As Burns Night is celebrated across Scotland â€“ and well beyond â€“ there will be many a haggis toasted with a tot of the finest whisky.
Robert Burns, himself, is well-documented as referring to whisky â€“ â€˜the guid Scotch drinkâ€™ â€“ as his muse, something that repeatedly appears in his works. This year, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is paying a special tribute to Burns and several of his most famous works â€“ with cocktails.
And not just cocktails, but aptly named cocktails â€“ so if you donâ€™t appreciate a good pun, look away now!
Festival organisers asked some of the worldâ€™s leading mixologists and whisky connoisseurs to blend together whisky and words in toast to the life of poet Robert Burns and the legacy he left behind. Canadaâ€™s Kaitlyn Stewart, the 2017 winner of the Worldâ€™s Best Bartender title, and World Whisky Day founder, Blair Bowman are among those involved.
Six of Burnsâ€™ best-known poems and songs have been given the cocktail makeover: Auld Dram Syne (Auld Lang Syne), Dram Oâ€™Shanter (Tam Oâ€™ Shanter); Ae Fond Nip (Ae Fond Kiss); Â A Dramâ€™s A Dram For aâ€™ That (A Manâ€™s A Man For aâ€™ That); The Speyside Grace (The Selkirk Grace); and Best Laid Drams (Best Laid Plans).
Another of the drinks is called Freedom anâ€™ Whisky Gang Thegither, a phrase used by Burns in The Authorâ€™s Earnest Cry And Prayer, a satire written in 1786 on the governmentâ€™s taxation of whisky.
The recipes start with Speyside whisky brands, then offer a contemporary twist, with some of the more unusual ingredients including: smoked honey, detox tea and shortbread (from Walkers of Aberlour).
Chairman of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, James Campbell, says: â€œThere was a time when whisky was considered an old manâ€™s drink but these contemporary and modern cocktails completely dispel that myth. The Festival has been introducing whisky to new and younger audiences for many years, and I hope those who are passionate about whisky, whether they have it neat or in a cocktail, will give these recipes a try.â€
And if youâ€™d like to experiment at homeâ€¦
1 biscuit of Walkers of Aberlour Ginger Royals Shortbread
25ml Strathisla 12 year old
Squirting cream & Cocoa powder
Smash the biscuit into pieces (the whisky bottle makes an excellent tool for this!) Mix the crumbs with the milk and use a stick blender to reduce it to a creamy, thin porridge-like consistency. Blend in the Strathisla, serve in a Glencairn glass and garnish with a squirt of cream and a dusting of cocoa powder. The cream can be stirred in for a thicker consistency.