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The World of Single Malts

Single malts offer a world of captivating flavours waiting to be woven into your cocktail creations. Join us as we delve deep into this distinguished category with tips and recipes for harnessing their rich flavours at your bar.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 

Whisky Regions

There are five legally recognised whisky regions: Highlands, Speyside, Lowlands, Islay and Campbeltown.

At one point, Campbeltown boasted over 27 working distilleries, all within a two-mile square area of the Scottish fishing town. Producers exported whisky to the United States during prohibition, but sales declined when prohibition ended, and now only three operational distilleries remain in the region.


Each type of Scotch offers something beautifully unique. Here are five legal definitions of Scotch:

Single Malt: A product from one single distillery made using only Barley in a batch process.

Single Grain: A product from one single distillery made using any grain (predominately wheat and barley) and made in a continuous process.

Blended Malt: A product made by combining different Single Malts together.

Blended Grain: A product made by combining different Single Grains together.

Blended Scotch: Blended Scotch is what everyone around the world sees most often. This is a combination of both Single Malts and Single Grains.

Flavours to Explore

Single Malts offer an incredibly vast array of flavours giving so much choice for your guests whether it be neat in a more traditional way with ice and water on the side or as the main component of a stunning Rob Roy (not a Manhattan - if it’s a scotch, it’s a Rob Roy!).

Never be afraid to offer Single Malts in cocktails. If anyone claims its sacrilege to enjoy a good Single Malt with other ingredients, it’s only because they haven’t been privy to a decent cocktail yet.

Others may argue it’s difficult to offset menu or supplier costs if using Single Malts for cocktails, but pricing shouldn’t stand in the way of the wonderful depth and complexity afford to cocktails from Single Malts.

It’s also a great way to introduce new drinkers to the category. Don’t forget, very few people start drinking coffee on double espressos.

Old Fashioned Inspiration

The Old Fashioned is a favourite among whisky drinkers, so it is the perfect platform to introduce them to Single Malts in a cocktail   
Here are two Single Malts that act as the perfect base for an Old-Fashioned cocktail.

Caol Ila Old Fashioned

Caol Ila (Cull-Eel-ah) has a signature smoky charisma and is a perfect entry point to peated whiskies.

  • Flavour notes: Caol Ila 12yo - clean, fresh, sweetly fruity, character and lightly fragrant smokiness.
  • Perfect Old Fashioned: Caol Ila 12yo/ Simple Syrup/ Lemon Bitters.

Lagavulin Old Fashioned

Lagavulin is a globally renowned whisky with a rich, intense character.

  • Flavour notes: Lagavulin 16yo – intensely smoky-sweet with seaweed and oak notes that build to a big finish.
  • Perfect Old Fashioned: Lagavulin Distillers Edition/ Demerara Simple Syrup/ Chocolate bitters.

The Future of Single Malts

The world of Single Malts is rapidly changing, with a younger demographic curious about how they can learn, collect and enjoy them.

Trends in culture continue to raise the profile of Single Malts, such as the limited-edition Game of Thrones collectables marrying some of the world's most iconic Single Malts with the cultural phenomena of HBO's TV series.

Three Single Malt Serves

Try these serves to introduce your guests to the rugged warmth and smoky depth of single malt cocktails.

Talisker Campfire Hot Chocolate

There is no better whisky than Talisker to enjoy by the campfire, mixing its rugged luxury with hot chocolate and marshmallows.

The Salt Throne

Excite Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon fans with this maritime Whisky Sour. The sugar and lemon beautifully amplify Talisker's signature smoke and coastal sweetness. Try Recipe.

Kings of Winter

Dark hot chocolate's luxurious spice and warmth perfectly complement Dalwhinnie's classic heather honey sweetness.

From the rugged Highlands to the peat-rich Islay shores, there is a unique tradition and exceptional artistry behind single malts such as Talisker, Lagavulin and Dalwhinnie. They offer excellent depth and complexity to cocktails and are a great way to introduce new drinkers to the category.

Key Takeaways

  • Exploring Flavour: Single Malts offer diverse flavours, showcasing the artistry of distillation and the impact of regional influences. They provide a rich palette for bartenders to create unique and flavourful cocktails.
  • Whisky Regions: There are five legally recognised whisky regions in Scotland: Highlands, Speyside, Lowlands, Islay, and Campbeltown.
  • Types of Scotch: There are five legal definitions of scotch: Single Malt, Single Grain, Blended Grain, Blended Malt and Blended Scotch.
  • Flavour Exploration: Single malts derive their diverse flavours from basic raw materials (water, barley, yeast), peat smoke during barley drying, and the craftsmanship of distillers.
  • The Future of Single Malts: The world of single malts is evolving, with growing interest, including in cocktails, from a younger demographic.

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