11 Best Drambuie Substitutes For You To Try

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You might have come here for the list of best Drambuie substitutes because you wanted to try making a Rusty Nail cocktail at home. If you have searched the recipe, you might’ve come across Drambuie. It is a very popular and expensive liqueur. 


But you can’t buy a whole bottle just for a one-time preparation of a cocktail, can you? Don’t worry! I have got you covered with a list of the best substitutes for Drambuie. Some of the best Drambuie substitutes are lochan ora, grandtully, glayva, triple sec, and Southern Comfort.

Drambuie is an alcoholic drink made from Scotch whisky, herbs, and spices. With 40% ABV (alcohol by volume), you will be swamped with sweetness and other herby and spicy flavors. Thanks to Rat Pack, it is a highly popular drink (their favorite drink was Drambuie!) and is now a staple in bars across the globe.

But you needn’t waste a whole bottle of Drambuie for a simple recipe or worry if you are out of it. There are a bunch of closest substitutes that you can use in your recipes. Let us first know more about Drambuie in detail before we talk about the best Drambuie substitutes. 

Quick Peek: Drambuie


The following scribbles tell you what Drambuie is, its flavor, culinary uses, and health benefits.

What Is Drambuie?

Drambuie is a liqueur that hails from Scotland. In Scottish, the name ‘Drambuie’ translates into ‘the drink that satisfies.’ It has a Scottish whisky base with a distinctive blend of Scottish heather honey, herbs, and spices.

The golden-colored drink has 40% alcohol content. It owes its popularity to Rusty Nail Cocktail, which has Drambuie as an important ingredient.

Drambuie Vs. Glayva

Many often assume Drambuie and Glayva to be the same. They both originate from Scotland and comprise sweetened honey, herbs, and spices. There are considerable differences in their flavor profile. Drambuie has more of a sweet flavor like honey, while Glayva has herbal undernotes.

Describing Drambuie: Flavor and Consistency

Drambuie is an intensely flavorful drink that has a distinctive flavor profile. It has a sweet flavor similar to honey with overtones of floral and herbal aromas. It can be deemed to be a blend of sweet, spicy, and herbal flavors. It has a soft, smooth, and syrupy consistency and offers a great mouthfeel.

Uses of Drambuie

Drambuie finds its major prominence in cocktail recipes. It often softens the rough edges of alcoholic beverages (This is literally how it became popular in America). It is, on its own, an intense and flavorful drink. When used in cocktail recipes, it lends an amazing, intense flavor of Scotch whiskey with the sweetness of honey.

Drambuie is used in cooking and baking for its subtly sweet flavor. It is also used for glazing and complements the flavors of meat in meat-based dishes or roasts.

Drambuie on The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Drambuie is a type of whiskey with an alcohol content of 40%. Moderate consumption of Drambuie is beneficial in lowering the risk of heart diseases. It also helps in slow aging, boosts digestion, and reduces the formation of phlegm. That said, excessive consumption can increase the risk of obesity and affect the overall metabolism of your body. 

Why Should We Substitute Drambuie?

Drambuie is not an easily available drink. Also, it is incredibly expensive as well. So, if your recipe calls for a few ounces of Drambuie, you sure don’t want to waste money on a full bottle of Drambuie. Your cocktail recipes would still turn out awesome if you knew the best substitutes for Drambuie. So, shall we look into them right away?

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

11 Best Drambuie Substitutes 

Now that you know everything you need to know about Drambuie let us discuss the 11 best substitutes for Drambuie, inclusive of alcoholic and non-alcoholic substitutes.

Alcoholic Drambuie Substitutes

1. Lochan Ora

Lochan Ora

Lochan Ora is the closest substitute of Drambuie for several reasons. Regarding the taste and flavor profile, Lochan Ora and Drambuie are similar pals. With 35% ABV, Lochan Ora has a rich sweet flavor with herbal undertones.

But what’s problematic is that it is a rare and expensive as Drambuie. Therefore, it may not be the best option to rely on as a substitute. However, if you don’t want a compromise in the flavor, grab a bottle of Lochan Ora!

2. Grandtully


Grandtully is an after-dinner liqueur that has the sweetness of honey with an added flavor of anise. This unique blend makes grandtully a perfect alternative for Drambuie. In fact, Grandtully has a slightly higher sweetness than Drambuie. It can be a delightful addition or replacement to your cocktail recipes. But, I must warn you, it is not easily available. 

3. Glayva 


Glayva is a Scottish whiskey made from a blend of honey, oranges, and herbs. The name glayva originates from the Gaelic term, which means ‘very good.’ It has an alcohol content of 35% in it. Glayva has a sweet, smooth flavor with undertones of cinnamon and spices. Glayva has a characteristic flavor similar to Drambuie and can substitute in desserts and drinks.

4. Triple Sec

Triple Sec

Triple Sec is a rich, orange-flavored liqueur made using sweet and bitter orange peels. It has an authentic flavor perfectly balanced on sweet and bitter notes. Initially, it found prominence as a digestif but nowadays, it has been used in various cocktail recipes. Using Triple Sec might be a good option to replace Drambuie if you are not a fan of herbal flavor.

5. Southern Comfort

Southern Comfort

Southern Comfort is a whiskey-flavored liqueur. This drink made unrefined whiskeys more tasty and flavorsome by adding herbs and spices. Did you know that the recipe of Southern Comfort is over 140 years old and is still a guarded secret? *whoa*

Southern comfort has an intense, fruity flavor and alcoholic content, making it a great cocktail drink. Well, go for Southern Comfort in place of Drambuie if you don’t mind the strong taste of a little booze.

6. Amaretto


Amaretto is an Italian liqueur made from apricots, almonds, or sometimes using both. It has around 28% ABV, which is lesser than Drambuie. In Italian, the word ‘Amar’ means bitter, which stands for the bitterness this liqueur holds. Amaretto has a mild, nutty flavor with notes of bitterness in it. It has thick, syrupy consistency as well.

You can go for a non-alcoholic version of amaretto if you have such a preference. Also, amaretto is easy to find and cheaper to substitute for Drambuie in cocktail recipes or desserts.

7. Benedictine


Benedictine is a French liqueur made using 27 herbs and spices. No kidding! Even that’s speculation. The recipe of this liqueur is still a secret. This makes it difficult to detail its unique taste and flavor.

The tussle amongst these herbs and spices gives this liqueur a wonderful sweet and spicy flavor that is hard to beat. Benedectine has a thick consistency and color as that of Drambuie and thus can be an option worth considering for replacement. 

Non-Alcoholic Drambuie Substitutes

1. Orange Blossom Water

Orange Blossom Water

Orange blossom water is a variety of flower water made using the essence of flowers from orange trees. It is frequently used in French and Middle Eastern cuisines. It has a subtle orange flavor which works well in both sweet and savory dishes.

Orange blossom water has a distinctive, subtly sweet flavor which makes it a considerable Drambuie substitute. Make sure you add half the amount of orange blossom water to replace Drambuie. You can add more, depending on your preferences. Here’s how you can make some quince jelly at home with some orange blossom water.

2. Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is as simple as it sounds. It is a liquid sweetener made by dissolving sugar in water. It is also known as sugar syrup and is a prominent ingredient in many iced drinks, lemonades, and cocktails.

Simple syrup, when mixed with spices such as cinnamon, along with orange peel and honey, can emulate the flavor of Drambuie. Thus, the combination of simple syrup with cinnamon, orange peel, and honey is a worthy Drambuie substitute.

3. Scotch Whiskey with Honey

Scotch Whiskey and Honey

Mixing scotch whisky with honey is a non-alcoholic substitute for Drambuie that works only in baking recipes. Scotch whisky has a mild, sweet flavor, with floral and orange flavors being dominant in the flavor profile.

Honey is a natural sweetener with a floral, fruity flavor and syrupy consistency. A tablespoon of honey with half the amount of scotch whisky can help you replace Drambuie in recipes where only drops of it are required.

4. Homemade Drambuie

Homemade Drambuie

If you are not hesitant to experiment, why bother finding the alternatives for Drambuie when you can try making it at home?

Of course, the authentic taste of Drambuie is hard to replicate, considering the fact that its recipe is still a guarded secret. But there is no harm in trying it out, right?

Simply boil Scottish heather honey or honey of your choice, fennel seeds, star anise, angelica root, saffron, nutmeg, orange peel, and rosemary in water until a syrupy consistency is achieved. Cool the liquid and add Scotch whisky to it. Let it rest for three days, and you have your homemade Drambuie to relish!

Short Recap

That must have been an exhaustive read on the best Drambuie substitutes, right? Let me make it easy for you to remember the details with the help of some points.

Alcoholic Substitutes: The best Drambuie substitutes based on alcohol are lochan ora, grandtully, glayva, triple sec, Southern Comfort, amaretto, and benedictine.

Non-Alcoholic Substitutes: The best Drambuie substitutes devoid of alcohol are orange blossom water, simple syrup, and scotch whisky with honey.

How To Use Drambuie Substitutes In A Recipe


Drambuie Substitutes

Drambuie is an alcoholic drink made from Scotch whisky, herbs, and spices. With 40% ABV (alcohol by volume), you will be swamped with sweetness and other herby and spicy flavors. But if you can't get your hands on it, you can easily find a substitute for drambuie!
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  • Lochan Ora
  • Grandtully
  • Glayva
  • Triple Sec
  • Southern Comfort
  • Amaretto
  • Benedictine
  • Orange Blossom Water
  • Simple Syrup
  • Scotch Whiskey with Honey
  • Homemade Drambuie


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Final Musings

Well, it wasn’t that easy to find a substitute for Drambuie. Bear in mind that most of the drinks enlisted above do not have authentic recipes. The fact that they can be used keeping in mind the needs of the recipes must give you a sigh of relief. Choose what works the best for your cocktail, and come on, raise a toast to me! *laugh* Merry clinking!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between Scotch and Drambuie?

Drambuie is a type of flavored Scotch whiskey which comprises honey, herbs and spices.

Is Irish mist similar to Drambuie?

Irish mist is made of honey, whiskey and other spirits and its Scottish equivalent is drambuie.

What are the herbs and spices in drambuie?

Scottish heather honey, rosemary, orange peel,fennel seeds, star anise, angelica root, saffron, and nutmeg.

What is the difference between Grand Marnier and Drambuie?

Grand marnier is prepared using brandy as a base while drambuie is made using scotch whiskey.

Do I need to refrigerate Drambuie?

Drambuie should be refrigerated once opened.

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