Burns Nicht Cocktail

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Christopher Hirst hails a great cocktail for Burns Night – even if it’s named for Bobby not Robbie

What better celebration of Burns’ Night, which falls on Thursday 25 January, than one of the handful of cocktails that utilises the potion referred to by the late Alistair Cooke as ‘the golden wine of Old Scotland’. We are assured by at least one cocktail guide (Drinkology by James Waller) that the Bobby Burns cocktail is ‘named for the poet who penned Auld Lang Syne’. The Bard of Ayr also penned a ditty in honour of Scotch (‘John Barleycorn was a hero bold,/ Of noble enterprise,/ For if you but taste his blood,/ ’Twill make your courage rise’). But hang on a mo’. Burns was Robbie not Bobby. The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book (1935) suggests a more plausible provenance. ‘It may have been named after the celebrated Scotsman. Chances are, however, that it was christened in honour of a cigar salesman.’ The latter was an ardent patron of the bar in the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar before it was demolished in 1929 to make way for the Empire State Building. Either way, the Bobby Burns utilises the elegance of fine Scotch while finessing its hefty bite. Certainly a drink that should not be forgot even if its namesake has been.

  • 60ml blended Scotch
  • 30ml red vermouth
  • Two dashes Benedictine

Shake vigorously with whole ice cubes. Strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze ribbon of lemon zest over drink and drop in

Photo credit: Umami Mart, visualhunt.com/re/3032fa