Traditional Scottish Drinks

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Traditional Scottish drinks include Scottish beer, shilling ale, Drambuie and atholl brose for alcoholic drinks while Red Kola and Irn Bru are popular non-alcoholic drinks. Whiskey is one of Scotland's most well-known drinks with Drambuie following at a close second. Cocktails are popular in Scotland but traditional drinks are simple, focusing on a few flavours instead of blending multiple ingredients.

Scottish Beer

Scottish beer has been a Celtic tradition for more than 5,000 years. Scottish ales, while made in Scotland, do not taste distinctively different from other British ales. Shilling ale however is a definition used primarily in Scotland. A shilling ale referred to how much the beer cost per hogshead of beer initially and now refers to how strong the alcohol content is. A 60 shilling ale is light, with a 3.5 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV) while a 90, the highest has a minimum of a 6 per cent ABV.

Atholl Brose

Atholl brose is a Scottish drink made with oatmeal brose, honey and whiskey. On festive occasions, cream is added to the drink. Legend states that Atholl Brose is named after the 1st Earl of Atholl who stopped a rebellion in 1475 by giving the rebels the drink. To make the drink, mix seven parts oatmeal brose, seven parts whiskey, five parts cream and one part honey.


Drambuie is Scottish Gaelic and means "the drink that satisfies." Drambuie is a liqueur made with honey, malt whiskey and a blend of spices and herbs that remain a secret recipe. The liqueur is made in West Lothian, Scotland and has a strong alcohol content at 40 per cent ABV. One legend says that the recipe was given to the MacKinnon clan by Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) out of gratitude for hiding him from his enemies.


Scotch whiskey, also referred to as Scotch, is made in five categories: blended malt, blended grain, blended scotch, single malt and single grain Scotch whiskey. The first record of Scotch whiskey was in 1495. The drink is required to age in oak barrels for a minimum of three years before being sold. The Scotch Whiskey Regulations govern the production of whiskey in Scotland and have strict qualifications for any distilleries.


Irn Bru is a soft drink made in Cumbernauld, Scotland. The drink is orange-coloured with a slight citrus flavour. Irn Bru is the most popular soft drink in Scotland with Coca Cola at second place. The recipe is a secret, known by two people and stored in a bank vault. Red Kola is made by the Barr company, which also makes Irn Bru. Red Kola is a red soft drink made with cola nuts.

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