Atholl brose

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Atholl brose

Atholl Brose (or Athol Brose, Athole Brose) is a Scottish drink obtained by mixing oatmeal brose, honey, whisky, and sometimes cream (particularly on festive occasions). When made with cream the drink is rather like Baileys Irish Cream. Atholl Brose has also become an alternative name for the dessert Cranachan, which uses similar ingredients.

According to legend, the drink is named after the 1st Earl of Atholl, who quashed a Highland rebellion in 1475 by filling the rebel leader's well with the mixture, making him easily captured.

Atholl Brose has long been a part of the Hogmanay (New Year's) celebrations of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, where it is served in the Officers'- and the Warrant-Officers and Serjeant's Messes early on New Years' Day. This, as so many of their customs, traditions and dress, was inherited from the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, the old 78th Highland Regiment (The Ross-Shire Buffs).


Simon (1948), in a recipe attributed to the Royal Scots Fusiliers, gives the following proportions, to be mixed, as is the tradition, "with a silver spoon if available":

  • 7 parts oatmeal brose
  • 7 parts whisky
  • 5 parts cream
  • 1 part honey

The brose is prepared by steeping a volume of oatmeal overnight in three times as much cold water, then straining the liquid through muslin (discarding the oatmeal fiber).

Atholl Brose as made by the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada:

-12 quarts table cream

-12 quarts water

-6 pounds of groats (steel-cut oatmeal)

-3 pounds liquid honey

-12 quarts Scotch whisky ( 9 quarts 'Ballantines' or equivalent, 3 quarts Tallisker, Laphroig or equivalent )

-6 to 9 bottles Drambuie, to taste.

Place oatmeal in large stone crock. Add honey, then the water and stir until honey is just about dissolved. cover crock with a towel and let sit in a moderately-warm place for 72 hours.

Carefully ladle off the liquid into another crock, and then strain the remaining liquid through a lady's silk stocking out of the oatmeal. Discard the mash (in times past it was fed to swine or dried and then fed to the chickens)

Add the whisky to the oat liquid then add half of the Drambuie.

VERY SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY add the cream to the mix. If added too quickly it will curdle and ruin the batch.

Taste, and add more Drambuie if desired.

Produces about 1100 one-ounce servings.

Meg Dod's Recipe of 1826:

Put a pound of dripped honey (ie , liquid, straight from the comb) into a basin and add sufficient cold water to dissolve it (about a teacupful). Stir with a silver spoon and when the water and the honey are well-mixed add gradually one and a half pints of whisky. Stir briskly until a froth begins to rise. Bottle and keep tightly corked.

Sometimes the yolk of an egg is beat up in the brose.

See also[edit]


  • Simon, André (1948). A Concise Encyclopædia of Gastronomy. Section VIII, Wines and Spirits. London: The Wine and Food Society. viii + 178. 
  • Davidson, Alan (1999). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. xix + 892. ISBN 0-19-211579-0.