Modern Scottish classics and new flavours to match a 21st Century Burns Night menu in London, 2015.

The food menu featured a spiced gravlax with peanut and mint slaw, the traditional haggis, cranachan with cardamom honey and whisky gums, and we were invited to provide the drinks to accompany this ‘multisensory’ tribute to the great Scottish poet.

Now this is a tough gig.  Scottish mythology tells us Robert Burns was a hard drinking womaniser. Given the lines he penned in praise of Scotch whisky, and the fact that he (allegedly) died of rheumatic fever after falling asleep (drunk) at the side of the road aged just 37, we have no reason to doubt this.

The man himself was scathing of any non-Scots ingredient – he particular reviled brandy and French wine, but he was partial to the odd dram of the “king o’ grain”. We didn’t stick entirely to this remit, but then Rabbie himself wasn’t on the guest list, and we’re sure the ploughman poet would not have objected to the following combinations which go together like a country lassie and mawn hay:

Islay Dawn

A whisky and brandy sour with a faceful of Islay sea mist – the smoked umami flavour redolent of a windy day on the wild west coast:

  1. Shake 45ml Laphroaig 10yo, 12.5ml Poire William, 12.5ml honey syrup and 12.5ml fresh lemon juice with cubed ice.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass and finish with a spritz of Islay sea mist and a few sprigs of samphire.

Islay Sea Mist: Combine Islay whisky, dashi (Japanese stock) and samphire infused water to taste and bottle in an atomiser.

Bobby Burns & Pops

A carbonated play on the Bobby Burns (arguably named for the poet, or the politician, but probably not the Hitchin Town midfielder):

  1. Stir 50ml Monkey Shoulder, 25ml Cocchi di Torino, a dash of Bénédictine and a dash of absinthe with cubed ice.
  2. Strain into a soda siphon and add two charges of CO2.
  3. Bottle and serve.

Caorunn Timorous Beastie

For those less keen on whisky, a tip of the hat to Scotland’s second spirit, gin.  A refreshing twist on ‘Silver Fizz’ with a dash of Prosecco and the Scottish flavour of thistles and berries:

  1. Shake 30ml Caourunn Scottish gin, 15ml fresh lemon juice, 7.5ml homemade thistle syrup and one egg white with cubed ice.
  2. Strain into a coupe glass, top with Prosecco and finish with a handful of Scottish berries.

Thistle Syrup: Warm equal parts sugar and thistle tea and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Leave a Reply