Celebrate Burns Night
The famous poet Robert Burns is a man well worth celebrating. He is the official poet of Scotland and celebrated on the night of his birthday, January 25th.
He was known to be a big fan of Scotch whiskey so the cocktail, Bobby Burns, was made in his honor. If you can’t find or afford 12 years aged Scotch don’t sweat it.
Just make sure you use the Benedictine! Burns was known for writing a lot about the political climate of his generation which included the French Revolution.
It’s essentially a straight cocktail so the only variant is the brand of Scotch whiskey you choose to use. Whatever you do, just make sure you sip on it and save it for the toast at the end of the Burns Supper!
A brief history:
Robert Burns’ literary work addressed political and civil issues. Perhaps his best-known work is "Auld Lang Syne", which is sung at New Year's Eve celebrations in Scotland and in other parts of the United Kingdom.
He had many aliases, and was also known as: "Rabbie Burns"; the "Bard of Ayrshire"; "Scotland's favorite son"; and in Scotland "The Bard". It was his close acquaintances who began the tradition of celebrating his life. They held the first Burns supper on July 21, the anniversary of his death, in Ayrshire, Scotland, in the late 1700s. The date was later changed to January 25, his birthday.
Burns Supper and Burns Night is an event filled with Scottish traditions. Formal events include toasts and readings of pieces written by Robert Burns. To begin, everyone gathers, the host says a few words, everyone sits and the Selkirk Grace prayer is said.
The evening centers on the entrance of the haggis (a type of sausage prepared in a sheep's stomach) on a large platter to the sound of a piper playing bagpipes. When the haggis is on the table, the host reads the "Address to a Haggis". This is an ode that Robert Burns wrote to the Scottish dish. At the end of the reading, the haggis is ceremonially sliced into two pieces and the meal begins.
After the meal is finished, it is time for the first Burns recital performance, the main tribute speech called the Immortal Memory is given, the second Burns recital is performed, then there’s a Toast to the Lassies, followed by a Reply to the Toast to the Lassies, before a third and final Burns recital is performed.
The men wear kilts and women wear shawls, skirts or dresses made from their family tartan. A tartan was originally a woolen cloth with a distinctive pattern made by using colors of weft and warp when weaving. Certain patterns and combinations of colors were symbols of pride of different areas, clans, and families.
Many historians believe Robert Burns suffered from manic depression. A few times Burns himself referred to suffering from episodes of what he called "blue devilism".
There's no doubt the man liked his drink strong and stiff, but beautiful works of art came from this complex man. A Bobby Burns may be the elixir to bring out the Burns in you!
Let us know about any other traditions we might have missed or how you make a Bobby Burns! Thanks for reading, and as always...