Everything You Need to Know About Drambuie

Courtesy of Drambuie
Courtesy of Drambuie

You’ve probably seen a bottle of Drambuie among the clutter of bottles at your grandparents’ house, or watched a bartender grab the bottle while mixing a cocktail. But of all the old, mysterious bottles that tempt and intimidate, Drambuie is shockingly approachable. If you like the idea of adding a touch of honey to your scotch, you’ll probably like Drambuie. Here’s everything you need to know about the scotch-based liqueur.

What Is Drambuie?

Drambuie is liqueur made from scotch, Scottish heather honey, herbs and spices, although the exact recipe is still a brand secret. According to the brand’s website, the drink originated, like many herbal spirits, as a medicinal tonic mixed up by an apothecary—but in this case that druggist just happened to be the royal apothecary for Charles Edward Stuart, aka Bonnie Prince Charlie, whose name you’ll sometimes see on the label.

What Does the Drambuie Name Mean?

Pronounced dram-BOO-ee, the name comes from the Scots Gaelic phrase An Dram Buidheach, which means “the drink that satisfies.”

What Does Drambuie Taste Like?

Sweetened scotch is the primary taste thanks to the two main ingredients, while the herbs help temper the sticky sweetness. The honey isn’t an ordinary, chalky honey from the grocery store, but heather honey from Scotland, which tastes strongly of hay (in a good way). Orange zest, licorice and cinnamon stand out among the added botanical flavors.

How Much Alcohol Is in Drambuie?

Drambuie clocks in at 40 percent ABV, so it’s a full proof spirit. Needless to say the honey doesn’t water down the scotch at all.

How Much Does Drambuie Cost?

A bottle of Drambuie averages $36 at American liquor stores.

Where to Buy Drambuie?

Drambuie is available nationwide and online.

What Can You Substitute for Drambuie?

If you must have that Drambuie taste but there’s not a bottle to be found, you can make your own DIY version. Simply make a honey syrup (infused with any botanicals you’d like) and steep it with scotch for a few days. Then strain it and store in the fridge for up to six months.

What Is Drambuie 15?

Typically the scotch used to make Drambuie doesn’t come with an age statement, but Drambuie 15 is made with 15-year-old Speyside malts specifically. That extra age comes with an increased cost of $54 (on average).

What Are Some Drinks to Make with Drambuie?

The most popular cocktail made with Drambuie is the Rusty Nail, made of two parts blended scotch, one part Drambuie, and a lemon twist. It also goes great in a Scotch and Soda or added to a Whiskey Sour, and the sweet liqueur is perfect for dessert cocktails. It’s a bit syrupy to drink straight, but you could drink it on the rocks after dinner.