My husband planned a Burns Night event recently and I was asked, “if I had some extra time”, to come up with a signature cocktail for the evening. If you know anything about the nature of Burns Night celebrations, Scotch whisky is probably the most popular and appropriate drink for the occasion – to the point that it might be considered sacrilege to serve or drink anything else. However, for those who don’t care much for Scotch, such as myself, I took the task of coming up with an alternate, and appropriately themed, beverage, with utmost seriousness and importance.
Initially, I searched for “Burns Night cocktails” only to be dismayed that most of the cocktails included Scotch whisky in them. But, there was one, the “Bobby Burns” that suggested the use of Drambuie in lieu of another ingredient. Hmmm…so what is this “Drambuie”? I know I’ve seen it before, in Scotland and here, but I had never tried or used it. Drambuie is a liqueur made from blended Scotch whisky, honey, herbs and spices. If you want more information about the interesting history, which goes back to Bonnie Prince Charlie, I would recommend visiting the company’s web site HERE.
In my limited experience of creating cocktails for events, I have learned that, out of respect for the sanity of the bartenders tending the event, the cocktail needs to be relatively simple. For this one, my inspiration came from the “Scarlett Kiss”, which is quite simply a combination of cranberry juice and Drambuie. Of course, to change things up a bit and make it a little unique for this festive occasion, I opted to try it with cranberry blood orange juice (that I conveniently picked up earlier knowing it would make a great mixer in something).
Red Rose of Scotland
Credit: Food.com – mersaydees
- 2.5 oz cranberry blood orange juice
- 1.5 oz Drambuie
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice.
- Pour cranberry blood orange juice and Drambuie over ice. Add dash of Angostura bitters.
- Stir gently.
Drambuie is a sweet liqueur on its own, so mixing it with a sweet juice makes for a sweet drink. Would plain cranberry juice work in this?…sure. That is what the “Scarlet Kiss” uses. Get an unsweetened cranberry juice if you want to take the sweetness down a notch. The flavor of the blood orange adds complexity, plus the color works. For those that question the use of bitters in a cocktail, I would suggest trying your own experiment – take a sip without the bitters, then try it with. The bitters blends the flavors together and balances out some of the sweetness. Angostura bitters seemed to be a better complement to the Drambuie in this case. I found it very difficult to drink only one. Cheers!