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Making the MacNicol

In Composing Cocktails Part 1, Australian bartender Angus Burton struck a chord with readers juxtaposing cocktail creation and music composition. In this continuation, he talks about how one of his signature cocktails, The MacNicol, came to be.

The first time I made a cocktail that tasted better at room temperature than freshly stirred with ice was, at the time, a revelation to me and my workmates. This cocktail was later singled out as a standout signature cocktail at the Diageo World Class Australia Finals in 2011. It’s called The MacNicol.

The story of the MacNicol cocktail

The Bobby Burns was my favorite cocktail at the time and I was inspired by a previous stopover in Hamburg, when Joerg Meyer of Le Lion made me a "dry" Bobby Burns with single malt Whisky, Dry Vermouth, Benedictine Liqueur and bitters. The lightness of the cocktail brought on by the Dry Vermouth was an interesting and memorable discovery.

The MacNicol


Stir down and finish with an orange zest (discarded).

Best wishes now in creating your own cocktails. To help you along, here’s a diagram I developed to structure and streamline my personal cocktail composition process. I still refer to it regularly in my work and I hope you’ll find it helps yours!

Angus Burton is the Australian runner-up in Diageo World Class 2012 and has won numerous bartending competitions. His passion started with his first bartending gig: blending Ramos Gin Fizzes for friends and family 10 years ago. To Angus, cocktails are the ultimate enjoyment of purity through the realization of experiential theater. Angus writes from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.