Drambuie Substitute:  What is Drambuie and What Can I Use Instead (9 Best Options)

Published Categorized as Ingredients, Journal Tagged

Did you find a new recipe for cocktails or another dish that calls for Drambuie?  If you’re eager to try the recipe and don’t want to wait until you have time to purchase Drambuie at your local liquor store (or can’t even find it to purchase), you may be on the hunt for the best Drambuie substitute. 

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You want to find something with a similar flavor and profile that won’t greatly alter the taste of the finished product.  Fortunately, there are a few different options when it comes to finding a substitute for Drambuie recipes.  Read on; I’d love to share some of the best alternatives you can try.

Table of Contents

Drambuie Substitute:  What Is Drambuie And What Can I Use In Its Stead (9 Best Options)

What is Drambuie?

If you’ve never had Drambuie before, you may be confused about what it even is. 

Drambuie is a type of liqueur that originated in Scotland.  It is made using Scotch whiskey and a variety of different herbs and spices.  Heather honey is the other key ingredient in Drambuie that helps give it its signature sweet flavor.

Drambuie has a gorgeous and rich golden color.  It has a 40% alcohol content.  Drambuie is used for different cocktails and recipes, but is probably the most well-known for its important role in a Rusty Nail cocktail

You may also see Drambuie called for in different baking or cooking recipes.  It helps bring a hint of sweetness to a recipe and can also help glaze roasts and other cuts of meat.

what does drambuie taste like

Drambuie Flavor Profile

Many individuals enjoy drinking Drambuie and find that it adds a very pleasant flavor to their favorite cocktails. 

What does Drambuie taste like? 

As I mentioned earlier, Drambuie is made using Scotch Whiskey, herbs, spices, and Heather honey.  These ingredients work together to give Drambuie a sweeter flavor.  You can taste the touch of honey, along with some spicy and herbal flavors mixed in.

Drambuie is very smooth.  It is a bit thicker in consistency than other types of alcohol because of the Heather honey and has a consistency similar to that of syrup.

Best Drambuie Substitutes

Drambuie is not as easy to find as other types of alcohol.  If you do find it, you may be surprised by how expensive it is compared to over alcoholic beverages. 

Finding the best Drambuie substitute can allow you to try a new cocktail recipe without spending a lot of money to purchase a more expensive alcohol.  You may even find a suitable substitute that you have in your liquor cabinet at home. 

Alternatively, if you prefer a non-alcoholic substitute, I’ll share a few options for those as well.

Drambuie Substitute

Alcoholic Substitutes for Drambuie

When you’re trying to make the perfect cocktail, finding another liqueur that will work well in place of Drambuie is important.  Below are a few of my favorite alcoholic substitutions for Drambuie that I think you may want to try.

Lochan Ora

Lochan Ora can work well as a substitute for Drambuie. 

Like Drambuie, Lochan Ora is also a sweeter alcohol.  It also has herbal undertones, similar to those of Drambuie as well.  Lochan Ora’s alcohol content of 35% is comparable to the 40% alcohol content of Drambuie.

While Lochan Ora offers a similar taste and profile to that of Drambuie, it can also be difficult to find and may cost you a pretty penny.  So, unless you already have Lochan Ora in your liquor cabinet, you may want to consider other alternatives.

substitute for drambuie

Glayva

Glayva is also made with a Scotch whiskey base, much like Drambuie.  The other key ingredients used to make Glayva include oranges, honey, and herbs. 

With its 35% alcohol content, Glayva is similar to Drambuie.  Both liqueurs are also sweet with spicy and herbal undertones.

The main difference between Glayva and Drambuie is that Drambuie is sweeter, while Glayva has stronger undertones that characterize its flavor.  Still, it can work well as a substitute if you don’t have any Drambuie on hand.

Triple Sec

Triple Sec also offers a balance of sweet and bitter flavors, similar to what you’ll find with Drambuie. 

However, while the Heather honey is what gives Drambuie its sweetness, the sweeter orange peels are responsible for Triple Sec’s sweeter flavor.  It also uses bitter orange peels to balance the sweetness, making a very enjoyable beverage.

Those who like the sweetness of Drambuie, but do not love its herbal undertones, may find that Triple Sec is a more palatable option to use in recipes.

Orange flavors triple sec

Grandtully

If you’re looking for a less expensive option to try, consider Grandtully. 

It is also made with honey and offers a sweet flavor, much like that of Drambuie.  Grandtully is even a bit sweeter than Drambuie, making it a good option for those who prefer sweeter cocktails.

Benedictine

If you’re searching for the right Drambuie substitute, check to see if you can find Benedictine

While the recipe for this French liqueur remains a secret, it has a sweet flavor, thicker consistency, and rich golden color, making it a close alternative for Drambuie.

Amaretto

While the 28% alcohol content of Amaretto is a bit lower than that of Drambuie, it can still make a suitable substitute.  Distillers make Amaretto using almonds and apricots. It is thick and rich, with a nutty and bitter flavor.

Southern Comfort

If you like your cocktails nice and strong, then you might like to try Southern Comfort as a substitute for Drambuie.  It has a higher alcohol content, with some similar characteristics to Drambuie. 

Like Drambuie, Southern Comfort is made with whiskey, though it is unrefined whiskey.  Different spices and herbs give Southern Comfort its easily identified fruity and herbal flavor.

Drambuie Substitute:  What Is Drambuie And What Can I Use In Its Stead (9 Best Options)

Non-Alcoholic Substitutes for Drambuie

There are plenty of times when you may also be looking for a non-alcoholic substitute for Drambuie.  Whether you want to make virgin cocktails for children or a designated driver to enjoy or baked goods without alcohol, having a list of non-alcoholic substitutes can come in handy.  Here are a few that I think would work well in place of Drambuie.

Simple Syrup

You can take a basic simple syrup recipe and modify it slightly to create a good non-alcoholic Drambuie substitute. 

Combine the simple syrup with a bit of honey, orange peel, and cinnamon, and you’ll get some of the same flavors that are offered by Drambuie.

Orange Blossom Water

When you need a non-alcoholic substitute for Drambuie, try orange blossom water.  Made using the essence of orange tree flowers, this water has a sweeter flavor.  It can be used for recipes that call for Drambuie, as well as when making virgin cocktails. 

Just take note:  you’ll likely want to reduce the amount of orange blossom water you add to about half of the Drambuie called for in the recipe.

orange blossoms for orange water drambuie substitute

Homemade Drambuie Recipe

If you can’t find Drambuie, or don’t want to pay the more premium price, you can also try to make homemade Drambuie.  It is easier than you may think and doesn’t require too many ingredients.  While the taste may not be exactly like the original, it can make a good stand in for your recipes and cocktails. 

Try making this Rusty Nail cocktail using the Drambuie substitute you choose.

Give the recipe below a try if you’d like to make your own Drambuie.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle Scotch whiskey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Orange peel (from 1 orange)
  • Lemon peel (from 1 lemon)
  • 9 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon bitters
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • ½ cup honey

Directions

Homemade Drambuie Recipe

  1. Add to pot and heat

    Add all the ingredients except for the whiskey to a pot.  Heat them together over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture has a syrup-like consistency.

  2. Let cool and combine

    Let the honey mixture cool.  Then, stir in the Scotch whiskey.

  3. Rest

    Let the homemade Drambuie rest for 3 to 5 days before enjoying.

Choosing the Best Drambuie Substitute

Now that you’ve read through some of the best substitute options for Drambuie, choose that one that you think you’ll enjoy the most.  Every substitute is a little different from one another, and from Drambuie, so think about which flavors will best match the cocktail, baking, or cooking recipe you want to make. 

Stop back and leave a comment about how your drink or recipe turned out; I’d love to hear what you tried!  

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FAQs

What can you use instead of Drambuie?

Some of the top substitutes for Drambuie include Glayva, Lochan Ora, Grandtully, Amaretto, and Triple Sec.

Is Drambuie similar to brandy?

Brandy is a bourbon substitute, but can it also work as a substitute for Drambuie?  While you could choose to use brandy in place of Drambuie, it isn’t typically listed as a close substitute.

Is Drambuie like Grand Marnier?

When making Grand Marnier, brandy is used as the base.  Drambuie features Scotch whiskey as its base.  Grand Marnier is an orange liqueur, while Drambuie has more of a honey flavor.

What is the flavor of Drambuie?

Scotch whiskey, Heather honey, and a mix of herbs and spices are the primary ingredients in Drambuie.  The Heather honey gives Drambuie its signature sweet flavor that combines with the other herbs and spices for a flavorful and smooth beverage.

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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