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The Tartan – Scotch Whisky Cocktail

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Last Updated on June 11, 2023 by Leah Hall

Sweet local apple cider paired with Scotch whisky and lemon juice. This easy 3 ingredient flavorful fall Scotch cocktail is a must make!


Old World meets New World is how we describe this Scotch whisky cocktail. The peaty aroma of Scotch finds it’s match here with the apple cider and lemon. A simple 3 ingredient whisky cocktail, this one hits the mark, and is super easy to make, and to drink!

Scotch whisky cocktail being poured in coupe from shaker

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We think there isn’t a more fall drink than apple cider, (obvi we use it allllll the time in the fall, here and here) so it made sense to feature it in a new fall cocktail. This years’ fall cocktail packs a little more punch (cause 2020!) and has a greater depth of flavor. We think it is perfect for sipping on a chilly evening as you take in the colors of the season in your backyard.

Yellow Scotch whisky cocktail in coupe with star anise garnish

This whisky cider combo is simple but so tasty. Though those are two of the three ingredients, they are both highlighted with the additional lemon to enhance both of their flavors. The small squeeze of lemon juice adds a tart crispness to the cider. It also brings out the peatyness in the Scotch.


You don’t need a lot of lemon juice, just enough to brighten the flavor, which is why we used just a bit.


If you are a Scotch drinker, you can imagine how wonderful it is paired with apple cider. Now we are talking real apple cider; not apple juice.  Please don’t confuse the two!


Scotch Whisky

Scotch is divided into five distinct categories, single malt Scotch whisky, single grain Scotch whisky, blended malt Scotch whisky, blended grain Scotch whisky, and blended Scotch whisky. All Scotch whisky must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years.

Yellow Scotch whisky cocktail in coupe with star anise garnish

Peated Whisky

We used a peated whisky in this Scotch whisky cocktail. Peat is most commonly found in the single malt Scotch category.


Also, don’t listen to people who tell you that all Scotch is smokey, peated whisky represents a small amount of the whisky made in Scotland. Peat can actually be a subtle flavor that doesn’t have to dominate your palate or cocktail. It especially stands out in this apple cider cocktail.


If you want to learn more about Scottish Whisky, make sure to read our Scotch Regions guide!

Scotch and apple cider cocktail in coupe with star anise garnish

So, what is Peat? Peat is decayed organic matter dug up from the ground that can be burned to dry out malted barley.  This infuses the grain with smoke and that flavor carries through the distillation process. How peaty the whisky is depends on how long it’s been exposed to the smoke. Peat flavors are said to depend upon the area it comes from.


There are a wide range of smoky whiskies to enjoy. They can vary from light and crisp to heavy, or to whisky that delivers a smoky punch to your palate. If you think you don’t like peated whisky, you just haven’t tried the right one yet, I bet we could find one you like.

Here is a great list of whiskies to try – we used the Laphroaig 10 in this recipe. But any peated Scotch whisky will work, or you can play with different ones to find one you like.

Yellow Scotch whisky cocktail in coupe with star anise garnish

Apple Cider

Apple cider is raw, unfiltered apple juice that has not gone through filtration to remove the particles of pulp or sediment like juice has. Apples are washed, cut and ground into a mash the consistency of applesauce.


The mash is put through wooden racks of a press where layers are squeezed and juice is pressed out before being bottled. It is usually not pasteurized like apple juice, so it has a much shorter shelf life, which just means you have to drink it faster!


Fall is finally showing itself in Nebraska, so this Scotch whisky cocktail is perfect for this time of year. Fall in Nebraska can be weird and it seems that just when temps start to become better our first snowstorm follows shortly thereafter (cross your fingers, because 2020, y’all!).

Scotch and apple cider cocktail in coupe with star anise garnish

So while we have the breeze and coolness in the air we will enjoy this brief moment in time with this perfect fall libation and peated whisky.


Want more Apple Cider Cocktails? We’ve got you covered!




Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and tag #gastronomcocktails so we can see all the wonderful recipes YOU recreate from this site!


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Like this recipe? Try these below, too!

The Peaty Pera - A Scotch Whisky CocktailPeaty Pera


Black Scot


Other Whisky Cocktails

Yellow Scotch whisky cocktail in coupe with star anise garnish
Yield: 1

The Tartan Scotch Whisky Cocktail

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This Tartan cocktail is a great fall drink, and a wonderful Scotch whisky cocktail!


  • 1.50 ounces Scotch whisky
  • 1 ounce apple cider
  • .25 ounce + barspoon lemon juice


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Stir and strain into coupe.
  3. Garnish with a star anise if desired.
  4. Cheers!


We used a peated Scotch whisky in this cocktail. Try one in it that you like!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 121Total Fat: .1gSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 3.5gFiber: .1gSugar: 3.3gProtein: .1g

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Rob A

Thursday 25th of November 2021

I tried this with a semi-dry hard cider, and quite enjoyed it. I love cider and peated Scotch, so this is a good melding of those worlds.

The Noms

Thursday 25th of November 2021

That sounds delicious, too! Love this idea, cheers!

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