I realize the name for this cocktail is a little bizarre. A drink that contains bourbon as the main ingredient and has a Scotch rinse doesn’t exactly make you think of good, old fashioned, family fun with the grandparents. Well, let me explain. I have always found that people have a side to them that you never expect. Just when you think you know each and every aspect of someone’s personality, it is inevitable that person will whip out a random fact or hobby that doesn’t jibe with the image you have created in your head. Grandparents in particular are often seen as these wholesome, wise figures above reproach. While I would never in a million years suggest that my own grandmother was anything other than wholesome and wise, she definitely had a side that most people never saw or suspected. My maternal grandmother had a special talent. Her superpower was the uncanny ability to freeze you in your tracks with one terrifying look. Combine that with a biting sense of witty humor and you have a “grandmother” that doesn’t quite fit the stereotype of the meek and mild Senior Citizen.

I prefer to grate my own cinnamon and nutmeg instead of using pre-ground spices because the flavor will stay fresh much longer.

When I was experimenting with this cocktail recipe, I was having trouble melding the flavors. Bourbon and amaretto go together wonderfully in my mind, but they have a tendency to veer a bit toward the sweet side. The lemon helped, but something was missing to tie everything together. I realized that it needed a hint of smokiness to even out the flavors. Now I am not a Scotch drinker, but a scotch rinse in the serving glass was exactly what this drink needed.

Use a vegetable peeler to make the lemon zest garnish. Just make sure not to get too much of the white pith or it will make your drink bitter.

The warm flavor of the spices and the nuttiness of the amaretto reminded me of when my grandmother and I would bake cookies at Christmas time. When I threw in the scotch and bourbon, the image in my mind shifted and I then imagined my grandmother with a cigar in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other as I stirred the cookie dough at her side. Obviously, this never actually happened, but given her occasional hidden, fiery personality, I would like think that it could……..hence the name Baking with Grandma.

Baking with Grandma-ingredients
The “boozy” ingredients for the Baking with Grandma cocktail.

Baking with Grandma Cocktail


  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1.25 ounces amaretto
  • .50 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • A pinch each of freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg (You can use pre-ground spices if needed. You only need a small amount.)
  • ¼ ounce of peaty scotch to rinse the serving glass (like Laphroaig or Lagavulin)
  • Glass: Chilled old fashioned glass
  • Garnish: large piece of lemon zest



  • Place your glass in the freezer for a few minutes to thoroughly chill.
  • Combine the bourbon, amaretto, lemon, bitters, and grated cinnamon and nutmeg into an ice filled cocktail shaker. Cover and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
  • Remove the glass from the freezer. Pour the splash of scotch inside the chilled old fashioned glass and swirl to coat the inside walls. Dump out the remaining scotch and place a large ice cube inside.
  • Strain the contents of the cocktail shaker into the glass and garnish with a large piece of lemon zest.
Baking with Grandma
Baking with Grandma, a cocktail