Burns Night 2021: Ideas to celebrate Scottish style with haggis, whiskies, and cocktails

21 January 2021, 16:22 | Updated: 22 January 2021, 16:29

Burns Night is celebrated with whisky, poetry and a plate of haggis, neeps and tatties
Burns Night is celebrated with whisky, poetry and a plate of haggis, neeps and tatties. Picture: Getty
Heart reporter

By Heart reporter

January 25th is Burns Night, a special night for Scottish people across the world who pay tribute to their national poet, Robert Burns.

Burns Night is one of the most anticipated nights in the Scottish cultural calendar, celebrating the life of the poet Robert Burns.

He was born on January 25 1759, is best known for the rousing New Year ditty of Auld Lang Syne, but his poetry is just as poignant and treasured, 300 years after his death in 1796.

Traditionally, Scottish people will join together to recite his poems, and celebrate his influence on their national culture.

A dinner of haggis, neeps and tatties is served, with plenty of whisky to wash it down with!

Here's how you can celebrate at home this year...

Robert Burns (also known as 'Rabbie) was born on 25 January 1759
Robert Burns (also known as 'Rabbie) was born on 25 January 1759. Picture: Getty

What to eat

Traditionally haggis is made from minced lamb cooked inside a sheep's stomach, but it's now a dish that vegetarians (and people partaking in Veganuary) can enjoy.

Aldi is selling a classic Scottish Haggis (£1.59) is a tasty meaty and peppery blend of lamb, beef, onion and oatmeal, capturing the traditional haggis taste. New this year is their Veggie Haggis (£1.59) which has a hearty blend of vegetables, seeds, oats, pulses and warming spices.

Enjoy a Burns Night spread in just one mouthful
Enjoy a Burns Night spread in just one mouthful. Picture: Mash Direct
Neeps and tatties are a traditional Burns Night dish
Neeps and tatties are a traditional Burns Night dish. Picture: Mash Direct

A twist on having a whole haggis, Mash Direct are selling Burns Bites (£2.50) which are filled with mashed potato, turnip and Haggis and then coated in a crispy, golden, gluten-free crumb.

They are also selling traditional side dish Neeps & Tatties (£2.50) which combines Mash Direct’s award-winning Mashed Potato and Mashed Turnip with creamy butter.

Scotland might not normally be associated with cheese, but a special selection from Paxton and Whitfield will soon change your mind!

Their January Cheese Treats contains three fine Scottish, artisan cheeses Clava Brie (250g), Isle of Mull (250g) and Auld Reekie (250g).

As well as the cheese, there's everything else you need to make a night of it.

Enjoy three incredible Scottish cheeses and all the trimmings
Enjoy three incredible Scottish cheeses and all the trimmings. Picture: Paxton & Whitfield

It comes with a 50ml bottle of Glenfarclas Single Malt Scotch Whisky, two packets of hand-baked shortbread (170g each and including a deliciously warming stem ginger flavoured shortbread), a jar of Paxton's Apple & Chilli Jelly (113g), a pack of Biscuits for Cheese (250g) and a Paxton & Whitfield tote bag.

It's £60 and available for delivery nationwide.

Every delicious dinner needs a cracking dessert, and it doesn't get much tastier than a dish of indulgent cranachan.

It's a combination of cream and fresh raspberries with toasted Scottish oats and a splash of whisky. You can find a recipe here.

Cocktails

Rogue Wolf by Regal Rogue and LoneWolf Gin

This cocktail is inspired by Robert Burns' poem Parcel o’ Rogues.

Scottish distiller LoneWolf, from BrewDog Distilling Co., collaborated with Australian quaffing vermouth Regal Rogue to make this wintry twist on a negroni.

This cocktail uses Scottish liquor brands
This cocktail uses Scottish liquor brands. Picture: Brewdog

To make, fill a rocks glass with ice, add 25ml LoneWolf Gin, 25ml Regal Rogue Bold Red vermouth, 25ml Campari, a splash of pomegranate juice and garnish with a orange wedge studded with cloves.

Speyburn’s Cranachan – Oat & Raspberry Whisky Cocktail

This tasty twist on the traditional Scottish dessert is a delicious way to round off a Burns Night feast
This tasty twist on the traditional Scottish dessert is a delicious way to round off a Burns Night feast. Picture: Speyburn

Ingredients (for one serving):

60ml Speyburn 10 year old Single Malt Whisky

5 fresh raspberries

15ml Demerara syrup (you can easily make your own!)

20ml Old Pulteney Stroma Whisky liqueur

20ml ginger wine

20ml lemon juice

Ice

Method:

Muddle three raspberries into a shaker and add the measures of Speyburn 10 Year Old, Stroma, syrup, ginger wine and lemon juice.

Add ice and shake for 30 seconds Double strain into a tumbler over ice, allowing the froth to land on the top. Garnish with the remainder of your raspberries and enjoy

Black to Black Old Fashioned

This smokey, sweet spin on a classic makes a fantastic toast to Burns Night
This smokey, sweet spin on a classic makes a fantastic toast to Burns Night. Picture: Two Keys

Ingredients: 

50ml Black Label

50ml Two Keys Black Tea Mixer

5ml 1:1 sugar syrup

Lemon Twist

Method: 

In a tumbler, add a large cube of ice (to allow for a slow melt) and pour in the whisky, sugar syrup and Two Keys Black Tea. After a quick stir, drop in a twist of lemon peel.

Deanston Kentucky Old Fashioned

Deanston Distillery’s Kentucky malt is carefully matured in ex-bourbon casks
Deanston Distillery’s Kentucky malt is carefully matured in ex-bourbon casks . Picture: Deanston Kentucky

To make, add a sugar cube and a wee splash of water to a glass with a dash of bitters and give it a good stir.

Next go in with a cube or two of ice, followed by a good slug of Deanston Kentucky Cask Finish Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Finish with a squeeze of orange and garnish with orange rind.

The Long Fashioned

This is a lovely twist on a favourite cocktail - fruity, refreshing and delicious
This is a lovely twist on a favourite cocktail - fruity, refreshing and delicious . Picture: Crabbies

What you'll need... (simply mix in a tall glass)

1 tsp sugar syrup or 1 tsp granulated sugar

1-2 dashes Angostura bitters

Splash of water

60ml Crabbies Yardhead (or your choice of Scotch whisky or bourbon)

Soda water 

Orange slice

Whiskies

Whisky is a huge part of Scottish culture, and is loved by people across the world.

Figures from the Scotch Whisky Association reveal that in 2019, Scotch Whisky accounted for 75 per cent of Scottish food and drink exports, 21 per cent  of all UK food and drink exports, and 1.4 per cent of all UK goods exports.

There are 133 operating Scotch Whisky distilleries across Scotland, and to be called Scotch Whisky, the spirit must mature in oak casks in Scotland for at least three years.

Bunnahabhain Stiuireadair

This coastal whisky promises to go down a storm on Burns Night
This coastal whisky promises to go down a storm on Burns Night. Picture: Stiuireadair

Stiuireadair is a whisky that truly exposes the coastal nature of Bunnahabhain single malt whisky.

Every drop is matured in first and second fill sherry casks at the distillery's coastline warehouses on Islay, packing it full of sea salt flavour and creamy caramel with hints of nuts and a gentle spice.

Where to buy: Bunnahabhain.com, £38

Old Pulteney 12-Year-Old

It offers up sweet notes of honey and cream which develop into ripe, fruity overtones
It offers up sweet notes of honey and cream which develop into ripe, fruity overtones. Picture: Old Putenay

This sparkling gold single malt hailing from the northerly Scottish coastal town of Wick marries together the briny notes from the sea with the influence of ex-bourbon American oak casks to create Old Pulteney’s classic expression. 

Where to buy: Tesco, £32

Tamdhu Batch Strength No. 005

This whisky is packed with subtle notes of summer berries cutting through rich double cream and freshly baked cookies
This whisky is packed with subtle notes of summer berries cutting through rich double cream and freshly baked cookies. Picture: Tamdhu

Batch Strength No. 005 is bottled unfiltered at 59.8% ABV and boasts a deep, natural copper hue.

Oloroso sherry seasoned casks from the bodegas of Jerez, Spain give this whisky a subtle waft of warm vanilla and cinnamon spice on the nose. 

Where to buy: Tamdhu, RRP £79.99 

Glengoyne 10 Years Old

This whisky has sweet and spicy notes on the palate with soft oak, liquorice, and subtle spice
This whisky has sweet and spicy notes on the palate with soft oak, liquorice, and subtle spice. Picture: Glengoyne

Glengoyne is Scotland’s slowest distilled malt and the 10 Year Old is a great representation of the smooth but complex spirit.

A slightly nutty aroma on the nose is met with sweet toffee and fresh green apples. 

Where to buy: Glengoyne, RRP £39.99 

Regions of Scotland Tasting Set from Drinks by the Dram

Enjoy the taste of Scotland's best distilleries with this tasting kit
Enjoy the taste of Scotland's best distilleries with this tasting kit. Picture: Drinks by the Dram

Explore the five regions of Scotland with this set of five 3cl drams of whisky. Including whisky from the peaty, smoky Islay; the fruity, malty Highlands; the soft, floral Lowlands; and the honeyed, often Sherried Speyside and more.

Where to buy: Masterofmalt.com, £26.95

Aerolite Lyndsay from The Character of Islay Whisky Company

This is a deliciously aromatic serve with tones of bonfire smoke and toffee penny, with a pinch of salt
This is a deliciously aromatic serve with tones of bonfire smoke and toffee penny, with a pinch of salt. Picture: The Character of Islay Whisky Company

Aerolite Lyndsay is a 10-year-old single malt peated whisky which is sourced from an undisclosed distillery on Islay and rested in a mixture of bourbon barrels and Spanish oak sherry quarter casks.

It has lots of maritime peat, with notes of iodine intertwined with honey sweetness, paprika, salted caramel and old bookshelves.

Available at masterofmalt.com, £39.95

Glasshouse Whisky

Glasshouse whisky is delicious mixed with soda water for a lighter Burns Night tipple
Glasshouse whisky is delicious mixed with soda water for a lighter Burns Night tipple. Picture: Glasshouse Whisky

Glasshouse Whisky is a bright and fruity spirit specifically designed for long drinks, and is blended with the whisky highball in mind - a mix of whisky and soda water.

here to buy: Glasshouse-whisky.com, £29

What do you say to a haggis on Burns Night?

This poem is traditionally recited on Burns Night after the haggis has been brought in and set on the table.

It is written in old Scottish, and is a bit of a tongue twister!

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftan o’ the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe or thairm: Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber mead.His knife see Rustic-labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit hums.Is there that owere his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect scunner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An’ legs, an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratfu’ prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!