This month we have been concentrating mostly on alcohol free spirits, beers and cocktails. But there is a date coming up that is worthy of dropping your sobriety for, Burns Night! Yes it is the night to put on your kilt, squeeze out a tune on your bagpipes and get ready to address your haggis. And of course, let's not forget the Scotch!
Burns Night has become a celebration around the world, his words leave our lips at the start of a new year in the form of Auld Lang Syne and his works have inspired many authors, artists and musicians.
Firstly we must say that not everyone is a fan of the golden nectar. Often people less familiar with whisky conjure up images of it being a man’s drink, but it is 2022 so we must cast those misconceptions aside, it is a drink for everyone!
I believe the world of whisky is moving forward, we are no longer so focused on the age statement and that older is better. Distilleries are now being more experimental with their choice of casks, with the use of more ex-sherry, wine, rum; the list is truly endless. Many producers are now playing with different fermentation techniques when producing the wash. The use of different grains, and yeast strains can result in incredible flavours that can be carried forward into the final spirit. With modern techniques being embraced the complexity of younger spirits can be outstanding.
Anyway back to Burns Night. This is the night to embrace a feast with some delicious whisky, it truly should be Scotch but there are some delicious examples now being made in England and further afield. We are going to utilise some of the great tipples we have in stock to make some cocktails that can be enjoyed on the night.
Burns Night is a time of feasting with big heavy dishes such as Cullen skink, haggis, neeps and tatties followed by Cranachan, so you are going to have to turn to a lighter cocktail to get the palate ready for such an endeavor.
This cocktail, traditionally ice and soda water, has the addition of elderflower cordial and lemon juice. This flavour profile helps lift the whisky creating an approachable style that will suit a wide range of palates. Also, the acidity of the lemon juice and the floral flavours can help to cut through any richness.
In a highball glass filled with ice add the whisky, lemon juice and the elderflower cordial. Top up with soda water and garnish with a slice of lemon.
Of course you can’t leave out the classic Bobby Burns cocktail on his night! The recipe for this cocktail was originally printed in Henry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book. It is very similar to a Manhattan but replaces the bourbon and bitters with Scotch and Benedictine.
We shall be using Jura Journey in this cocktail. This whisky produced on the island of Jura has gentle smokiness and fruity apple notes and makes a great base for the cocktail. This gets a lift from the herbal sweetness of the vermouth and a hint of spice from the Benedictine. It’s the perfect cocktail to pair with haggis.
In a mixing glass add the whisky, vermouth, Benedictine and plenty of ice. Stir until the outside of the mixing glass is chilled and fine strain into a chilled coupe glass. Express oils from the lemon peel and discard.
So now the drinks are sorted I shall leave you with a few words from the main man.
“O thou, my muse! guid auld Scotch drink! Whether thro' wimplin worms thou jink, Or, richly brown, ream owre the brink, In glorious faem, Inspire me, till I lisp an' wink, To sing thy name!”
Now we are not too sure on the modern day translation but I think we can all agree that Rabbie liked a wee dram! Have a great Burns Night and be sure to let us know if you make any of these cocktails.