Bars and restaurants will be celebrating the memory of Scottish poet Robert Burns on Burns Night on Sunday January 25 but bartenders have been coming up with alternative commemorative toasts to a dram of whisky or a classic Rob Roy.
At The New Angel, which opened last summer in Notting Hill, west London, owner John Burton-Race has been inspired by a love affair that Burns had with Agnes McLehose from 1787 to 1788, which inspired his poem, Ae Fond Kiss.
The Clarinda (pictured above) – named for Burns’s nickname for her – is a mix of The Famous Grouse whisky with fresh cream, Moscatel Pasas sherry by Cesar Florido, and amaretto. It is served chilled in a martini cocktail glass, garnished with grated chocolate and nutmeg.
John said: “As this will be our first Burns Night here at The New Angel, we wanted to offer something a little different that would capture the charisma and romance that is associated with Scotland’s finest poet and its national drink. A good whisky is complex and delicate, just like Burns’s very own Clarinda.”
Michael Stringer of events and drinks consultancy Blackleaf Events has created a cocktail called The Haggis Manhattan (pictured) for toasting the poet on Burns Night.
It uses a large measure of Talisker 10-year-old whisky stirred down with Regal Rogue red vermouth, orange oils, Angostura Bitters and a home-made haggis spiced syrup.
Michael explains: “The spiciness of the haggis syrup lends itself well to the light peaty flavour of the Talisker 10 and sweet flavour of the Regal Rogue vermouth. The orange peel and bitters help to provide a delicate depth of flavour to the entire cocktail.”
It is being served at several Burns Night events being run by Blackleaf, including the Angus Lawson Memorial Trust Burns Night Supper in central London on February 5.
The Haggis Manhattan by Michael Stringer
50ml Talisker 10 Year Old whisky
20ml Regal Rogue Rouge vermouth
15ml Haggis spiced syrup
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Oils from one orange peel
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with plenty of cubed ice and stir. Fine-strain the mixture into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with an orange twist.
Reverend JW Simpson bar in Fitzrovia will be celebrating Robert Burns with a scotch whisky master class on February 27 as part of its Spirited Sermons programme.
The interactive and irreverent evening will be hosted by Chivas Regal brand ambassador Rachel Macdonald, who will take people on a journey that explores the distinct character, flavour and taste experience of the whisky.
Rev JW Simpson’s bartenders will demonstrate how to use the whisky’s unique flavours to create beautiful, delicate and delicious cocktails, giving guests the chance to shake or stir their own Burns Night cocktail at a mobile bar.
There will also be a soundtrack of music from Scotland, Scottish snacks and a special menu of cocktails inspired by Burns’s poems. Tickets at £25 include two cocktails and a tasting flight of three whiskies.
The cocktails will include Ae Fond Kiss, mixing Chivas Regal with honey water that has been infused with rooibos tea plus a dash of Whisky Barrel Aged Bitters, all stirred together and “finished with a kiss”.
For Tae a Mouse, a seasonal light blood orange syrup is shaken with Chivas Regal 12-year-old, lemon juice, egg white and a dash of chocolate orange bitters.
The Tam o Shanter is a warming spiced mix of Chivas Regal, herbal liqueur and spiced banana puree sharpened with lemon and rounded with a dash of honey.
My Love Is Like a Red Red Rose at Reverend JW Simpson
50ml Chivas Regal 12 Year Old
5ml Sugar syrup
1 dash of orange and mandarin bitters
Stir all the ingredients together and serve straight up, with lemon oils and dried rose buds.