Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Drambuie - Not Just for Old Men Like Myself

Drambuie isn't really popular with my generation, or with the kids out there who are smokin' the ecstasy and sippin' the sizzurp to get their rocks off. Despite its 250-year history, endorsements from Ol' Blue Eyes, and its popularity in the UK and Asia, most young (and youngish) people do not know why this liqueur shares the bar shelves with mundane favourites such as Jack Daniels and Baileys. Drambuie is a Scotch-flavoured beverage containing (of course) Scotch whisky, heather honey, lavender essence, and a few secret ingredients. If it sounds namby-pamby this is because it was, indeed, invented by a namby-pamby, and this namby-pamby's name was Prince Charles Edward Stuart (or Bonnie Prince Charlie, as his milksopping friends called him).

In 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie made a last-ditch attempt to restore the Catholic Stuart throne in the UK. Traveling to Scotland from France, where his family had been living in exile, the Young Pretender managed to organize a strong albeit small army composed of freedom-fighting Highlanders, Catholics, and anti-Parliamentarian soldiers. Not surprisingly, Bonnie Prince Charlie was eventually defeated by the English Protestant army and fled across the Highlands towards the Atlantic in an attempt to make it back to France. During this time, he stayed with the MacKinnon clan on the Isle of Skye for several weeks. Destitute yet grateful, Charles is said to have demonstrated his appreciation by giving the MacKinnon family the recipe of his favourite beverage. Legend claims that this recipe stayed in the family throughout the 1700s, until the liqueur was later produced by a hotel on Skye. The first documented connection between Skye and Drambuie (in its current form) relates to the island's Broadford Hotel, the proprietor of which took out a patent in London on April 24, 1893 to manufacture a drink known as Drambuie

As a single malt fan, I like Drambuie when I am in the mood for a dessert liqueur or a refreshing drink. I love Drambuie Rickeys (a highball with soda water and lime) when it is warm, and I also enjoy a Drambuie on the rocks after dinner. As hinted to above, Frank Sinatra also loved Drambuie, and preferred it in the form of a Rusty Nail, which consists of blended Scotch, Drambuie, and soda water. Note: do not mix Drambuie with a single malt Scotch!

So if you have never tried Drambuie and think it is just an "old man" drink, give it a shot (pun intended). And as you are buttoning up your cardigan, lighting your pipe, getting your crossword puzzle ready, thinking about how all young people are ignorant and obnoxious, and bringing that sweet sweet Drambuie to your lips, remember the Gaelic saying that has been on the bottle for over one hundred years: cuimhnich an tabhartas orionnsa; that is, remember the gift of the prince

Keywords: "Alphabet Review", "Alex Dawkins", "Vancouver events"

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