Manly Libation of the Week: The Rusty Nail

Rusty Nail Cocktail
Source: iStock

Sipping a well-made cocktail is the perfect way to unwind and relax, whether you’ve had a long day at the office or just want to kick back with some friends. Follow our Manly Libations series week-to-week, as we highlight manly cocktails, their histories, and a few bonus recipes — we guarantee these classic drinks will put some hair on your chest.

The History of The Rusty Nail

Relax, you don’t need a tetanus shot to enjoy a Rusty Nail. You will, however, need an appreciation for Scotch and Drambuie, the two main ingredients in this classic drink. The Great Mate explains that the drink first popped up in 1937, but it wasn’t officially given the name The Rusty Nail until the early 1960s. Interestingly, The Great Mate says the cocktail was favored by the Rat Pack, an infamous group that ruled the Hollywood scene in the ’60s.

The drink fell out of favor as lighter liquors became more popular, but Today’s Nest notes that a recent push for classic cocktails is giving The Rusty Nail a second chance to dominate the bar scene. Drambuie gives the smooth cocktail a hint of sweetness — the perfect complement to Scotch’s hot, smoky flavor. Sip on The Rusty Nail or one of its tasty variations — like The Enc(rust)ed Nail or The Smoky Nail — and you’ll be the coolest guy in the room.

Continue to page two for a traditional Rusty Nail recipe, in addition to a few manly variations.

The Rusty Nail

Rusty Nail Cocktail
Source: iStock

Esquire notes that The Rusty Nail is a combination of “swank ingredients (Drambuie ain’t cheap), homey comfort (the liqueur and ice blunt any edge the liquor might have), and foolproof construction.” Sounds like the perfect drink to sit back and relax with after a long day.


  • 2 ounces Scotch
  • ½ ounce Drambuie

Directions: Combine the Scotch and Drambuie in a double old-fashioned glass, add ice, and stir. Feel free to adjust the ratio slightly to suit your tastes.

The Enc(rust)ed Nail

Have a little fun with your cocktail, and give it an update using’s recipe. Scotch and Drambuie still play an important role, but lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, and bitters help enhance the taste of this classic drink.


  • 1 ounce Drambuie
  • .75 ounce Dewar’s White Label Scotch Whisky
  • .75 ounce lemon juice
  • .5 ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Directions: Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and double strain into a Champagne flute.

The Smoky Nail

Classic cocktail, Rusty Nail
Source: iStock

Created by Stew Ellington and featured on Kindred Cocktails, The Smoky Nail pairs Drambuie with Laphroaig and lemon bitters, creating a drink that finds the perfect balance between sweet, sour, and smoky.


  • 2 ounces Islay Scotch, Laphroaig 10
  • 1 ounce Drambuie
  • 2 drops lemon bitters

Directions: Add ingredients to a rocks glass with a few ice cubes and stir gently.

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