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Atholl Brose

Liqueur Day

Oct 16

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

Honey, whisky, oatmeal

The brew is first recorded in 1475 during the campaign of the Earl of Atholl to capture Iain MacDonald, Lord of the Isles who was leading a rebellion against the king. Hearing that MacDonald drank from a small well, the Earl ordered it to be filled with honey, whisky and oatmeal. Allegedly, MacDonald stayed sampling the delicious concoction and was captured!

Atholl Brose

October 16th is Liqueur Day!   Technically, liqueurs are alcoholic beverages (15% - 55% alcohol by volume) with added sugar and flavors usually derived from fruits, herbs, or nuts.  

There are berry, chocolate, coffee, cream, flower, fruit, herbal, honey, nut, and many classic Scottish whisky liqueurs, many of which have their own Scottish Country namesake dance including: Atholl Brose, Bruadar, Cock o'the North, Drambuie, Famous Grouse, Glayva, Old Pulteney, and Stag's Breath.

Atholl Brose (or Athol Brose, Athole Brose) is made from oatmeal brosehoneywhisky, and sometimes cream (particularly on festive occasions).  Atholl Brose is also sometimes the alternative name for the dessert Cranachan, which uses similar ingredients.

According to legend, the drink is named after the 1st Earl of Atholl, who quashed a Highland rebellion in 1475 by filling the rebel leader's well with the mixture, making him easily captured.

Atholl Brose is a traditional Hogmanay drink for Canada's Seaforth Highlanders, where it is served in the Officers' Messes early on New Years' Day and other special occasions. 

Following is their recipe for producing 1100 one ounce servings.  You may wish to adjust quantities, and search out  lady's silk stocking for authenticity in preparation.


Atholl Brose

-12 quarts table cream

-12 quarts water

-6 pounds of groats (steel-cut oatmeal)

-3 pounds liquid honey

-12 quarts Scotch whisky (9 quarts 'Ballantines' or equivalent, 3 quarts Talisker, Laphraoig or equivalent )

-6 to 9 bottles Drambuie, to taste.

Place oatmeal in large stone crock. Add honey, then the water and stir until honey is just about dissolved. Cover crock with a towel and let sit in a moderately-warm place for 72 hours.

Carefully ladle off the liquid into another crock and then strain the remaining liquid through a lady's silk stocking out of the oatmeal.  Discard the mash (or feed to swine or first dry and then feed to the chickens).

Add the whisky to the oat liquid then add half of the Drambuie.

Very slowly and carefully add the cream to the mix. If added too quickly it will curdle and ruin the batch.

Taste, and add more Drambuie if desired.

For the namesake dessert recipe with a delicious discussion of the historic ingredients, click the ingredients for directions for the King of Scottish Desserts, Cranachan.


And for the dance cribs of many other strong beverages, click here to visit the Virtual Whisky Bar, with blends, single malts, and liqueurs, all in dance form.

Did I miss any?


Atholl Brose

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

Atholl Brose

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WELCOME TO An Entertainment Site for Scottish Country Dancers - Enjoy the curated selection of theme-related dances for celebrations and holidays, or find a dance associated with a special calendar day, or EVEN your own birthday!  

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