The Athol Brose: Scotch, Honey, and Cream

Since it has turned a little chilly here in Houston, I have been searching for some drinks to warm me up. The temperature has been getting down into the forties (gasp!), and for relief, I got the latest issue of Imbibe Magazine, where, on page 81, I saw a recipe for the Athol Brose. It seemed easy, so I made one.

Stir with ice:

  • 1 1/2 oz scotch
  • 1 1/2 oz honey syrup

and strain into a coupe. Then  empty the ice from your tin and add 1 oz of cream. Dry shake it for a while without ice to make it a little frothy and then spoon it on top of your scotch and honey mixture before adding a bit of freshly grated nutmeg.

If you’re wondering what a brose is and what it is doing in this drink, well, a brose is an “uncooked form of porridge.” The brose in this drink is a mixture of oatmeal and water with the oatmeal then strained out. The original drink recipe from the 15th Century called for this oatmeal brose. In fact, the drink was supposedly created by the First Earl of Atholl, who filled his enemy’s well with the mixture of honey, oatmeal brose, and scotch and let them become inebriated before vanquishing them. I will get around to trying a version of the Athol Brose with an oatmeal brose at some time, but for now, the version with cream satisfies me.

For this is a good drink. Amazing, in fact. If you don’t feel like messing with egg nog or brandy milk punch, go for this one. It isn’t nearly as good as a well-constructed, time-consuming egg nog recipe, but it’s still damn good. The four simple ingredients (honey, scotch, cream, nutmeg) combine wonderfully. I cut down the honey syrup for my second one, for I prefer it to taste a little more like scotch, but it is still amazing. The scotch comes forward with less honey, so try it that way if you like scotch.

My dad loves Drambuie, so I will be making him one of these when he comes to town for Thanksgiving. That’s what this drink tastes like: Drambuie with cream. Man, what a great combination.

Oh, and if you search for Athol Brose, you’re liable to come across the Cocteau Twins’ song of the same name. Listen to it. It’s good. But it has nothing to do with the Athol Brose cocktail. 

2 thoughts on “The Athol Brose: Scotch, Honey, and Cream”

  1. It is a lot bigger than it looks, a full-size suitcase, in fact. Still cool, though.

    Man, that guy put a lot of work into that. Nancy would kill me if I spent that much time making a suitcase for cocktails and then insisted on taking it to parties. I mean, what is the point of going to people’s houses if you can’t mooch off their drinks?

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