Scotch—nay, good scotch—proves surprisingly versatile in cocktails when you’re willing to be brave. (photo by Moritz Mentges)

Traditional mixed drinks made with Scotch whisky generally had one thing in common—an intention to hide the whisky flavor. This is not to denigrate a proper Rob Roy or Penicillin. But given the use of low-shelf blends by most bars, my disdain was understandable.

By sheer happenstance, I stumbled onto a secret that desperately needs sharing: Great Scotch makes great mixed drinks. Having found one, I then went into a deep experimental rabbit hole of my own devising. These new and exciting drinks are variations of favorites traditionally made with rum, bourbon, and brandy, updated to enhance and foreground the flavors of quality Scotch whiskies. They are not for the faint of heart, though they are delicious.

Kilt Burner

A twist on the traditional Bloody Mary that’s smoky, sassy, and guaranteed to shake up your mouth. For the spirit, I’ve selected Laphroaig 10, a classic Islay that has noticeable peat, smoke, and sea flavors. It’s the perfect complement to the heat of the mix.

· 4 oz.  tomato juice

· 2 oz. Laphroaig 10 (or similarly peaty Scotch)

· 1 tsp. chipotle/adobo salsa or,

· 1 tsp of your favorite BBQ sauce

· 1/2 tsp. finely grated horseradish

· 3 shakes of Worcestershire sauce

· Pinch of salt

· Black pepper to taste

· Generous squeezes of lemon and lime

· One drop liquid hickory smoke

· A pickle spear and a slice of crispy bacon for garnish

Mix the liquids in a martini shaker and pour the into a chimney glass half-full of ice. Add (and expand on, as you like) the garnish.

Pina Kiltada

You guessed it: The tropics meet the Highlands with this magical meld of pineapple, coconut, and sherried Highlands Scotch. I used Naked Malt Blended Malt whisky, but The Macallan Sherry Cask would impart even greater levels of sherried goodness. Note that this is shaken, not blended.

· 2 oz. Naked Malt Blended Malt Scotch

· 1.5 oz. Jumex Pineapple Nectar

· 1.5 oz. Kara Natural Coconut Cream (unsweetened)

· 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice

· Orange slice

Shake ingredients vigorously in a martini shaker and pour over a glass of crushed ice. Garnish with an orange slice.

The Aprikilter

More fruity goodness once again using the sherried richness of Naked Malts Blended Malt Scotch. This one is simple to make, decadent, and definitely on the sweet side.

· 2 oz. Naked Malt Blended Malt Whisky

· 2 oz. ginger beer

· 2 oz. Jumex Apricot Nectar

· 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice

· Lime slice

Fill a short and wide cocktail glass half full of ice, add the Scotch, apricot nectar, and lime juice, then mix. Center-pour the ginger beer and garnish with the lime slice.

Tart Tartan

Guava is not the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Scotch whisky, but it makes an ideal foil to the sherried sweetness of a great Highlands Scotch. We call on Naked Malt again to form the backbone of this simple but satisfying summer refresher.

· 2 oz. Naked Malt Blended Malt Whisky

· 2 oz. Jumex Guava nectar

· 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

· Small piece of lime rind

· Powdered sugar for glass rim

Rim a martini glass with lime rind and dip into powdered sugar. Add the ingredients into a martini shaker with a cup of crushed ice. Shake vigorously and strain into the glass.

Highland Cooler/Highland Creamsicle

Stay with me here: You may have trouble sourcing the mixer unless you’re near a Walmart. The giant retailer’s American Clear Pineapple/Orange Sparkling Water, a house brand, has a proper bite, uniquely tart and intense, that I have been unable to find anywhere else. It delivers plenty of sweetness at only 2 grams of carbohydrates for 12 ounces. I selected Carlyle blended Scotch for its intensely raisiny flavor, which perfectly augments the Pineapple/Orange soda. You could substitute any quality Highland Scotch.

Highland Cooler

· 2 oz. Carlyle Blended Scotch

· 4 oz. American Clear Pineapple/Orange Sparkling Water

· Ice

Fill a glass with ice, pour in the Scotch, add the soda, and drink. It makes a great refresher or party cocktail.

Highland Creamsicle

· 2 oz. Carlyle Blended Scotch

· 1.5 oz. half-and-half

· 4 oz. American Clear Pineapple/Orange Sparkling Water

· Ice

Fill a glass with ice, pour half and half, and add the Scotch. Stir vigorously. Add the soda, and drink!