The night celebrates the greatest Scottish bard to ever live, Robert Burns, who was well known for writing in the Scottish vernacular.
Burns Night TraditionsThere are lots of different traditions that go along with Burns’ Night, and most importantly for us, lots involving Scotch Whisky.
Food plays a massive part in the holiday and what better way to celebrate the best Scottish poet than with a perfect combination of food and Whisky.
To StartWe suggest starting with something like smoked Scottish salmon. Salmon has such a natural but rich flavour; it’s the best way to start celebrating in style. Maybe add some rye bread and cress on the side to really hit the mark.
The best dram to pair this with is going to be something peated, to really bring out those smoky notes.
The perfect Whisky is a Ballantine’s 17 Year Old. It has subtle notes of smoke, with hints of bitter coffee and sweet vanilla. A slightly sugary note comes through on the palate, but it is the eathiness that really sets this malt apart. It will go excellently with the richness of the salmon, and bring out some really fresh and crisp flavours.
Other choice Whiskies would include The Balvenie 17 Year Old Doublewood, Oban 14 Year Old and Highland Park 12 Year Old.
Main CourseIt wouldn’t be Burns Night if you didn’t have haggis, neeps and taties. To the uninitiated, that means haggis, swede and potatoes.
This is one of the most important traditions on Burns Night. Haggis, neeps and tatties is a thoroughly Scottish meal and you just can’t celebrate Burns without it.
Haggis is the most important part of this meal, and Burns himself even wrote a poem dedicated to the dish, titled Address to a Haggis. It gets piped in by bagpipers and has Whisky poured on it in celebration.
The perfect pairing for this is Bruichladdich Octomore. It is dense with peat smoke and will really bring out the peppery spice of the meat. The peat is warming and earthy, with big aromatic notes of heather and herbs. This will really bring the flavours to life. It also has a slightly sweet note, which again will only serve to enhance the flavours of the haggis.
You can also pair this with Talisker 10 Year Old, Lagavulin16 Year Old and the Bowmore 15 Year.
DessertThe best way to finish the night is with a hearty serving of cranachan. This dish is made from oats, whipped cream, honey, Whisky and raspberries. Mix it all together and you get the most amazing dessert.
We’ve gone with a Craigellachie 13 Year Old to really bring out the sweet notes. Again, it has a slightly smoky background, but this goes perfectly with the tart raspberries. The peat also adds to the oats, which also combine with sweeter notes of oak wood and malted grains. Exotic fruits give it a nice dessert feel, adding another layer of flavour to the overall dish.
Auchentoshan American Oak, Aberlour Casg Annamh Batch 1 and the Glenfarclas 25 Year Old are also great when paired with cranachan.
Burns’ Night is the best time of year to celebrate all things Scottish and these combinations bring together the best in the country’s cuisine and Whisky.
Rabbie Burns would be proud! Slainte!