The Bard, Scotland’s favourite son, Rabbie Burns (1759-1796) enjoyed a drink. He loved life, and enjoyed many a raucous party. But what would he have drunk?
As a farmer by trade, and a trained excisemen later in life, Rabbie would have encountered many small batch (illegal) distillers. Practically every other farmer would be making a barley spirit to keep away the cold, barter with or pay rent. Here are some distilleries that were officially established during Robert Burn’s lifetime, that still exist today:
Another option is new make spirit. Many of the illicit distillers at that time would just drink un-aged barley spirit. Glenglassaugh Distillery New Make was released to show the quality of their spirit prior to barrelling.
In the poem “My Bonie Mary” he asks to get a pint of wine. We wouldn’t recommend a pint, but we can recommend a wine. Claret would have been his drink if he was drinking with gentry, as it was held in high regard.
Berry Brother’s Good Ordinary Claret: Berry Brothers were established in 1698, and would have brought in quite a bit of French wine, although wars may have halted these imports (England was at war with France quite a bit in the 1700’s).
In his last days, Robert Burns moved to Edinburgh to try to make his writing career a success. There, he would have probably enjoyed an ale (Edinburgh being one of the biggest brewing cities in the UK at the time).
Barney’s Lapsang Smoked Porter: Although not around during Burn’s lifetime, Barney’s brewery is in a very beer orientated area of the city (the Usher’s lived there, of Usher’s Beer Usher’s Whisky and Usher Hall fame).
Barney’s is a relatively new brewery, producing exciting ales like this smoked porter. We are sure the Bard would have given it a try.
Have a great Burn’s night folks.