DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Your Own Drambuie

Marcia Simmons

Of all the spirits, Scotch seems to inspire the most reverence. The common wisdom is that adding anything but a little water or an ice cube to Scotch is "wasting" or "ruining" it. While you won't find me adding a $150 single malt to my shaker any time soon, there are a lot of inexpensive blends that inspire mixing and experimentation.

I used my DIY honey liqueur recipe as the jumping off point for a Drambuie-like honey liqueur made with Scotch. I was pleased to find out that no alarm bells went off when I poured honey and spices into my Scotch—and the resulting concoction was delicious.

What's Available to Buy?

Drambuie is the most well-known Scotch-based honey liqueur. (It's also the easiest to find.) There's a 15-year version for about $55 that I haven't tried yet, but the original is smooth with a lovely balance of sweet and spice.

Why DIY?

If you're a Drambuie fanatic, then the price tag of over $30 for a 750-milliliter bottle won't scare you off. But if, like me, you're a more casual admirer of the liqueur, then you might rather spend that on a bottle of liquor or wine.

This DIY Drambuie isn't a carbon copy of the original—and that's the point. You can play around with what type and how much Scotch and honey you use. Fennel seed and rosemary are bold enough to assert their flavor along with the honey and scotch without totally taking over. But you can also try replacing some of the fennel and rosemary with flavors like citrus, chamomile, or lavender for a softer take on the recipe. Stronger honeys like lavender or blackberry could give your liqueur a whole different character.

Use It!

You can sip your DIY liqueur straight, but that isn't the only way to enjoy it. Add it to some sparkling wine, along with a few dashes of bitters and some St. Germain, for a Bonnie Prince Charlie or use it with rum in a MacKinnon highball or Scotch in a Rusty Nail.

Like many liqueurs, homemade Drambuie can do double duty as a dessert ingredient—I'm particularly intrigued by the idea of using it in this Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.