Although there are a few familiar classics - think Blood and Sand, Rob Roy and Hot Toddy - Scotch is traditionally served neat or with a respectable spot of dilution.
With the whisk(e)y boom going full tilt and public thirst and knowledge broadening, bartenders are mixing more premium spirits to please their guests' individual preferences, and Scotch is inspiring a slew of contemporary cocktails.
Purists may sputter and balk at the irreverent addition of citrus or bitters, but the consensus among Toronto bartenders is that integrating Scotland's famed export into craft cocktails ups its mass appeal.
Aja Sax, manager and bartender at the recently opened Huntsman Tavern (890 College, 416-901-9919), says her Scotchy Scotch Scotch, a blend of Ballantine's, Bowmore 12, maple syrup and Coster's Prescription Blackstrap Ginger Bitters ($14) is her bestselling cocktail.
"It's made it more accessible. People who would never order Scotch are ordering this full-flavour cocktail and loving it," she said.
Robin Goodfellow, manager and bartender at Ursa (924 Queen West, 416-536-8963, ursa-restaurant.com), agrees.
"As long as it stays true to the spirit and you're not masking it, you can enjoy Scotch however you see fit. A bartender can help people enjoy Scotch whisky in ways that they didn't think they were capable of," he said.
Goodfellow's Dirty Gentleman ($14) - Bowmore 12, housemade ginger brandy, cinnamon-bay leaf syrup and lemon juice - is so well received that Ursa is now one of the top sellers of Bowmore in the province.
He notes that Scotch cocktails can be a gateway to the enjoyment of naked Scotch whiskies, acquainting palates with a medley of approachable and unfamiliar flavours.
Scotch is so much more than your grandfather's dram or a suit's status sip; maybe all the convincing you need is a sublime concoction.
Try these Scotchy delights, too.
Vincent Pollard's Last Chance For The Slow Dance at the Belljar (2072 Dundas West, 416-535-0777, belljarcafe.com): Auchentoshan 12, Cointreau, Amaretto and Benedictine garnished with a lemon zest ($12).
Brad Gubbins's Smoking On Crusade at SpiritHouse (487 Adelaide West, 647-277-1187, spirithousetoronto.com) combines 16-year-old Islay whisky with gin, muddled pineapple, honey syrup, lime and egg white ($16).
Dave Mitton's Smoke Stack Lightnin' at the Harbord Room (89 Harbord, 416-962-8989, theharbordroom.com), a blend of Bowmore 12, fresh lemon, rhubarb, agave and ginger ($16).