Bobby Burns Cocktail – Original 1934 Savoy Recipe

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See our affiliate policy for more info.

The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel In London

Opened in 1893 The American Bar at the Savoy hotel started serving American style cocktails in London to the British upperclass. The American Bar has always been a high end bar but what really set it on the map was when Harry Craddock became it’s head bartender in the 1920s. Harry Craddock was a British born bartender who immigrated to the United States, eventually becoming a US citizen and head bartender of several high end hotel bars, but Harry found himself out of work with the start of prohibition in 1920. He then immigrated back to England and became head bartender of the Savoy Hotel’s Bar. Harry transformed The American Bar from a high end bar to one of the seminal cocktail bars of the 20th century. As the american prohibition was coming to an end the hotel realized it should record all of its most famous recipes and the innovations Harry brought to the bar and a year later they published the Savoy Cocktail Book. Printed in 1934 The Savoy Cocktail Book documents all of the bars best recipes from the 1890s to the 1930s and stands as the pillar of prohibition-era, European cocktail innovation. If Jerry Thomas’s Bartenders Guide is the best cocktail book the 1800s gave us, then The Savoy Cocktail Book is the best cocktail book of the first half of the 1900s. I don’t think I will ever be able to drink there though. A cocktail cost around $250 there and they have one that’s almost $1000, and I’m not the Amazon guy, so good thing we have their recipe book.

Bobby Burn And His Poetry

Bobby Burns was an 18th century Scottish poet and every single English speaker in the world knows his poetry, or at least any one who has celebrated Valentines Day or watched a movie featuring a new years party, even if they don’t know his name. Robert Burns wrote many famous poems and songs but two of them are still commonly used today; Auld Lang Syne and Red, Red, Rose. Sung at the turn of the year, everyone knows the tune to Auld Lange Syne even if they don’t know the words. Written in 18th century scot (which is a mix of modern English and Scottish Gaelic) the poem is bittersweet in its lyrics as it reminisces of the past and the experiences shared between two friends. And Red, Red Rose is just that, everyone knows that. “Oh my love is like a red, red rose, That’s newly sprung in June: Oh my love is like the Melodie, that’s sweetly played in tune.”

What Does The Bobby Burns Taste Like

The Bobby Burns is a pretty wonderful cocktail and taste very similar to a Manhattan but with a slight more herbal flavor. If you like manhattans then this is a must.

The Most Important Ingredient

Like the Manhattan the most important ingredient in the Bobby Burns is the sweet vermouth. The other two ingredients lend their flavors but scotch is kinda scotch, just pick one you like, and Benedictine is Benedictine, there is only that one brand. The sweet vermouth is where you have the most play and most diverse flavors to work with. The sweet vermouth is what really carries this drink and lends the most flavor. It has the most meaningful impact on the cocktail so pick a good one.

Here is the original Scots Auld Lang Syne and an English translation for fun.

Auld Lang Syne (Original Scots)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

Auld Lang Syne (“Days Long Ago” English Translation)

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And days long ago?

For days long ago, my dear,
For days of long ago,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For the days of long ago.

And surely you’ll have your stein!
And surely I’ll have mine!
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For the days of long ago.

We two have run about the hills,
And picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary mile,
Since the days long ago.

We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till supper time;
But the broad seas between us have roared
Since the days long ago.

And here’s my hand, my trusty friend!
And give me your hand too!
And we’ll take a good willed drink,
For the days of long ago.


Download The Official Vintage American Cocktails App

Discover what classic cocktails you can make right now with the ingredients you have. Check out the Vintage American Cocktail app.

Bobby Burns Cocktail – Original 1934 Savoy Recipe

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: British






Total time



Learn how to make the amazing Bobby Burns cocktail from the 1934 Savoy Cocktail book.


  • 1 tsp Benedictine

  • 1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1.5 oz Scotch


  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for about 10 seconds. You don’t want to over stir the drink as the cocktail taste better a little warmer and less diluted than normal.
  • Strain into glass and garnish with an expressed lemon peel.

Recipe Video


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.