Burns Night 2022: 7 whisky ideas to celebrate Robert Burns
Poetry recitals are, of course, optional.
Burns Night lands on 25 January, a Tuesday this year. It’s a celebration of Scottish poet Robert Burns.
But even if you cringe involuntarily at the mere mention of poetry, there’s a lot of fun to be had on Burns Night. While the last few years have been different given lockdowns and the like, you can still try a new whisky or two at home or eat a slap-up Burns Night supper of haggis, neeps and tatties.
Here are some more specific ideas to get you started and also a few questions answered for you:
When is Burns Night?
Burns Night is 25th January and is traditionally celebrated with some haggis and a wee dram or two of whisky.
What is Burns Night in aid of?
It's not just a celebration of all things Scottish but a day to mark the birthday of Robert Burns. 'Rabbie' Burns is Scotland's best-known poet and if you grew up in Scotland, like our editor, then you should have many a certificate with his face on after correctly reciting his poems.
Poems? Which Robert Burns poems should I learn?
Well, there's To a Mouse which has the immortal line: "Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie, O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!" He also wrote Auld Lang's Syne (you know, the song you only know the first verse to and sing drunkingly on New Year's Eve) and the brilliant Tam o' Shanter.
Head to the fantastic Scottish Poetry Library for more examples.
What should I eat and drink on Burns Night?
Haggis and whisky. That's pretty much it really, alongside neeps and tatties. If you want to be a little more traditional, then when eating the haggis you can recite Rabbie Burns' Address To a Haggis before devouring the thing.
- Skip straight to the booze with our best whisky shortlist
- These are the best gifts for whisky lovers
- And here's the best whisky tumblers to put your whisky in
Burns Night 2022: 7 things to do
1. Aberfeldy x Canvas - A Modern Burns Night cocktail kit
There are still some delivery dates available for this one. We've sampled it and it's an excellent cocktail kit, comprising: six cocktail serves, two birchwood coasters, Mackie's Haggis Crisps, a sea rose-scented Canvas room spray, a bespoke playlist of modern Scottish music, and links to videos to guide the experience from your bartenders.
The cocktails you can make all use Aberfeldy 12 and are refreshing spins on traditional whisky cocktails.
2. Dewar’s X All in a Box Burns Night
If you fancy Burns Night with a difference, then this All in a Box Burns Night feast, in association with Dewar's Caribbean Smooth whisky, is ideal. Not only do you get a couple of very Scottish cocktails: New Town (features Irn Bru-mouth!), you also get a fantastic Scottish meal with a Caribbean twist, which includes: a haggis scotch egg (with an Iron-Bru sweet chilli dip), jerk chicken with neeps, tatties and plantain mash, and haggis hash brown with scotch bonnet salsa!
All of this is complimented with its very own playlist.
3. Deanston 18 Year Old
We can't think of a better way to celebrate Burns Night than having a dram of the official whisky of the year, as chosen by The Whisky Exchange. There's currently £11 off of a bottle right now and we have taste tested this one. It's packed with rich fruit notes and a creaminess that lingers - lovely stuff!
4. Gladstone Axe Whisky Tasting Gift Set
Gladstone Axe has a really nice gift set to purchase right now. In it, you get the two versions of Gladstone Axe (American Oak: A Highland Malt Whisky selected from 14 distilleries; and The Black Axe: A blend of Highland and Islay malt whiskeys) and two whisky tumblers.
These are whiskies that are ideal for cocktails mixing and the folks at Gladstone Axe have created their version of the The Rob Roy, which you can make as follows:
40ml Gladstone Axe
1 to 2 dashes of bitters (to taste)
Into a mixing glass filled with ice, add The Gladstone Axe Whisky, Vermouth and bitters. Stir well and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry
5. Scotch Malt Whisky Society virtual Big Burns BashWatch on YouTube from 27 January
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has revealed that it is hosting a virtual Big Burns Bash to celebrate Robert Burns. This one is happening 27 January (Thursday, 8 pm until 10 pm GMT), is available to members and non members and will take place on both Facebook and YouTube. In the two hours there will be poetry reading and music, from the likes of Vic Galloway, Tam Dean Burn, Len Pennie and Steve Newland, so make sure you have the perfect dram with you when watching.
6. The Drinks Drop x Glenfarclas - The Burns Night Collection
We were really impressed with these whisky cocktails from The Drinks Drop. Packaging wise, it's slim enough to slip through your letter box. But it's what inside that counts and here you have two bespoke cocktails that use Glenfarclas Highland Single Malt Whisky.
The cocktails are: a Strawberry and Balsamic Rob Roy (Strawberry infused Glenfarclas 105 Whisky, Cocchi Rosa, Strawberry Aperitif, Balsamic Vinegar, Orange Bitters); and Coffee and Cacao Bobby Burns (Cacao infused Glenfarclas 105 Whisky, Mr Black Coffee Liqueur, Chcoclate Wine, Benedictine, Chocolate Bitters). Two very different cocktails but both are sure to bookend your Burns Night celebrations beautifully.
7. Smokehead Twisted Stout
We are big fans of whisky brands trying to do something a little different and that's exactly what Smokehead is doing. With the tagline, Not For Everyone, Smokehead is aiming its whiskies at the non traditionalists and its latest expression is a limited edition Stout edition. It's a single malt that's been partly finished in stout casks which offers up chocolate, treacle and salty smoke notes