Tonight is Robbie Burns night. It’s the night of the year when the national poet of Scotland, Robert Burns (1759-1796), is celebrated with fêtes, food, and fine whiskey. Since my son Duncan’s father is a Scot, we do celebrate a few traditions of his heritage, such as the first footing to our home on New Year’s Day, and food and drink as well, the Hare Pie from Theresa Carle-Sanders’ Outlander Kitchen being one.
We won’t be having the traditional haggis tonight, or a hare pie, but we certainly will be toasting with a good scotch whiskey, and some Atholl Brose.
My dear friend Cheryl, whose heritage is Scottish also, introduced me to Atholl Brose a few years back. It’s a drink made from two very Scottish things…whiskey and oats. Theodora Fitzgibbon says in her book, A Taste of Scotland (1970), that it’s been “famous since 1475 and is named after the then Duke of Atholl who captured his great enemy, the Earl of Ross, by filling the well at which Ross was known to drink with this potent libation. Ross drank deeply of this magical liquor and was taken.”
The 8th Duke of Atholl’s Recipe for Atholl Brose (1475)
3 ounces (3 heaped tablespoons) oatmeal
Now for a bit of my life trivia…
I used to perform and record with a Celtic group in the 1980’s. I played hammered dulcimer and sang. Of all the songs and tunes we performed, “Highland Laddie” was my favorite song to sing. Although, this isn’t me singing it, (I have to figure out how to convert the cassette tape recording into an MP4 file), here is a wonderful version by the Tannahill Weavers.
And if that weren’t enough…Beethoven even composed a version of “Bonnie Laddie, Highland Laddie.”