. Discover our simple recipe and prepare the whisky cocktail at home. Have fun discovering and enjoying!

Rusty Nail Cocktail Recipe

  • 3 cl whisky liqueur
  • 5 cl Scotch Whisky

Step by Step Guide

  1. Pour the whisky and whisky liqueur into a tumbler filled with ice cubes.
  2. Mix both ingredients with a bar spoon.
  3. Serve or enjoy yourself!
rusty nail cocktail
Recipe by Tim

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The cocktail consists of just two ingredients. Therefore, its preparation is very simple. Measure out the whisky and whisky liqueur with a jigger. Pour the spirits into a tumbler filled with ice cubes and stir well with a bar spoon. Afterwards, you can still grain the cocktail with a lemon zest and serve it afterwards.

Bar accessories:

  • Bar spoon
  • Tumbler
  • Jigger

Flavour profile of the Rusty Nail Cocktail


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In the drink, the interaction of the two spirits is clearly in the foreground. The alcoholic taste can be clearly tasted. Therefore, the whisky used is particularly important if you want to determine the taste exactly. The Rusty Nail tastes slightly sweet and bitter. The alcoholic notes are in optimal proportion and are perfectly balanced. If you are looking for a sweeter drink, try the Tequila Sunrise, Harvey Wallbanger, Screwdriver, Bellini, White Russian, Mimosa or the Mary Pickford.

A matter of taste

The Rusty Nails recipe is not “set in stone”. You can change the recipe to suit your taste. Would you like the drink to be stronger, milder or more intense? No problem! Just change the ratio of whisky to whisky liqueur and find the perfect cocktail for you. You can also experiment with different types of whisky, such as rye whiskey or bourbon whiskey. There are no limits to your imagination when preparing the whisky Cocktail.


The Rusty Nail Cocktail is said to have been invented around 1900. However, this drink only became really famous a few years later. In 1937, the mixed drink made from Scotch whisky and Scotch whisky liqueur became known in the USA. From then on, the drink could be ordered in several bars. The recipe quickly spread in the bartending scene. After a few years, the name “Rusty Nail” was known to many bartenders and was readily prepared on demand.

The special naming "Rusty Nail"

To this day, it cannot be fully explained why the cocktail was given this name. However, it is assumed that Scottish bartenders used to prepare the drinks with rusty nails in the past. However, they only did this if the guest had already attracted negative attention beforehand. This preparation was to be seen as a punishment for bad behaviour.

The whisky liqueur manufacturer Drambuie advertised its products with the Rusty Nail at the end of the 1980s. However, the name is said to be due to its 18th century inventors. The brothers Rusty and Dusty Nail got into a dispute as to which of the two invented the drink. This dispute escalated to such an extent that the two faced off in a pistol duel. Only one of the brothers survived this duel. Afterwards, the cocktail was named after the win: Rusty Nail.

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Rusty Nail - FAQ

What is a Rusty Nail?

A Rusty Nail is a well-known whisky cocktail. It consists of just two ingredients and has a distinctly different taste from other mixed drinks.

How do you make it?

Simply pour whisky and whisky liqueur into a tumbler filled with ice cubes. Then stir the two ingredients well with a bar spoon. Now you can grit the drink with a lemon zest and serve it.

How does the drink taste?

The cocktail is strongly characterised by the alcoholic taste of whisky. However, the interplay of whisky and whisky liqueur is something very special. This taste experience can only be recreated by a few mixed drinks.

What ingredients does a Rusty Nail Cocktail consist of?

A Rusty Nail consists of just two different ingredients. You only need whisky and whisky liqueur to prepare the Rusty Nail Cocktail.