Gie him strong Drink until he wink,
That’s sinking in despair;
An’ liquor guid to fie his bluid,
That’s prest wi’ grief an’ care;
O Whisky! soul o’ plays an’ pranks!
Accept a Bardie’s gratefu’ thanks!
When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks
Are my poor Verses!
from “Scotch Drink
” by Robert Burns
Scotland’s national bard clearly had a great deal of respect for Scotland’s national drink.
And if you were ever in any doubt as to the importance of whisky to the Scots or whiskey to the Irish, then the fact that we both describe it as Uisce Beatha – or the Water of Life – would leave you in no doubt. So much so that, on my recent travels to Scotland’s Isle of Arran, I fully imagined it to be a breach of some law to depart the island without having at least a wee dram of the “Scotch drink”. A visit to the Isle of Arran Distillers, the only (legal) producer of whisky on the island, turns out to have been a very good choice, and not just because of its Irish connections.
Gordon Mitchell, their now retired distillery manager, previously worked at Ireland’s Cooley Distillery and was involved in the development of their most excellent Connemara Peated Single Malt. While Connemara is unusual for an Irish whiskey in that it is peated, the signature 10 year old single malt produced by Isle of Arran Distillers is unusual for a Scotch whisky in that it is not.
But that is not the only thing worthy of note.
Arran 10 year old single malt whisky
Places everybody. Parade coming through. A veritable feast of food and drink inspired by that most Irish of holidays, St. Patrick’s Day, is coming your way.
Yes, you’ll find a heap of soda bread amongst the parade participants and, yes, you’ll also see a distinct fondness for the combination of beef and Guinness (in fact, Guinness plus just about anything), but there are a few less-than-traditional surprises in there too – coconut faux-tatoes anybody?
Click on the links below to jump straight to your favourite parade floats or just browse the lot while sipping a cup of tea or perhaps a pint of the black stuff, given the day that’s in it. The running order includes:
– A Drinks float to kick things off.
– A jam-packed Soda Bread float.
– Potatoes, who, naturally, get a float all to themselves.
– A float with Starters and Side Dishes, mainly featuring the use of green vegetables.
– There’s a dedicated Beef and Guinness float.
– Quickly followed by a float which hosts plenty of non-beefy ideas for The Main Course.
– There is, of course, a float chock-a-block with Sweet Stuff for afters.
– And we round things off with a Cheese float.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated. As is a Spud’s wont, I have been humbled by the response. Now, if you’re sitting comfortably, let the parade begin!
(image from sweetlifebake.com)
Apple pudding, hot whiskey sauce, 'nuff said
Winter hasn’t gone away, y’know (like you needed reminding). Neither, therefore, has the need to keep my body warm both inside and out. And while thermal underwear will do for the latter, you still can’t beat a hot whiskey for the former.
The unfortunate truth, though, is that (try as I might) Spud cannot live on hot whiskeys alone – I find that pudding is required at least every once in a while.