Caledonophiles all over South Africa will be raising a toast tonight to Sir Robert Burns – celebrating not only the Scottish poet’s life and body of work but also ties between Scotland and South Africa.
Burns Night or Burns supper – traditionally celebrated to mark his birthday on January 25th every year - was first organised by the legendary Scottish poet’s close friends and family as a memorial dinner, but the night has since morphed into an international event, cheering Scotland's distinctive culture and heritage (and an excuse to drink loads of Scotch).
While people normally celebrate the evening in their homes or in restaurants with traditional Scottish fare, music and renditions of Burns poetry, here in SA we have ample reason to raise a glass of whiskey on this auspicious occasion.
Once seen as a drink for an older generation, Whisky has undergone somewhat of a rebrand in recent times.
Here are 5 reason’s we should all be sipping the golden nectar this evening:
Cocktails & Celebrities
Once upon a time you had limited choices: neat, on the rocks or with soda. Nowadays, whiskey cocktails are trendy ( think ‘Johnnie & ginger’) and can be enjoyed at home, at events and in the club. Haig Clubman – David Beckham’s sweeter brand designed for cocktails – was recently launched in SA and showed us the versatility of the liquid which doesn’t have to be drunk in a certain way #makeyourownrules.
Millennial culture has ushered in a new era of responsible drinking. Beverage companies like Diageo are no longer happy to simply sell their products, but want to impress upon their consumers safe consumption. The #leaveasyouarrived advertisement and campaign are evidence of this.
Fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship
J&B Hive in Braamfontein, Johannesburg is an accelerator and training platform for entrepreneurs, providing not only physical space in the form of co-working offices but also professional support in the form of workshops and access to business coaches. This is the perfect blend of old and new - Whisky working alongside up-and-coming entrepreneurs of all backgrounds in South Africa to create magic.
The launch of pocket scotch in SA at the end of October 2018 might be the biggest game-changer for the spirit. These smaller-format, non-glass bottles are perfect to bring to festivals and parties. They are a safer, more accessible and are at an affordable price point. The Johnnie Walker Red version and the entry level Black & White Scotch variants are an exciting new face of Scotch in South Africa.
Game of Thrones
While the whole world eagerly awaits the final season of GOT, we can bring our own winter with new White Walker – legacy brand Johnnie Walker’s ode to the smash hit series. Keep your limited edition bottle in the freezer for a truly unforgettable experience.