With Burns Night just around the corner, we thought we’d share some of our top tips to help you throw a beezer* of a Burns Supper! Over the years we’ve hosted quite a few Burns night celebrations, showing off our Scottish roots with our friends and clients from further afield. Needless to say each Rabbie’ Burns bash we’ve hosted has been a lot of fun – and enjoyed by all that came along to celebrate Scotland’s National Bard.
Who is Robert Burns?
Born in Ayrshire on 25 January 1787, Robert Burns is one of Scotland’s most famous literary figures. Over the course of his life, he penned hundreds of original poems and songs, with notable works including To a Mouse, A Red, Red Rose, Tam O’Shanter and Scots Wha Hae, which served as the unofficial Scottish national anthem for centuries. Perhaps his most famous work is Auld Lang Syne, which to this day is sung by people across the globe on New Year’s Eve.
To help you throw your very own Burns celebration on 25 January, here’s a wee** run down of the key ingredients as recommended by the Front Page team:
- Invite your favourite people along
We Scots are well known for our hospitality, friendliness and welcoming nature, and let’s be honest, the stereotypes are true, we do love a good party! So if you’re planning on having a wee Burns shin-dig invite your favourite people along and have a great night. Formal or informal it’s up to you!
- Play some great Scottish music
Bag-pipes might not be everyone’s bag (yeah we went there) but whether you fancy Stripping the Willow***, walking 500 miles or singing along to some great Scottish indie—there’s a Scottish song to please everyone’s tastes. We’ve put together a wee playlist to get you started:
- Have a wee dram****
Whisky seems to be the Marmite of drinks—people either totally love it, or point blank refuse to try it! In truth, Scotch whisky is extremely varied in terms of flavour; from light, floral, sweet buttery tones to the unmistakable taste of Germoline-soaked bandages, earth and campfires. If we were to offer three pieces of advice to give yourself the best chance of enjoying any dram they’d be:
- Go slowly—don’t swirl the glass and nose dive right in – take it easy and enjoy yourself!
- Add water—it opens it up, reduces the dominance of alcohol and allows your tongue to do its job better.
- Try a few different ones and make a wee adventure out of it! You won’t love them all and you might hate a few, but you definitely WILL surprise yourself.
- A wee spot of poetry
Recite some Burns on the night, after all, that’s what Scotland’s National Bard is famous for! It’s tradition to ‘address the haggis’ before you get stuck into the food, so here’s a taster to get you started:
‘Address to a Haggis’ Robert Burns, 1787
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
Aboon them a’ yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’a grace
As lang’s my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o’need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
You can read the poem in full here
- Enjoy a feast!
A traditional Buns Supper is made up of haggis, neeps and tatties (that’s turnip and potatoes to non-Scots!) with a wee spot of whisky sauce poured over the top. You can buy or make both meat and vegetarian haggis to cater for everyone. And if you think you’ll have room for a dessert, you can serve up a creamy Cranachan, a slice of clooty dumpling, or some Scottish cheese—served with oatcakes of course!
Need inspiration? Here are some recipes to get you started:
MacSween Haggis Recipes
We hope our Burns Supper tips help you host a fun night! If you do throw a Burns inspired party, share some of your pictures with us over on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. We’d love to se them!
The Wee Blether – a brief guide to Scots language
“Last night, what a beezer of a night oot”
“ach, look at that wee lass, isn’t she bonnie?”
***Strip the Willow
a Scottish country dance
“I was so dizzy after Stripping the Willow, that was fun!”
a small drink of whisky or other spirits
“Are you cold? A wee dram will sort you right out”
Cheers, good health! Commonly use to toast a drink.