Scottish Coffee

I do not know who, where and when came up with the idea of drinking coffee. But for some time, I have every reason to believe that it was not in the searing Africa, the spicy India, and not in the sunny Brazil, but in the ancient mysterious Scotland. At least, I was convinced by my own experience: they are real experts in true coffee. Moreover, I assure you that the Scottish coffee will soon claim the fame of the Scotch whiskey or the Scotch cell. It acquired in this magical land all the necessary qualities for becoming an energetically powerful and strong drink. Even against my picky alchemical taste the Scottish coffee is worthy of the title – a cooking masterpiece. Especially if you know how, with whom and in what atmosphere should drink it. A properly prepared coffee cocktail – and ... the one who tastes it no longer feels himself a mere mortal, but no more or less a member of the royal family of Stuart.

...In the cozy pub of Marrakesh, which is located in the ancient town in the west of Scotland, in fact, happened my encounter with the Royal Scottish coffee.

Usually they drink beer in the pubs. But for some reason this time I wanted to have a cup of coffee. The crafty bartender more looked like a bard, a hero of the Scottish legends, than a cook, carefully looked at me and in response to my request, he said:

– Perhaps I can offer you something more interesting than just a coffee!

Intrigued, I did not even mind. Sitting at the bar, I just watched spellbound as he masterfully was creating an unusual cocktail, instead of the ordered double espresso. Without looking up from the process, my new friend (who introduced himself as Edward) was telling:

– A year ago Mel Gibson was sitting in your place. He then starred in the movie “Brave heart.” We drank some whiskey with him, after that Gibson started to boast of knowledge in the area of Irish coffee. But after the third portion, he was already begging me to reveal the secret of the drink that I prepared for him! I'm not so sure that he remembered it ... Besides, I'm afraid that he mixed up the concepts of the Scottish and Irish coffees.

With these words Edward handed me a glass of the flavored beverage. I took a sip and... after a few moments, like the famous actor, I was begging the bartender to reveal the secret of making of this miracle to me, as well. The thing is that I myself, in some sense, know about cocktails and sometimes like to surprise my friends with my own culinary skills. But even I, who consider myself a connoisseur, was amazed by this cocky, just impossible combination of flavors. After listening to my pleas, the bartender smiled:

– I was sure that you'll love it. Well, now you already know the taste of Scotland's pride. The one that we call Scottish coffee.

And he told me one of those beautiful legends that have brought glory to many local bards and storytellers. Alas, the cocktail was too good, made by the ​​hands of a true master: I did not even remember a half of the story! But everything that concerned the mysterious recipe, I actually managed to keep in my head.

It turns out that even the ancient Picts, who lived on the Isle of Skye (according to legend, the island of clairvoyants), used heather ale for tuning and maintaining the internal vision. Subsequently, they, based on the knowledge of cooking the miracle drink, started to make the “live water” – Talisker whiskey and Drambuie liqueur, – based on the secret recipe of Prince Charles Edward.

– I learnt the cocktail recipe on this very island from a Celtic shaman, – shared Edward. – Previously, however, it consisted of heather ale, liqueur, whiskey and some grains. Later its basis became the coffee, which connected these two drinks – Talisker and Drambuie.

That's what the bartender told me about the legendary whiskey.

Talisker whiskey – one of the six Classic Malts, the best representatives of Scotch whiskey. It is produced on the island of Skye. Talisker distillery works from 1830. The start was very bad: the local minister called it a great evil for the residents of the area. Despite his disapproval, the distilling continued successfully. Several times the distillery changed its owners. Throughout its 160-year history it had survived several fires, and in 1960 had been completely rebuilt. Now the distillery is owned by the United Distillers and Vintners Company, and part of its production goes to the blending of the Johnnie Walker whiskey.

Talisker is the only single malt whiskey on the island of Skye. It is believed that it is something between an insular and a Northern-Scottish whiskey. The smoky and malty sweetness, the sea salt and the pepper taste – so seemingly contradictory characteristics – are at the heart of this complex and harmonious drink.

When I asked Edward about Drambuie, he mysteriously smiled and sang a line from a poem by R. L. Stevenson:

From the bonny bells of heather
They brewed a drink long-syne,
Was sweeter far than honey,

Was stronger far than wine ...
That's what Drambuieis, my friend!

About who and when actually proposed to mix all these drinks in one, my bard did not say anything. But at parting he asked me:

– Reveal the secret of Scottish coffee only to those, whom you consider worthy!

I remember Edward's request, and therefore, my friends, you are exactly the ones, whom I reveal the secret of the cocktail that has so much amazed me on the ground of Scotland.


A cocktail from Oleg Cherne

Black coffee

  • Talisker 1 ounce (10 – or 18-year-old)
  • 1 oz Drambyui
  • Double cream



11 june 2008

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