Burns Night – What To drink with Haggis, Neeps and Tatties – with Drambuie

Today is Burns Night, but apart from the obvious dram of neat Scotch, what other drinks can you enjoy before, during and after your Burns Night dinner?

BEFORE DINNER

Burns Night Cocktail Drambuie Rusty Robby BurnsRUSTY ROBBY BURNS

This is inspired by The Bobby Burns from J.R. Sheridan’s cocktail bible, ‘How to Mix Fancy Drinks’, first published in 1901. It’s also something of a hybrid of a Rusty Nail and a Rob Roy.

15ml Drambuie
30ml Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky
15ml Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Method: Stir well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Rich, herbal flavours from the outset, with some lighter wood notes and sweet vanilla from the whisky, too. There’s also a refreshing burst of almost bitter, but rich fruitiness from the vermouth. Dry spice notes, including powdered cinnamon and cloves, lead to a medium-long finish of wood.

DURING DINNER

Burns Night Cocktail Drambuie Highball DrinkDrambuie Highball

10ml Drambuie
15ml Lemon Juice
25ml Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky
150ml Ginger Ale
Method: Build in a highball glass with ice.

Vibrant and full of flavour, with notes of lemon sherbert that are followed by a slightly more bitter note of fresh lemon juice and herbs sweetened with honey. The Scotch comes through towards the end, with a light, but distinct woodiness and dry vanilla. The lemon reappears on the finish, and is refreshingly dry.

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AFTER DINNER

Burns Night Cocktail Drambuie Old Fashioned DrinkA Dram Old Fashioned

10ml Drambuie
3 dashes Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)
50ml Dewar Scotch
Method: Stir and strain.

This is a slight variation on an Old Fashioned, with the sugar cube being replaced by the sweetness of the Drambuie, which also adds some complex herbal notes that complement the bitterness. The flavours of the Scotch come through, too, and are accented by the other ingredients. A pleasant drink to finish the meal off with.

 

 

Drambuie 15 Yr Old – Whispers of Whisk(e)y 22

For 2012’s first Whispers of Whisk(e)y, we return to Drambuie, which I reviewed just over a year ago, back in 2010. Drambuie 15 Year Old is made from a combination of 15 Year Old Speyside malt whiskies and the distinctive herb-and-spice flavours from “Bonnie Prince Charlie’s secret elixir”. It’s slightly stronger than the regular Drambuie (43%ABV compared to 40%ABV) and comes in a more elegant and distinguished looking bottle.


Its nose was soft and sweet, but substantial. I picked up allspice and the kind of sweet ginger that I recognise from baking homemade gingerbread, and butterscotch, alongside lighter herbal notes.As a liqueur, this was smooth and velvety. The initial flavour was a delicate sweetness, which was followed by a rush of warmth and rich, genuine and unmasked wood. As the wood notes start to develop further, they’re supported by comforting spiced honey notes. Fresh, herbal notes then came into play, all the while softened by the remaining sweetness from the honey.The warmth continued to intensify, even as the other flavours started to fade, making me think that this must surely be at home in a hipflask to take on chilly walks – something that DBS & I were able to test on a seaside stroll yesterday. I can hereby confirm that it was, indeed, the most tasty hipflask tipple I’ve ever tasted, having a perfectly comforting mixture of sweetness, warmth and atmospherically mysterious herbal notes that I never can quite pin-down.I’d highly recommend that you try this; ideally, in the midst of a swift seaside or woodland walk from a hipflask that’s warm from your pocket. Delicious!

– Mrs. B.

For more Whisk(e)y Liqueur Reviews please click here

WOW3 – Drambuie

For the third of my little notes on whisky liqueurs, I turned to a bottle of something we already had in our cupboard: Drambuie. The straight-forward bottle seemed to want to reassure me that it was solid and no-fuss, which I liked, although I’ve noticed that they’ve recently had a rebranding exercise to make it look more modern. Nonetheless, I liked the look of it and swiftly poured myself a glass.

The nose was initally dominated by molasses or treacle, followed by comforting notes of honey and warm spices. I also caught something that pleasantly reminded me of cloves and liquorice, as well as hints of some herb, possibly sweet basil. The nose was generally sweet, but not overly so, and I found myself very fond of it.

On the tongue, it was deliciously silky without being too syrupy and after a second or two there was a reassuring barrage of whisky flavours; there wasn’t any burn, but, unlike some liqueurs, there was no denying the fact that this was whisky based, which I liked.

Fruitcake drizzled with Drambuie, The Drambuie Bottle and a Godfather cocktail.

I also liked the fact that the taste of Drambuie isn’t as straight-forward as its bottle: after the soft, smooth start, the flavours transformed into predominately herbal and liquorice notes, followed by a honey sweetness, before finally finishing with the warmth of the Scotch. Because of this, and in particular because of its noticable sweetness, it definitely wouldn’t replace a glass of whisky for me and I doubt that I could drink more than two glasses in an evening, but I think it could be used imaginatively in desserts and other sweet treats, as well as being enjoyed on its own and it cocktails like the Rusty Nail (Scotch whisky and Drambuie with a lemon twist).

– Mrs. B

For more Whisk(e)y Liqueuer Reviews please click here

Mrs B.’s Drinks

Mrs. B’s Drinks

or

Cocktails for Ladies

I have often found myself caught off-guard when asked, “What would you like to drink?”. With a lack of insight, I usually then found myself sipping a glass of orange juice, but longing for something more adventurous.

The world of cocktails, even just vintage ones, is vast and often expensive and so, after a couple of conversations with ladies in a similar situation to myself, I decided to raid the cellar and the bookshelf and find cocktails that could I recommend to female friends. I wanted to arm all of us with a list of choices – relatively straight-forward, easy-to-find choices – for those moments of ignorance and indecision that I had found myself dreading. I hope that this brief introduction provides some insight into a much bigger and vibrant world of cocktails.

From left to right: White Lady, Brandy Alexander, Rusty Nail, Harvey Wallbanger, Simple Rum Cocktail, Sidecar, Sweet Martini

The White Lady (8/10)

This gin-based cocktail was wonderfully smooth and, with its bitter, lemon flavour and creamy froth on top, was highly reminiscent of a lemon meringue pie, only without the excessive sweetness. I could easily see myself sipping and savouring one of these at any point in an evening, although I imagine those with a more refined palate than myself may enjoy specifying their choice of gin to make it even better.

Harvey Wallbanger (7/10)

Vodka, orange juice and Galliano come together to make this a sweet and fruity long drink that probably won’t hang around for too long if you have a sweet tooth and like the strong vanilla flavour. If find sugary cocktails hard to swallow, using Galliano L’Autentico, based on an older formulation, may be just the ticket: the sweet vanilla is then replaced with a subtle aniseed kick. Both variations are delicious with a slice of orange and, for a real treat, freshly squeezed juice.

I found the Harvey Wallbanger much easier to drink than The White Lady and wonderfully thirst-quenching, but thought it likely to disappear all too quickly to really savour.

Mrs B. samples a Harvey Wallbanger

Brandy Alexander (9.5/10)

I have to admit to being less than enthusiastic about cocktails containing cream, and so I was quietly dreading the Brandy Alexander (which I know to be a favourite of Mr. B), but this one was a real surprise. A dusting of nutmeg and chocolate flake draws you into a combination of brandy, crème de cacao, and (in this case, double) cream that is silky and rich, with the warmth in the brandy slowly seeping through after the ice-cream-like beginning. This is a drink that could very easily replace a dessert, in my eyes (and I like my desserts!).

Simple Rum Cocktail (6/10)

With a glass full of crushed ice, refreshing lime and a dash of cola, this cocktail brings back memories of many a summer evening. It is a very enjoyable way of drinking rum, both if you are a fan of the spirit or if you have just been introduced. The other ingredients complement the rum, making it more palatable for a fresh face, but the individual character of the rum still comes through; if you don’t use a rum that you like the taste of on its own, this probably won’t be your favourite.

Sweet Martini (ladies only, according to the Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts) (8/10)

Mixed using Old Tom Gin, which is sweeter than its modern counterparts, this martini was remarkably full of flavour, which was highly unexpected, given its cool, clear exterior. It certainly packs a punch, but the flavour goes far beyond just alcohol; I found myself reminiscing on olives and pizza, making me think that it might serve quite well as an aperitif for an Italian meal. Given its bold flavours, this probably won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s an unusual one to try, regardless of your feelings towards the dry martini.

Rusty Nail (8/10)

As a fan of whisky, I was looking forward to this one and wasn’t disappointed: with its combination of Drambuie, a honey and herb liqueur, and blended Scotch, it is a sweeter way to drink whisky without drowning it within a long drink. This would be a delightful drink to slowly sip by the fire at the end of a long day, feeling both the flames and the alcohol gradually warm you up.

Sidecar (9/10)

Finally, we have the Sidecar: a deliciously smooth and fruity cocktail and another one that surprised me, as I’m not generally a fan of brandy. The Sidecar, however, is a short, revitalising drink (that is, nonetheless, relatively easy to manage) with a sharp finish that reminded me distinctly of sherbet. The flavours come together nicely and I believe I could quite happily order one of these at any point during an evening. This is my top pick for a ladies’ cocktail.

In conclusion, by scores alone, the Brandy Alexander was my clear favourite, but, unlike a good cup of tea, I feel that I would need to be in a specific mood to enjoy one as much as I did in this tasting. Therefore, the top spot in my list of cocktails for ladies has to be the Sidecar, followed by the Rusty Nail and The White Lady, with the Brandy Alexander reserved for those times when I’m after a sweet treat, but can’t manage dessert!

There are, of course, many, many other cocktails to try and so I would greatly encourage everyone to try something new; why not ask a barman for a recommendation, stating your favourite spirit as a base? Create your own, tailored list so that you never again find yourself, as I did, unarmed with the perfect drink for an evening.