DIGITAL BURNS SUPPER
Fair fa’ your online face!
Burns Nights this year will be a bright candle burning in the gloom of a Covid winter. It presents a great chance for us to gather friends, have some fun and share an evening of food, poems and drams. Things will of course have to be a bit different this year, so here’s Alistair Heather’s guide on how to celebrate a digital Burns Night
WORDS: ALISTAIR HEATHER
The evening begins with a reading, and a broth. One of your company should pronounce the Selkirk Grace, the famous Burns thanksgiving for the simple things in life. The soup is usually a warming lentil or perhaps Cock a’ Leekie. An ideal dram to invigorate the palate at this early stage would be something from the Society’s Young and Spritely flavour profile. As we tuck into our soup, we can enjoy the first entertainment of the night. Breabach are a modern Scots folk group at the top of their game, and this is their rendition of a pair of Burns classics.
WHISKY PAIRING: KICK YOUR EVENING OFF WITH A YOUNG & SPRITELY FLAVOUR PROFILE BOTTLING
Then, it’s onto the main event; the haggis. Those lucky enough to live near a good Scottish butcher can avail themselves of a premium quality example, heavy on spices and pepper, freshly bagged in a glen that same morning. International relations might settle for a Grant’s canned alternative. Make sure it’s piping hot, whether it comes from pot, oven or microwave, get some bashit neeps an champit tatties* alongside it, and settle in for one of Burns’s big hitters: the Address to a Haggis*. This was the first published of Burns’s work, when he was still a young lad. Whoever reads it can infuse it with all the energy, warmth and good humour that the evening deserves! The haggis loves a dram that brings out its spiciness and earthy oatmeal flavours, but doesn’t overpower.
WHISKY PAIRING: SPICY AND SWEET OR LIGHTLY PEATED FLAVOUR PROFILES
*Burns of course is celebrated in many languages around the world. Our own honorary ambassador Hans Offringa has even translated the Address to a Haggis into Dutch - click here for that!
As we get stuck into our mains, we can enjoy the Burns romantic classic My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose, a favourite for serenading Scots for centuries.
I would encourage everyone to have a bash at making their own version of the pudding. The ‘cranachan’ might sound like some Gaelic sea serpent, but it is in fact a tasty and easy to make dessert; a chaos of sharp raspberries, cream, oats, whisky and honey. Once the haggis is by, and you’ve all taken the time to share a few stories, wheel out the dessert.
WHISKY PAIRING: JUICY, OAK & VANILLA FLAVOUR PROFILE
At this point in the evening, the speechifying generally commences. If you’ve a great speaker or two in your group, ask them in advance if they’ll prepare an Immortal Memory. This is a short speech that reflects upon the deeper resonances of the Bard’s great works. Often these are followed by two light-hearted speeches, the Address to the Lassies, and the Lassies Response. These draw inspiration from Burns’s lighter verses, and set up a comedic exchange of overwrought compliments then outright condemnations between the genders.
Find your perfect Burns Night bottling in your latest Outturn
There’s no rush to the exits, no curfews on a digital Burns Night. Enjoy the company. You’ll see each other soon, as the Covid tide recedes. Make plans to do the Burns Night in person next year. Your Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits should carry the evening along nicely. When it does come time to draw proceedings to a close, there’s only one way to end it; Burns’s internationally celebrated classic, Auld Lang Syne.
*bashit neeps an champit tatties = turnip and mashed potato.
BURNS NIGHT HOME DINING FROM THE SMWS
The SMWS has launched a home dining experience especially for Burns Night, which is now available for delivery throughout the mainland UK.
The three-course dinner includes three cask strength single malt Society whiskies. Our food comes ready to heat up with a video from our executive head chef James Freeman, who will show you how to prepare your meal and plate up like a pro.
All that’s left for you to do is sit back and enjoy your meal while our ambassadors take you through each dram via video.
Find out more and order by going clicking on the link below.