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To Rabbie Burns

A homage to Scotland’s national poet, made with its most versatile spirit.

Whisky is the world’s favourite spirit, and Scotch the world’s favourite whisky. No other liquid can offer the same range of textures, flavours and even inspiration, as Scotch Whisky. From the smokiest to fruitiest, from the rich to the meaty – it’s said there’s a Scotch for everyone. It’s understandable then that this most versatile of spirits should inspire a homage to another of the country’s much-loved exports, the Bard of Ayrshire, Robert Burns.

But first, a bit of background. It’s a fact that once you love Scotch Whisky, you’ll look for any reason to toast it – and by extension its mother country. Which is no doubt why Burns Night is celebrated so passionately around the globe. Every 25th January, Scots and the rest of the world’s whisky lovers mark the birth of the bard with a Burns Night Supper.

The haggis is brought in on silver platter to the sound of bagpipes, and Burns’ poetry read – including the address ‘To The Haggis’ – and toast after toast made with Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The night is a celebration of the poet’s creativity, love of whisky and all that is brilliant about Scotland.

So, to mark Burns night 2016, Ryan Chetiyawardana, international bartender of the year 2015, has delved into the recipe archives to create a cocktail inspired by the way Robert Burns might have enjoyed his whisky.

It’s a nod to the Highland Cordial, Highland Bitters, punch and Atholl Brose. Ryan is a massive Lagavulin fan, and because it’s the 200th anniversary of the distillery this year, he’s made this legendary malt the hero of the piece. It’s a cocktail that can be made using kitchen ingredients. We served it in scallop shells as a reminder of the beautiful Islay shoreline, which you can do too, if you happen to have any lying around at home.

The Bard's Dream
Created by Ryan Chetiyawardana AKA Mr Lyan
Preparation time 10 mins
Serves 4


  • 1tsp coriander seeds, toasted
  • 3tbsp porridge oats, toasted
  • 3tsp redcurrant jelly/cranberry jelly/lingonberry jam/strawberry jam
  • 600ml boiling water
  • Angostura bitters
  • 150ml Lagavulin 16yo


  1. Toast the seeds in a dry pan and then add the oats for 2 minutes.
  2. Put in a heatproof jug or cafetiere and add the redcurrant jelly and water. Stir vigorously to help the jelly dissolve.
  3. Leave to infuse for five minutes and strain.
  4. Add six dashes of angostura to a jug and pour 3 parts of your infusion to 1 part whisky.
  5. Raise a toast to Robert Burns.

Enjoy either warm, at room temperature or cold.

Serve shot with Ryan and Donald

Connect with Donald and Ryan