by Ed Sikov
“A Rob Roy,” Chipper announced much too loudly. He looked around the table at our stunned expressions and seemed quite pleased with himself.
As we stared – Chipper is a devout martini drinker – the server asked in a bright tone of voice, “How would you like that, sir?” “Perfect, please,” Chipper said. He leaned back in his chair and asked, “And what will you all be having?”
“Rob Roy!” Craig cried.
“Same!” said Dan.
“Make mine a Rob Roy!” Paolo decided after pretending to think about it for a moment.
“Who am I to break this chain of fools?” I inquired. “Rob Roys all around.”
“Perfect!” Chipper said.
“What’s so perfect about it?” Craig asked.
“It’s a different kind of perfect,” I started but was immediately cut off by Chipper.
“A perfect Rob Roy is made of Scotch mixed with equal parts sweet and dry vermouth,” he explained. Everybody turned to me for verification.
“Och! The laddie’s right. Even the wee bairn o’ Scotland know it.” Having once played Harry Beaton in a community theater production of “Brigadoon,” I’m prone to launching into a Broadway brogue at the least excuse. Dan groaned. “There he goes,” he said wearily. “He’ll be Harry Beaton for the rest of the evening.”
“I’m leavin’ Brigadoon!” I blared and got up to use the men’s room. When I returned, there were five Rob Roys on the table. “We waited for you,” Paolo said. “To make an appropriate toast,” Craig added. Dan harrumphed.
“Och!” I sang out. “I cannae believe how kind ye are! To the Rob Roy, to wee Chipper, and to Sean Connery’s kilt and the bonnie peenie that lies beneath!”
Craig rather spoiled the festivities by spitting out a mouthful of Rob Roy onto the tablecloth. “Blechhhhh!” he said redundantly. “That’s the worst drink I’ve ever had!” Chipper was appalled; the rest of us couldn’t help but giggle.
“Noew then,” I began, only to feel Dan’s hand squeeze my thigh. “Put Harry Beaton to bed, hon.”
“Och!” I cried – Dan was not going to have the last word on this – “OK. I think it’s the ‘perfect’ that makes it imperfect.”
“How so?” asked Chipper.
“It’s the wee – I’m sorry, this is hard for me – the small amount of sweet vermouth that clashes with the smoky scotch. If anyone cares for a second one, I suggest ordering it dry. And by the way, Chipper, what’s with the Rob Roy to begin with?”
“My aunt Kate started doing genealogical research and she just told me that she’s sure that we’re related to Rob Roy McGregor, for whom the drink is named. He was the Robin Hood of Scotland.”
“Bullshit,” Craig snapped. “You’re more likely to be related to Farmer McGregor.”
Chipper and I were the only ones to go for a second Rob Roy, and we both ordered them dry. “Och!” I said much to Dan’s consternation. “I’m nae Harry Beaton noew. I’m Grrrroundskeeperrrr Willie, an’ I say it’s a fine a’drrrrrrrinkie!” “I live with this,” Dan said to his plate. He received no answer.
The Rob Roy, Dry
4 parts Scotch (it was originally made with Dewar’s, but use any brand you like)
1 part dry vermouth
Mix both liquors in a shaker filled with ice; shake; serve in a martini glass.