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We Asked Bartenders For Their Favorite Single Malt Scotches To Mix With

We reached out to bar pros to name some great single malts for cocktails. Here are their picks for all your home mixology needs.

Using a high-quality single malt whisky as the base for a flavorful cocktail doesn’t need to be spoken about in hushed tones. Better spirits make for better drinks after all and many nuanced, exciting single malts are well-suited for mixing. Especially simple preparations or highballs.

When it comes to finding a good single malt whisky for mixing, there is some potential for misfires, though. Maybe you don’t want a cocktail full of iodine-heavy smoke or seaspray. Or maybe that’s exactly what you’re looking for but you accidentally picked up a bottle that’s all red berries and honey. Single malt scotch is very varied and certain expressions really lean into their flavor notes — finding the right bottle does require a little homework.

To identify a few great single malts for mixing, we decided to turn to the professionals. We asked a handful of notable bartenders to tell us about their choices for the best single malt whiskies to mix with. They were kind enough to offer a wide range of bottles. Each one has characteristics that play well with various cocktail ingredients. Check them all out below and click on the prices if you want to give any of these a try for yourself.

Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Scotch Whisky Posts of 2021

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  • We Blind Tested Blended Scotches In The $40 Range And A Clear Winner Emerged
  • The Best Bottles Of Scotch Whisky Between $50-$60
  • Blind Scotch Taste Test — Which 12-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky Is Best?
Ardbeg Wee Beastie
Ardbeg

Jorge Centeno, head bartender at The Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest, Illinois

ABV: 47.4%

Average Price: $50

Why This Whisky?

Ardbeg Wee Beastie is my mixing single malt pick. Wee Beastie is a cocktail-friendly scotch. It’s intense and smoky and will stand out in any cocktail.

Lagavulin 16
Lagavulin

Kevin Smith, food and beverage manager at The Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg, Florida

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $100

Why This Whisky?

Lagavulin 16 boasts intense sweet and smoky flavors that pair perfectly with a summer evening. A classic malt, this full-bodied Scotch has warm notes of spice and tobacco that resemble a campfire — making it a great mixer for just that situation.

Bruichladdich Islay Barley
Bruichladdich

Daniel Yang, lead bartender of Electra Cocktail Club at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $65

Why This Whisky?

The only way I’d mix a single malt scotch would be in a simple highball using Bruichladdich Islay Barley. It has ripe green fruits, a touch of brine, traditional barley, and tastes of sweet oak. It makes a beautiful pairing with fizzy water.

Glenmorangie 18
Glenmorangie

Robert Kidd, head bartender at Le Cavalier in Wilmington, Delaware

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $129

Why This Whisky?

I’ve been playing around with some nice single malt highland scotches recently. You can make some great cocktails with Glenmorangie 18 year. The scotch itself is truly delicious with amazing dried fruit aromas, but if you add just a bar spoon of Drambuie and a rinse of absinthe in the glass you have a great herbal take on the classic rusty nail cocktail.

Highland Park 12
Highland Park 12

Ryan Anderson, complex director of beverage at Ace Hotel in New Orleans

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $58

Why This Whisky?

If you’re going to mix with single malt, I’m personally a fan of Highland Park 12 as the first option. Highland Park sits right in the middle of a cleaner and lighter style of scotch and a heavier, maltier one. Making it a balanced single malt that can adapt to any cocktail. It’s great for penicillins or frozen rusty nails.

Glenmorangie X
Glenmorangie

Piero Procida, director of food and beverage at The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills, California

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $36

Why This Whisky?

Glenmorangie X is perfect for mixing because not only is it more affordable to mix with but has not quite reached that 12 year age either which changes the flavor drastically. It was also crafted with mixologists in mind and is aged in ex-bourbon and new charred oak casks to give it a sweeter yet bolder taste, helping it stand up to any cocktail you throw at it.

It is very well-balanced with hints of chocolate, vanilla, orange, honey, and pear.

The Singleton Glendullan 12
The Singleton

Adam Fournier, bar director at Fellow in Los Angeles

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $40

Why This Whisky?

I’d say one of the best mixing single malts is The Singleton 12 Glendullan. It’s a light floral single malt that’s aged in both ex-bourbon and Pedro Ximenez sherry cask, so you’re getting a complexity that isn’t overwhelming.

The Macallan 12 Double Cask
The Macallan

Sebastian Mena, director of food and beverage at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort in Curaçao

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $75

Why This Whisky?

The Macallan Double Cask 12 is a perfect mixing single malt whisky. The combination of chocolate, dried fruits, and citrus flavors makes it great for mixology.

Oban 14
Oban

Christina Ramirez, mixologist at SoBou in New Orleans

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $90

Why This Whisky?

Oban 14 Year single malt Scotch whisky is my ultimate favorite. It has a wonderful flavor profile of honeysuckle and citrus, dried fruit with a slight saltiness. It’s perfectly full-bodied and smoky, giving a regular drink a slight punch. I love it in a penicillin or in an old fashioned riff.

Glenfiddich 15
Glenfiddich

Ryan Pines, beverage director at Ukiah in Asheville, North Carolina

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $75

Why This Whisky?

This is a tough one as I generally don’t like to mix too many things with a good single malt other than maybe a couple of drops of water. But if I had to pick, I would say Glenfiddich 15 year as a highball with a few dashes of our house-made macadamia nut bitters.

Auchentoshan American Oak
Auchentoshan

Jeremy Williams, head mixologist at MDRD atop the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $45

Why This Whisky?

Auchentoshan American Oak is my go-to for mixing because it’s great in a sour or a penicillin. The emphasis on vanilla and spice from the oak makes it favorable to bourbon lovers as well.

Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or
Glenmorangie

Jeff Bell, bartender at PDT in New York City

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $79

Why This Whisky?

I would highly recommend Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or. It’s a beautiful single malt finished in Sauternes casks which add a delicate orange blossom note that’s sure to brighten up any sour you add it in.

Laphroaig 10
Laphroaig

Deke Dunne, master mixologist at Allegory DC in Washington, DC

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $60

Why This Whisky?

When using single malt scotches for mixing cocktails, I’ll rarely use a whisky that doesn’t have a smoky component. That is why when I’m mixing, I almost always reach for an Islay scotch. My go-to Islay whisky has always been Laphroaig 10. While Laphroaig 10 is beautiful on its own, the heavily peated component is a wonderful element to add to a cocktail. I love smoky, savory drinks and the peat used to deliver that flavor into Islay scotch lends itself perfectly.

As a Drizly affiliate, Uproxx may receive a commission pursuant to certain items on this list.

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