Dram O’ Shanter, The Speyside Grace and Best Laid Drams – the most famous works of Scotland’s national bard have been immortalised in the form of cocktails by the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.
Festival organisers asked some of the world’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.
Canada’s Kaitlyn Stewart – 2017 winner of the World’s Best Bartender title – World Whisky Day founder Blair Bowman and London’s favourite celebrity nightspot Mahiki are among those to put a creative spin on the poet’s work – some of which was inspired by the amber nectar.
Six of the bard’s best-known poems and songs have been given a dram-atic makeover – Auld Dram Syne (Auld Lang Syne), Dram O’ Shanter (Tam O’ Shanter); Ae Fond Nip (Ae Fond Kiss); A Dram’s A Dram For a’ That (A Man’s A Man For a’ That); The Speyside Grace (The Selkirk Grace); and Best Laid Drams (Best Laid Plans).
Another of the new drinks is called Freedom an' Whisky Gang Thegither – a phrase used by Burns in The Author’s Earnest Cry And Prayer, a satire he penned in 1786 on the government’s taxation of whisky.
The recipes offer a contemporary take on the Bard’s work, with some of the more unusual ingredients including smoked honey, detox tea and one of Speyside’s other great exports – shortbread from Walkers of Aberlour. The base ingredients are Speyside whisky brands, all of which are leading partners of the Festival.
Check out the recipes on our website.
James Campbell is chairman of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – an annual five-day celebration which takes place in the region recognised as being the spiritual home of Scotland’s national drink. With over 50 malt whisky distilleries, around half of all Scotland’s distilleries are based here.
“Whisky and Robert Burns are perhaps Scotland’s greatest gifts to the world. Whisky is synonymous with warmth and friendship in just the same way as Auld Lang Syne – sung across the globe at New Year and other times of celebration – reminds us of spending time with family and friends,” James says.
“Burns referred to whisky – or guid Scotch drink as he called it – as being his muse and it features in many of his works. The popularity of whisky and Burns have both stood the test of time, so it seems fitting for us to pay tribute to these two great Scottish exports in a unique and interesting way.
“There was a time when whisky was considered an old man’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.”
The unique range of cocktails is launched today – on Burns Night, the anniversary of the poet’s birth - as the Festival prepares to launch tickets for the 2018 event. The Festival takes place from May 3 to 7, with almost 500 events taking place over the five days across Speyside.
The programme for the Festival, which attracts both connoisseurs and the curious, will be revealed at 9am on Thursday, February 1, with tickets going on sale a few days later on Tuesday, February 6 at 12 noon. In previous years, tickets for some of the most sought-after events have sold out within minutes.
Behind-the-scenes tours at internationally renowned distilleries not usually open to the public, whisky tasting masterclasses, whisky and food pairing – not to mention traditional music, outdoors activities and heritage events – the Festival offers something for die-hard whisky fans and those who have never tried it before.
For further information and tickets visit www.spiritofspeyside.com. The Festival is also active on social media: facebook.com/WhiskyFestival and @spirit_speyside on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #dram18