Bobby Burns Cocktail: A warming tipple for a chilly Burns Night
One of my favourite days in January is Burns night. No I’m not Scottish but there is something that warms my heart about sipping a glass of whisky whilst eating spicy minced lamb doused in a creamy sauce. This year though I fancied something a little more interesting to pair with my haggis so here is my take on the Bobby Burns cocktail.
On 25th January, Scots celebrate the birthday of their most famous and beloved poet Robert (Bobby) Burns. They do this by reciting various poems and addresses, the most notable one being “Address to a Haggis” by the man himself, drinking whisky, and various other drinks, and enjoying the aforementioned delicacy, the Haggis. More often than not the whisky will be a neat single malt, but as a lover of whisky and not one to shy away from mixing up a cocktail or two, I thought it would be fun to shake up my perfect Burns Night cocktail.
Unsurprisingly there is a Bobby Burns cocktail already in existence. The first version that I could find was recorded by Harry Craddock in his Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930. Looking through various other cocktail books I have the basic ingredients were the same – Scotch, sweet vermouth and something to add a bitter or herbal note. What does change, quite radically in some recipes, is the proportions.
I found some that recipes for the Bobby Burns cocktail called for equal measures of each liquid. Another wanted nearly a third of a bottle of whisky with a measure each of vermouth and lemon juice to serve one! After a bit of experimentation, I found my perfect Burns Night cocktail.
Rather than polluting a single malt whisky, I chose a Blended Scotch as my base spirit in this cocktail. I also used a red vermouth rather than a white vermouth as I find this creates a smoother and more pleasing blend with whiskys and bourbons. The final ingredient was Benedictine Dom. This slightly sweet herbal liqueur added extra depth to the flavour.
The ratio that I used for this cocktail was 5:3:1 whisky, vermouth and Benedictine. By upping the whisky content I kept the warmth and a bit of fire that might have otherwise been lost. The smaller amount of Benedictine allowed the herbal notes to enhance the whisky, whilst not adding too much more sweetness to the blend. Check out the full recipe below.
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BOBBY BURNS COCKTAIL RECIPE
50 ml Blended Scotch
30 ml red vermouth
10 ml Benedictine Dom
Pour ingredients into an ice filled cocktail shaker and stir it until the cocktail is well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a Maraschino cherry and enjoy with your Haggis, neeps and tatties.