Whisky Advocate

Cocktails in the Blend

by David Wondrich

AMERICA has always had the cocktail—well, at the very least since 1803, when the drink first turns up in print, and probably for a generation before that—and has had Scotch whisky for practically as long: by the early 1820s, barrels of Highland malt were regularly making it into the ports of New York and Boston.


What we didn’t always have was the scotch cocktail. Indeed, until the 1890s, it was very rare indeed to find Scotch whisky mixed with anything at all other than a wee pinch of sugar, a strip of lemon peel, and a splash of boiling water. “Whisky Punch,” as this preparation was known in Scotland since time immemorial, or at least the mid-1700s, or “Hot Scotch,” as it was known here (unless you set it on fire and poured it back and forth between silver baluster mugs, in which case it was a “Blue Blazer”) was a fine drink, to be sure.

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