Joe Rogers

The best cocktails for Burns Night

Try your whisky or gin with a twist

  • From Spectator Life

Tomorrow evening, fans of whisky, poetry and sheep offal will come together to celebrate the birthday of the great Robert Burns. In the dog days of January there are few pleasures as great as demolishing a plate of haggis while trying to twist your tongue around Burns’s immortal verse. No Burns supper is complete without a few drams to raise in tribute.

However, you need not feel constrained to drink your Scotch only neat or with plain water. These cocktails are intended to show the range and versatility of Scotch whisky. There’s also a gin number thrown in for good measure in case your guests prefer to raise a glass of Scotland’s other national drink.

Bowmore Beachcomber

Tropical flavours might not immediately spring to mind when you think of whisky – especially one from the windswept western Hebrides. But single malts like Bowmore, with its rich fruity notes and subtle smokiness, make an excellent company for pineapple and citrus. 

What you need
– 50ml Bowmore 12 Year Old
– 10ml Cointreau
– 2 dashes Angostura bitters
– Pineapple soda
– Limes

How to make it

Cut three lime wedges and squeeze two into a highball glass. Add all the other ingredients, except the soda, and then fill your glass to the brim with nice big ice cubes. Top slowly with the pineapple soda and give a gentle stir to combine. Garnish with your reserved lime wedge and one of those paper umbrellas if you have them to hand.

Bowmore 12 Year old (£35.95, The Whisky Exchange) is packed with aromas of barbecued pineapple, coconut and vanilla. It remains one of the best value single malts out there and works equally well in a tasting glass as in a cocktail. Combine it with sweet Cointreau (£16.50, Waitrose) and spicy Angostura (£10, Amazon) and you’ve got the makings of a serious highball. There are lots of options out there for the pineapple soda, but if you can get hold of Jarritos from Mexico (£2.49,

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