Scotland’s fascinating and rich culture doesn’t end in its hearty and delicious food from soups to desserts. The drinks they have here are also quite intriguing, and just as quirky as some of the food.
You’d expect there would be Scotch whiskey, which they also put on their desserts, as well as a Scotland version of certain cocktails. There are lager and craft beers that are served straight out of the barrel taps, and the orange soda that’s said to be this country’s other national drink.
Try one or three, or simply try them all while in Scotland. Here are some of the drinks in Scotland that you simply must not pass up while in the Scottish isles.
13 Drinks In Scotland That You Must Try
1. Mulled Wine
Popular in Scotland especially during winter, this drink is basically red wine mixed with citrus fruits and mulling spices, sometimes topped with raisins. That sounds like a refreshing dessert or a harmless punch but don’t be fooled, this drink can be potent depending on your tolerance but still, definitely worth a try.
Gin is fast becoming a worthy rival for Scotch as the country’s top drink of choice. More manufacturers are coming u with a variety of gin such as those infused with rose or cucumber.
Often best served as it is, most gin drinkers prefer it as a tonic or on the rocks. Some of the best gin comes from the likes of The Botanist in Isle of Islay, Edinburgh Gin, and Hendricks.
A cocktail that’s essentially made up of heavily mixed-aged Scotch, honey, and warming spices, this is the other famous liqueur from Scotland. Smooth with a steady kick, this drink is quite potent so go easy on the consumption. It’s another of those drinks that are popular during winter in Scotland.
4. Cask Ale
Cask ale is an unfiltered and unpasteurized beer that’s served in a cask, and unlike the usual beer, it doesn’t have any sort of carbonation. When poured on a glass, it doesn’t have a lot of bubbles or foam.
The taste is a mix of sweet and malty, with a smoky hint. It is best served at room temperature or just a wee bit lower than room temperature, but most who have tried it prefer cask ale to be a little warning. Warm cask ale is more flavorful, making it another favorite winter drink in Scotland.
5. Seaweed Ale
Beer is made from barley, and until the mid-1800s, they were grown in seaweed fertilized lands. This gives the beer a distinct oceanic flavor. Agricultural practices have changed since then but the
Williams Bros. Brewing Co. decided to resurrect this seemingly seaweed flavored drink through their Kelpie ale. They make it by infusing freshly harvested bladder kelp to their cask.
Kelpie is a dark brown ale that tastes like coffee, chocolate, and toasted malt, plus a distinct smell reminiscent of a sea breeze. It is light but rich, with only 4.4 percent alcohol that’s good for day drinking. Easy on the consumption though, it’s tasty but too much Kelpie might turn your sea breeze into a tsunami.
Described as a sickeningly sweet wine, Buckfast or Buckie is available in most liquor stores around Scotland. It’s worth trying if you’re curious, but you may get strange looks from people who’d see you.
Apparently, this is the drink of choice among hooligans. Statistics from the Scotland Prison service shows that a huge percentage of their inmates gad some Buckie before their last offense.
The surprising thing about it is that this drink, originally intended to be an energy drink and tonic when it first came out in the 1930s, was that it’s made by monks.
This drink that’s a cross between red wine and caffeine and coca-cola is made by Benedictine monks from Buckfast Abbey in Devon. Go try it if you’re curious, just don’t do anything that could land you in jail after.
7. Camp Coffee
Scotland’s Camp Coffee is basically instant coffee in a bottle. This syrupy concoction is made from coffee, chicory, sugar, and water, and usually mixed with cold or warm milk.
It tastes like sweet coffee when drank without milk, and ironically is only acceptable to non-coffee connoisseurs/ purists. Try it if you’re not really a coffee drinker and want a quick pick-me-up. It comes in a bottle and sold in groceries and supermarkets.
8. Scottish Tea
Tea was introduced to Scotland in the 1600s and has been a staple since. Thomas Lipton, of the popular Lipton tea brand, is Scottish. The best are the breakfast teas, but you may also try a variety of infused blends on different teahouses all over the country.
You may find a variety of tea flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut and even those infused with flowers.
9. Whiskey Old Fashioned
An ‘old fashioned’ is a classic cocktail made of bourbon, sugar, and bitters but In Scotland, it is of course made with whiskey.
Order it during your pub crawl or from the bat at your hotel. Most say it is sweeter than the original bourbon mix but not sickening. It’s also smooth and goes down easy, perfect for a nightcap. It is also one of the best drinks in Scotland that you will have.
10. Scotch Whisky
Scotch whiskey or simply Scotch, to comply with the Scotch Whisky Regulations, have at least 40 percent alcohol by volume. It is essentially poison for non-drinkers so it is advised to just sample if you really must.
A true Scotch is aged for at least three years in an oak barrel, with a dark, smoky and woodsy aroma. Some of the best Scotch brands are Annandale, Bladnoch and Glenkinchie.
11. Dark Matter Spiced Rum
A curious concoction made by Dark Matter distillery in Aberdeenshire is a molasses-based rum that is heavily spiced with pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice. Nonlocals who have tried Dark Matter only have good words to say about the drink, which can also be mixed with ginger ale or cola. Most say though, that it is best taken warmly to fully appreciate the flavors.
12. Hot Toddy
Hot Toddy is another popular winter drink, bit still good at any time of the year. It is a mix of whiskey (one can also use brandy or rum), honey and water. The recipes actually vary, some add spices or herbs, while there are those who put sugar instead of honey. It is best taken warm, and as always, in moderation.
13. Irn Bru
Scotland’s national drink is said to be its whiskey, but for those who prefer their drink sans alcohol, there’s Irn Bru.
Pronounced as ‘iron brew’, this orange soda is more popular than cola and is loved by locals and tourists alike. It’s fizzy, sweet and not at all citrusy despite its color. The taste is closer to that of vanilla and said to be a good hangover cure.
Irn Bru is also said to be a good mixer for vodka or whiskey, but better on its own. Just go easy on the consumption as it has a lot of sugar.