Fare thee well, thou first and fairest

Every year, Scots throughout the world set aside January 25th for celebrating the life and work of our national poet, Robert Burns. The man's influence extends far beyond the borders of this little corner of Northern Europe - where would the literary tradition be without "the best laid schemes o' mice an' men", or indeed his influence on the Romantic poets who were to come? - and into some interesting areas.

Now, this being nominally a blog about cocktails and all, would be the point at which I'd direct your attention to the Bobby Burns. It's one of the all-time great Scotch whisky drinks and is more than worthy of carrying the name.

But I'm not going to do that. One of the hallmarks of Burns' poetry is finding the profound, the wonderful in something that might seem otherwise unremarkable. In To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough(1785), one of his most famous works, Burns takes that initial calamity - for the mouse, at least - as the starting point for a train of thought that takes in man's attitude to the world he inhabits and whether all the bells and whistles of civilisation are ultimately worthwhile.

By all means, if you have access to some vermouth and Bénédictine, raise a Bobby Burns to commemorate Burns' 253rd birthday. Me, I'm going to leave off wearing any tartan or listening to bagpipes. I'm going to pour myself some Scotch and see where it takes me.

Posted on January 26, 2012 and filed under Mixology.