Are you ready for Burns Night: a little bit of Scotland in Manchester… whisky, words and wonderful food, all in one occasion?
The 25th January brings ‘Burns Night’ with it; the annual celebration of the Eighteenth century Scottish poet Robert (aka ‘Rabbie’) Burns and his boozy, brilliant verse. He wrote poems which captured Scottish culture and country, bringing elements of the folk tradition together with excitement and adventure. You may know more of Burns’ than you first think – ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is the popular New Year ditty adapted from one of his verses, and he also penned the likes of the narrative poem ‘Tam O’ Shanter’ and ‘A Red, Red Rose’. Does this link to a ‘red rose’ speak of even more suitability to the county of Lancashire, and especially, Manchester? This is certainly a city with a taste for the Scots –as 2015’s devolution discussions saw The hashtag #Takeuswithyouscotland spring up across the city; thousands of people preferring Northern solidarity with Scotland, than the Southern separateness of London!
Although devolution didn’t happen, there is still plenty of opportunity to enjoy a taste of Scotland in Manchester. Burns Night provides the perfect occasion! This celebration, also known as ‘Burns Supper’, was first set up by Rabbie’s friends after his death in 1796 – turning the 25th January, his birthdate, in a time to be merry and remember. It’s an occasion typically enjoyed with a wee dram (that’s a ‘small glass’) of Scotch whisky, plenty of poetry and… haggis – all of which you can find in Manchester! Burns loved a good boozer, and you can commemorate the ‘Bard of Scotland’ in style at some of these great events and venues. They also double-up as great places to keep in mind when you are looking to enjoy some spirits …
WAYS TO WHIKSY...
1) Celebrating a star … at The Whiskey Jar – This quirky Northern Quarter bar has a proper portfolio of whiskies; with over 40 different types showcased on their website. Prepare yourself for Burns(both types!)… With the best selection possible! They take pride in creative talent here too – regularly hosting open-mic nights, so you can tell your tales of magic and misadventure just like the Scottish bard. The Whiskey Jar, 14 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF
2) Serving it sweet: Walrus - want to try some celebratory tipple, but worry that whisky isn’t really your thing? Burns would most probably give credit to the creativity of Walrus bar’s ‘Chocolate Orange Old Fashioned’; turning scotch into a sweet treat. Here, 12 year-old Chiva whisky meets a whirlwind of our favourite flavours; powerful chocolate and zesty orange all served up in a cocktail! Walrus, 78-88 High St, Manchester M4 1ES
3) For dinner with your dram, get to Wetherspoons – this well-known chain is making a big celebration of ‘Burns Week’ (18th-25th January) , with a number of affiliated pubs across the city, such as ‘The Moon Under Water’ on Deansgate. To celebrate, not only can you enjoy a whisky, but also a taste of award-winning McSween haggis. A traditional meal as well as a ‘highland burger’ option is available! Various locations.
4) A World of whisky tasting at Electrik Bar – not far from Chorlton, this cosy bar and eatery is determined to take you on a tour this Burns Night – through 5 different drams of whisky! For £19.95 per person you can sample five fine single malts, each from a different region of Scotland. If you are planning to recite some poetry too, you have a better chance of managing it before rather than after… Electrik Bar, 559 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester M21 0AE
5) A cocktail which keeps Scotland in mind at Rosylee – This beautiful drinking and dining place in the Northern Quarter serves up a suitable array of whiskies; including Chivas and Singleton. Plus you can enjoy the creativity of their signature ‘Scotch Sour’ which takes the traditional taste to the next level –whisky combined with premium port, Angostura, sugar, lemon and egg white. An ideal Burns Night celebration. Plus on the 25th they are hosting cocktails and haggis, ready for you to enjoy! What are are you waiting for? Rosylee, 11 Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DB
6) A twist on the history, with Épernay - Rather than Rabbie Burns, why not sample Épernay’s signature cocktail ‘Bobby Burns’; a blend of Great King Street Blended Scotch, complimented with Benedictine, Vermouth, bitters and orange? This glamorous venue, inside The Great Northern Tower, serves up so much more than champagne. Here you can sample some of Scotland’s best spirits, so prepare to be impressed! Épernay, Unit 1a, Great Northern Tower, Watson St, Manchester, Lancashire M3 4EE
7) Words and plenty that burns at The Castle Hotel – this authentic Oldham-Street pub is sure to serve you up a whisky or two this Monday… though the real celebration is set for Wednesday 27th, in the form of their ‘Bad Language’ open-mic night. This is a monthly occurrence which encourages new writers, poets and performers to get to their feet – something Burns would have approved of, I’m sure. It’s a great atmosphere and a real array of creativity. Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE
8) Going the whole hog, Bangers and Bacon – stars of Spinningfield’s street food initiative ‘The Kitchens’, Bangers and Bacon are determined to deliver a Burns night feast – with the best quality British produce and meat. They are offering a five-course celebration on Monday 25th, complete with neeps and tatties, plenty of whisky… along with some surprises too! Get your tickets via Eventbrite to avoid disappointment and prepare yourself for interactive, impressive grub made with love. A number of big names are expected, including local whiskey connoisseur @thirstymanc – so don’t miss out! Bangers and Bacon, Unit 2 The Kitchens, Manchester M3 3AG