Scotch Whisky, Ales, Haggis and Bagpipes! What’s Up In Vancouver This Robbie Burns Day
Robbie Burns is Scotland’s most famous poet, and one of the more humorous ones. You probably know his most famous works, Auld Lang Syne, and each year the year of his birth is celebrated worldwide. As for me, I don’t need any excuse to sip some quality scotch, and as my great grandfather came from Scotland, I feel it’s a almost my birthright.
To get you in the mood for a scotch or two, we check in with our friend, Chef Marcus Von Albrecht, who knows his way around a Scotch barrel and imports unique bottles as well as crafting his own spirit, XFour Vodka, in the Okanagan. First up we asked him for a quick overview of the scotch regions, as well as some tips on sipping, a couple of his favourites and his choice when it comes to a whisky cocktail.
Von Albrecht reminds us that there are five regions where scotch is produced in Scotland, the Highlands, Lowlands, Midlands, Islay and Speyside, and each have different recipes. Islay shows flavours of smoke and peat; the Lowlands whiskies are light bodied, with mature fruit, spice, grass , ginger; Midlands whisky is dry, with fruit, peat cream, cinnamon, and honey; Speyside whiskies have hints of salt, fruit, a balance of smoke and leather, apple, pear and honey and the Highlands are spicier, full bodied, with a finish of smoke and peat, hints of fruit, honey, cereal and nut.
When asked about some recommendations Von Albrecht suggested a starter bottle of whisky sourced from speyside, as the region is most appealing to the general audience, perhaps try the Macallan.
Tips for tasting whisky like a pro include serving the spirit at body temp, and make sure you sniff, taste and swallow allowing time for the sensation to kick in. Don’t swill it like a wine as you will loose the vapor which separates from the oils.
For Robbie Burns day Von Albrecht suggests start with a Highland or Speyside whisky as this will be a good introduction , creating a base for judging the other flavor profiles, then follow up with a lowlands and finish with an Islay. Start with a Balvenie 12, next a Glenmorangie or HIghland park, finish with a Bowmore 14 or Bunnahahbian 18.
Favorite whisky cocktail? – Whisky martini – one part XFour, 1/2 part Laphroaig, lemon zest
If you wish to get out there and get fully into Robbie Burns Day around Vancouver, there’s a few spots around town offering something pretty special.
Gala at the Pan Pacific Hotel – January 25
A traditional gala evening of Scottish whisky, ales, haggis, venison, neeps and tatties, piping, dance, poems, live auction and good cheer.
Pricing: $195 at 6:30 pm – Fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Canada
Reception Whisky Tastings, Whisky Cured Scottish Salmon on Tattie Scone, Black Pudding Crumpet with Apple Kippers on Toast, Mini Scotch Pies, Rumbledthumps
Scottish Whisky Flights, Cullen Skink, Smoked Haddock and Potato Soup, Baked Haggis* and Venison Duo with Inverness Sauce, Neeps and Tatties drizzled with Whisky (*vegetarian Haggis upon request)
Dessert Tipsy Laird – Trifle with fresh raspberries and cream
Menu and Itinerary
Robert Burns’ Night at The Cascade Room, – January 25
Cue the bagpipes! On Thursday, January 25, for the ninth year, The Cascade Room will host a lively and delicious celebration in honour of Scottish poet Robert Burns. The evening will feature bagpipes, whisky, haggis and other delicacies from the kitchen, including decadent deep-fried Mars Bars.
Doors open at 4 pm on January 25. This year, the Burns’ Night celebration will include TWO ‘Piping of the Haggis’ events, at 5:30 pm and 8 pm, which will see local bagpiper Matt Dolan pipe in the haggis, with Dougie Stewart addressing the haggis. A fiddle performance from Colourstrings Conservatory of Music, along with music from Crash World, will round out the entertainment.
Chef Tim Evans has crafted a special three-course dinner menu for the party: Starter – Cock-a-Leekie Soup; Main – Traditional Haggis with ‘Neeps an’ Tatties; and for dessert — a Deep Fried Mars Bar with gelato. The menu is priced at $35 (a la carte available as well).
From the bar: Celtic Red Ale cask from Main Street Brewing, along with drink features and whisky cocktails from Glenlivet and Ballantine’s.
Guests are welcome on a first come, first served basis. For more information, http://www.thecascadecompany.com/robbie-burns-night-at-the-cascade-room-2018/
Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2018: Robbie Burns Celebration: Seminar & Dinner
6:30 PM at Yew Seafood + Bar Vancouver, BC
Sponsored by The Singleton, Johnnie Walker, Cardhu, Talisker, Bittered Sling, World Class