How to Make the Rusty Nail Cocktail in 2 Minutes

(1 vote)
3 minutes
April 22, 2024
Andi GleesonJump to Recipe

Enjoy this sweeter version of the classic Rusty Nail cocktail. This super-flavored cocktail is ready in no more than 2 minutes!

Rusty Nail Cocktail

My husband and I have long joked about the Rusty Nail Cocktail. When we have the opportunity to order a cocktail and I say I don’t know what to get, he dares me to get a Rusty Nail.

I always thought of this as a drink for tough old men with leathery skin who start sentences with, “Back in my day…” All I knew of this classic cocktail is that it was Scotch-based, which is not typically my favorite spirit (because I’m too much of a wimp for it).

A Sweeter Cocktail Recipe

On my recent trip to the mega liquor store, I happened upon a bottle of Drambuie and remembered that it is a key ingredient in the Rusty Nail. On a whim, I decided to buy it and finally find out what this drink is all about.

The classic recipe is around three parts scotch to one part Drambuie, but I thought that would be too strong for me. Since Drambuie is scotch blended with honey and spices, I decided to change the proportions to make a sweeter cocktail.

What is Drambuie?

  • Drambuie is a classic liqueur created in the Isle of Skye region in Scotland.
  • It is made from aged scotch whisky, honey, spices, and herbs.
  • It was originally created by Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s Royal Apothecary in 1745.
  • The name Drambuie is derived from Scots Gaelic ‘An Dram Buidheach’ and means “The Drink that Satisfies”.

How to Make A Sweet Version of the Rusty Nail Cocktail?

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Rusty Nail Cocktail

Smooth Rusty Nail Cocktail

This sweeter version of the classic Rusty Nail cocktail is easy to make and very delicious.

  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x





  1. Fill small rocks glass with ice.
  2. Pour Scotch and Drambuie over ice. Float lemon slice on top. Cheers!
  • Author: Andi
  • Prep Time: 2

Friends, on the first sip of this drink, I was in love. Seriously, this is now one of my very favorite cocktails. It’s pretty to look at and easy to make too, so it’s just about perfect.  I strongly recommend this one!

Last but not least, if you want to surprise your guests with more types of cocktails, just give the following 3 recipes a try! They are certainly really different one from another and they are sure to please even the grumpier guest!

Andi Gleeson


Winter Still Clinging On – WIP
6 years ago

[…] a new flannel blankie. We’re ending the weekend with cheeseburger salads and a new cocktail, smooth rusty nail. It’s a great end cap to the […]

Bev @ The Make Your Own Zone
11 years ago

A rusty nail is one of my hubby’s favorite drinks (and he kind of falls into your “tough old man” category). Often times when we order these in a restaurant the servers and/or bartenders aren’t familiar with it. But it really is a great classic cocktail and Drambuie is a wonderful sweet liqueur. It was fun to see somebody else who actually knows about rusty nails too! Thanks for sharing!

The Weary Chef
11 years ago

I’m surprised that the bartenders don’t know about this one because I thought it was a classic. Maybe it’s TOO classic and people are starting to forget about it. Your husband and I can try to keep it alive ;) Thanks so much for your comment, Bev. It’s great to meet you!

1 year ago

For some reason, the original Rusty Nail recipe called for carefully pouring one of the liquors on top of the other and to NOT stir. Apparently, both liquids will keep moving slowly according to their densities, like a lava lamp. Two other liqueurs similar to Drambuie were made in the past – Glayva and Lochan Ora – but I am afraid they were discontinued.

11 years ago

I have never had a Rusty Nail before, in fact I also don’t have a cake for that drink! I better start doing research :)

The Weary Chef
11 years ago

Ooh I bet Drambuie could especially be good in a cake! You should look into it :) Thanks for coming over!

11 years ago

went pretty far afield with this one (it’s pink!), but didn’t have the Drambuie and combining Scotch whiskey with honey whiskey (trying to emulate your honey flavors) seemed like too much whiskey. Sloe gin is sort of herby, so added a bit of that, too. Then upped the Scotch a bit. Then it was too strong, so more water. And another sweet cocktail is born :-) Like the lemon slice on top especially. I’m a fan of traditional rusty nails, but yes, they do put hair on your chest. (not really but you know that if you’ve had a few already)

Well done, Andi. You rock :-) How’s the kiddos, btw?

The Weary Chef
11 years ago

You created a whole new drink, but it sounds good and looks pretty! I love the lemon slice too. The kids are wearing me out but good ;)

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