Cocktail of the Week: The Bobby Burns

Cocktail of the Week: The Bobby Burns

Slàinte Mhath!

News | 21 Jan 2022 | By Beatrix Swanson

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Scottish national poet Robert Burns, born 25 January 1759, is celebrated on that day every year by both Scots and Scotland-lovers. ‘Burns Night’ traditionally involves a dinner of haggis (a savoury pudding containing primarily sheep’s innards and oatmeal), mashed neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes) and – of course – lots of good drink.

Burns’ most well-known work is that holiday classic, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, and this cocktail, of which several versions exist, is essentially a riff on another old classic: the Manhattan. Though it makes the perfect toast to Bobby on his special day, it is also described, in Harry Craddock’s 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book (from which our recipe is taken), as “a very fast mover on Saint Andrew’s Day”.

It’s not entirely clear that this cocktail was in fact named after the poet Robert Burns – some early recipes call it a ‘Baby Burns’, and the cigar manufacturer Robert Burns has been mooted as the origin of the ‘Bobby Burns’ name.

Whatever this drink’s history, why not mix one for yourself this Burns Night?


½ Italian vermouth
½ Scotch whisky
3 dashes Bénédictine [some recipes specify Drambuie instead, and some add a few dashes of bitters too, preferably Peychaud rather than Angostura]


Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.
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