Atholl Brose Cocktail

Ingredients (12)

For the honey syrup:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the oat-infused milk:

  • 1 cup steel-cut or stone-ground oats
  • 1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

To make the cocktail:

  • 1 1/2 ounces blended Scotch whisky
  • 1/2 ounce honey syrup, chilled
  • 2 ounces oat-infused milk, chilled
  • 1/4 ounce cold-brew coffee concentrate, chilled
  • Ice
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
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Atholl Brose Cocktail

In Scotland, Atholl Brose is a traditional drink of Scotch whisky mixed with the liquid from soaking steel-cut oats, stirred with honey, and topped with lightly whipped cream. I tried a bunch of different combinations of these ingredients in various iterations and was starting to think I wouldn’t find a really good drink. One of the cooks from The Coachman (a British pub in San Francisco, now closed) tasting an early test version, said I needed to heighten the flavor of the oats. I took the toasted and soaked oats home and, for breakfast the next day, made oatmeal. That’s when it hit me: My coffee was heightening the toasty flavor of the oats without overwhelming them. I bought some cold-brewed coffee concentrate on my way to work and made another cocktail. As soon as I tasted it, I knew we had a winner.

You can serve this drink warm instead of chilled—just heat the honey syrup and oat-infused milk before mixing and skip the ice, stirring the ingredients to mix. And don’t toss the toasted oats you’ve infused the milk with. Make breakfast oatmeal by adding 2 to 3 cups of water and cooking over low heat for about 45 minutes.

What to buy: Choose a good coffee concentrate, such as Jittery John’s Cold Brew Coffee (available in the San Francisco Bay Area), or Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate, available on Amazon. Of course, you could always make your own Cold Brewed Coffee too.

This recipe was updated on December 13, 2017 to note The Coachman’s closure.

For more Scottish cocktail recipes, check out our Rob Roy.

Tips for Christmas


For the honey syrup:
  1. 1Add the honey to the hot water. Stir until the honey has dissolved. Store in the fridge.

For the oat-infused milk:

  1. 1Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the oats on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir to redistribute, so the oats at the edges don’t get too brown. Bake for 8 minutes more, until they’re evenly tan and smell a bit like popcorn. Set aside to cool.
  2. 2Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat. Warm until almost simmering (i.e., scalded). Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the salt, sugar, and toasted oats. Add the hot milk, let cool at room temperature, and refrigerate overnight. Next day, strain the oats, squeezing out as much liquid as possible.

To make the cocktail:

  1. 1Combine the Scotch, honey syrup, oat-infused milk, and coffee concentrate in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled stem glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
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