In honor of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, Burns Night is held annually on January 25th.
On this day, heart and blood Scots around the world celebrate the Scottish bard by raising a dram on his birthday and hosting traditional festivities.
Not a whisky fan? Caorunn Scottish Gin is a great alternative. The gin created a cocktail that you might enjoy after a long evening of whisky and haggis, using a traditional Scottish dessert as inspiration.
Cranachan Cocktail for Burns Night
- 35ml Caorunn Gin
- 15ml Calvados
- 15ml Honey Syrup
- 15ml Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 5 Fresh Raspberries
- 20ml Pasteurized Egg White
- Cinnamon Stick and Cinnamon Sugar (for Garnish)
Preparation: Shake first six ingredients and double strain into highball glass filled with ice and top with soda water. Garnish with large cinnamon stick and cinnamon sugar dusting.
Cranachan (a traditional Scottish dessert of oats, cream, whisky, and raspberries) is the most popular Scottish dessert associated with traditional meals so the recipe plays with the flavors and ingredients found in it.
Also, Caorunn Gin is very focused on including apples (one of the locally foraged ingredients is the Coul Blush apple, and their Gin & Tonic perfect serve uses red apple slices as the garnish), so rather than using apple as a direct ingredient, this cocktail uses Calvados (apple brandy) to bring apple into the recipe and also bring additional complexity and depth. Apple and raspberry is a very classic Scottish flavor combination.
Want to throw an official Burns supper?
VisitScotland invites you to join Scots all over the world in raising a dram to Robert Burns, on his birthday January 25th. In Scotland’s year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, discover some of the traditions and festivities linked to Robert Burns, the Ayrshire ploughman who became one of the world’s best-known poets.
Beat the blues by sharing the spirit of Scotland, get your pals together for ‘auld lang syne’ or old times’ sake and host your own Burns supper. It’s a night for anyone whose heart is in the Highlands’!
So, how do you throw a Burns supper?
To start – everyone gathers, the host says a few words, everyone sits, and the Selkirk Grace is said.
The meal – the starter is served, perhaps cock-a-leekie soup, the haggis is piped in, the host performs Address to a Haggis, everyone toasts the haggis, and the main meal is served, followed by dessert, often Cranachan.
After the meal – the first Burns recital is performed, the Immortal Memory (the main tribute speech to Burns) is given, the second Burns recital is performed, and then there’s a Toast to the Lassies, followed by a Reply to the Toast to the Lassies before the final Burns recital is performed.
To end the night – the host gives a vote of thanks, everyone stands and sings Auld Lang Syne, crossing their arms and joining hands at the line ‘And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!”
Impress your friends with Burns quotes!
“There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.”
“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley.”
“But to see her was to love her, Love but her, and love forever.”
For further recipe inspirations, ideas on how to perfect your toast, plus more on the main man himself, check out VisitScotland’s handy Burn’s Night Guide.
Some facts about Robert Burns
- Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759 in Alloway in Ayrshire.
- Despite his short life (he died at 37), Burns left a huge catalogue of poetry and songs that have been poured over, enjoyed and spoken aloud for over 200 years.
- Burns penned his first poem at age 15.
- In his personal life, Burns dedicated hundreds of lines of verse to women and went on to father 12 children, 9 to his wife Jean Armour.
- For all his fame, Burns never forgot his humble roots. His love for farming stayed with him throughout his life, and his writing often dealt with issues affecting the poorer classes, notably highlighting the need for greater social equality.
- The first Burns supper was held in July 1801 when nine of Burns’ close friends got together to mark the fifth anniversary of their friend’s death. Taking place at Burns Cottage in Alloway, the night included a tasty meal (haggis, of course!), performances of Burns’ work, and a speech in honor of the great Bard (now known as the Immortal Memory).
- The night was such a resounding success that they decided to hold it again (this time in honor of Burns’ birthday), beginning the tradition we still enjoy to this day.