Four NACHTMANN Square Whiskey tumblers filled with different alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.<br/>

Each year, on January 25th, Burns Night brings together friends and family for an evening of drinks, poetry, and music. Coming at a time when winter is in full swing, what better way to spend a cold January evening than by enjoying good food and drink with friends? With a particular focus on food and drink, in this blog, we'll cover the history of Burns Night and outline the drinks and dishes that will help you host your very own Burns Night supper.

The history and heritage of Burns Night

Burns Night is an annual celebration held on January 25th to commemorate the birth of Robert Burns - one of Scotland's most revered and famous poets. The very first Burns Night was organized way back in 1801 by Burns' friends to mark the passing of five years since his death. Subsequent Burns Suppers took the form of evening events that celebrated Robert Burns' life and work. These evenings would typically involve the features widely associated with Burns Suppers today, including classic Scottish drinks and cuisine, readings of Burns' work, and a speech to the great 'bard' - a Celtic word meaning 'poet.'

With Burns Night now in its third century, modern-day celebrations have seen the evening grow and develop. Established features, such as the classic recitation of Burns's poetry and the Address to a Haggis, remain, but the event has spread its wings. Originally a purely Scottish celebration, Burns Night has grown into a globally recognized event that takes place in traditional pubs, restaurants, trendy bars, and lavish hotels. Burns Supper hosts will also often incorporate innovative twists inspired by Scottish cuisine into their menus to add a little something extra to their Burns Night celebrations.

Burns Night drinks to enjoy

When it comes to Burns Night, whisky is the name of the game. Your choice of beverage plays a big part in the authenticity of the occasion, but you can mix things up with some alternative recipes that might be a little more pleasing to your palate. Here are some classic Burns Night beverages, plus a couple of outside-the-box suggestions for you to enjoy on January 25th:

The NACHTMANN Sculpture Whiskey decanter besides the NACHTMANN Sculpture Whiskey tumbler, both of them filled with Whiskey. In the background an empty Sculpture tumbler on a serving tray.<br/>

Neat Scotch

Perhaps the drink most associated with Burns Night, Robert Burns wrote of Scotch whisky often - even going so far as to call it his muse in his poem titled 'Scotch Drink.' While there are plenty of other beverages you can enjoy during a Burns Supper, a neat Scotch is the headline act, whether you're enjoying a single malt, single grain, or a blend. If you're new to Scotch or simply enjoy something that takes the edge off, try adding a couple of ice cubes or a splash of water.

If the qualities of Scotch aren't to your liking, some other popular whisky styles you can try on Burns Night include Bourbon whiskey, Rye whisky, Japanese whisky, and Irish whiskey. For more information on Scotch and other types of whisky, check out our guide to finding the perfect style for you.

The NACHTMANN Noblesse pitcher filled with a red drink and ice cubes and two NACHTMANN Noblesse cocktail glasses, one of them filled with the same red drink. In the background there is the empty cocktail glass and ice cubes.<br/>

Bobby Burns

This Scotch-based cocktail combines equal parts blended Scotch and sweet vermouth (1 measure each), plus a half measure of Bénédictine - a herbal liquor that gives Bobby Burns its distinctive flavor. To make this cocktail, stir all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass, then strain into a martini or coupe glass and garnish with lemon peel.

The NACHTMANN Bossa Nova SOF filled with whisky next to the empty Bossa Nova longdrink glass on a black stone sideboard. Behind them the empty Bossa Nova tumbler.<br/>

Rusty Nail

Once a very popular cocktail, the Rusty Nail has somewhat vanished from bars today. So, what better time to revive it than at a Burns Supper? A Rusty Nail cocktail only requires two ingredients - 2 parts Scotch and 1 part Drambuie, a Scotch-based liqueur, making this another good option for those who want a drink that's a bit sweeter than a neat Scotch. Add both ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir until combined, then strain over ice in an old fashioned tumbler and garnish with some lemon peel.

The NACHTMANN Noblesse tea mug with hot tea in it and rock candy. On the wooden table, there are more sticks with brown rock candy, a jar with lavender flowers, a second filled crystal tea mug and a shining tea light.<br/>

Hot Toddy

This is the perfect option for warming up on a cold January evening. The Hot Toddy combines a soothing mix of a double measure of Scotch whisky or Bourbon, hot water, 1 tbsp honey (add more if you wish), and lemon juice to taste to give you the coziest of Burns Suppers. Add the whisky, honey, and lemon to the bottom of your Nachtmann Coffee Mug, top with hot water, stir to combine, then garnish with a lemon round and a cinnamon stick. As an ideal nightcap, the Hot Toddy is the perfect choice to finish the evening.

The NACHTMANN Highland tumblers in different cut patterns, the tumbler with the Square pattern filled with whisky on the rocks.<br/>

Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Not exactly a Burns Night-specific beverage, but an Old Fashioned's ingredients give it an authentic feel for the evening. The Old Fashioned is less a specific cocktail recipe and more of a formula for combining a dark spirit with a sweetener, bitters, and a twist of citrus. You can use just about any type of whisky for an Old Fashioned, so it's an inclusive option that doesn't require a penchant for Scotch. Plus, as one of the world's most popular cocktails, there's a good chance it'll go down a treat with guests!

The NACHTMANN series Shu Fa with the longdrink glass and the with whisky filled tumbler on a stone serving tray.<br/>

Whiskey Sour

The Whiskey Sour differs from the Old Fashioned due to its liberal use of lemon juice. This zesty concoction is most commonly made using Bourbon (four parts), along with three parts lemon juice, 1 part sugar syrup, plus a few dashes of bitters and the optional inclusion of an egg white for a cocktail that blends sweet and sour like no other.

If you're taking part in Dry January or wish to avoid alcohol for any other reason, gone are the days of having to make crude attempts at replicating the above drinks. Zero-alcohol whiskies are more available than ever, so simply sub one in for the regular Scotch, Bourbon, or any other type of whisky, and enjoy an authentic, alcohol-free Burns Night mocktail.

Food to enjoy on Burns Night

We may be a glassware brand, but we'd be remiss if we didn't include some food options to enjoy alongside your Burns Night drinks. With that in mind, here are a couple of classic Burns Night dining options for you to consider indulging in for each course:



  • Cock-a-Leekie Soup. This classic Scottish soup is made with leeks, chicken, and prunes. The name "Cock-a-Leekie" is believed to be derived from the Scots words for chicken and leeks.
  • Scotch Broth. As you can probably tell, soup is a popular option for Burns Night starters! Scotch Broth is a hearty dish made with lamb or beef, barley, root vegetables, and pulses that provides a flavorful alternative to the qualities of a Cock-a-Leekie Soup. 



  • Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties. The quintessential trio for January 25th celebrations. No Burns Night feast is complete without the quintessential haggis, neeps (turnips), and tatties (potatoes). The hearty and savory flavors of haggis, a traditional Scottish dish, are complemented by sweet neeps and creamy tatties, both of which are typically mashed when making this dish. This dish isn't only for meat eaters - vegetarian haggis can be made for those who follow a plant-based diet.
  • Salmon. We recommend trying a form of haggis, neeps, and tatties if you can, but if you absolutely can't, a salmon-based dish is arguably the next go-to meal. Salmon is often served on oatcakes with a dollop of cream cheese as a starter option, but for mains, you could consider poaching it in white wine with new potatoes and broccoli.



  • Cranachan. This delightful Scottish dessert allows you to satisfy your sweet tooth. Made with whipped cream, honey, fresh raspberries, and toasted oatmeal, the Cranachan possesses a smooth texture and a mix of sweet and tart flavors to lift your palate as you round off your Burns Night meal.
  • Clootie Dumpling. This traditional dessert is a sweet, steamed pudding made with dried fruit, suet, and spices. The name "clootie" comes from the Scots word for cloth, as the dumpling is traditionally wrapped in a cloth before being boiled or steamed.
Four NACHTMANN Bossa Nova SOF glasses, three of them filled with either Whiskey or other drinks, one of them empty. In the background are liquor bottles.<br/>

Whichever food and drink combination you decide on for Burns Night, we're happy to highlight that you can be flexible in your Burns Night celebrations. You can indulge in the traditional, tried and tested Scottish meals and drinks, but you can also mix things up with some modern twists to suit your preferences while keeping the ingredients authentic to the evening. Once you're all set with your food and drink for the evening, you can enjoy other Burns Night highlights, such as poetry readings, live music, and dancing. So indulge, celebrate, and toast to Scotland's most famous poet. Slàinte mhath!