The History Of The Rusty Nail Cocktail.
The standard history of the Rusty Nail cocktail is it was invented in the 1930s at the British Industries Fair and was called a B.I.F cocktail. However, I cannot find any reference to it in American or European cocktail books from the 1930s to the 1960s. The earliest reference to the Rusty Nail I can find is from the April 1968 issue of Playboy. In the nightlife and Liqueur section, Liqueur Legerdemain, Thomas Mario says, “The latest, the Rusty Nail, is also one of the most mellow—a simple libation of Scotch on the rocks with a float of Drambuie.” Thomas refers to the Rusty Nail cocktail as a new liqueur cocktail, and it was around this time the first Rusty Nail was printed in a cocktail book. The 1972 Trader Vic’s Bartender Guide has a recipe for a Rusty Nail that is 1:1 Scotch and Drambuie. Searching the American and British newspaper archives, the Rusty Nail cocktail was mentioned in the 1980s. Looking through all this, I could not locate the cocktail’s inventor or where it originated from. It’s more likely the Rusty Nail was invented in the 1960s than the 1930s.
How To Mix a Rusty Nail.
The trick to mixing an excellent rusty nail is to mix it as little as possible. Some recipes cool the scotch and then add the Drambuie without any additional mixing. This cocktail is in the same spirit as the B&B, and it benefits from a less chilled and slight separation of the ingredients.
The ratio of Drambuie to Scotch is variable too. The lower end tends to be 1/2 oz (15 mLs) to 2 oz (60 mLs) scotch, and the higher end is the Trader Vic style 1:1. I prefer the ratio below of 2/3 oz Drambuie to 2 oz Scotch.
- 1980 Manual Del Bar -A.M.B.A.
- 1972 Trader Vic’s Bartender Guide – Victor Bergeron
- April 1968 Playboy Liqueur Legerdemain – Thomas Mario
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