Are you a breakfast person? Bacon and eggs, or the comforting aroma of hot, steamy oatmeal?
BROSE(s) [brōz; Scot.] – n. a dish made by stirring boiling water or milk into oatmeal. [Not to be confused with your bro’s breakfast.]
Chefs and those who actually cook their meals, may know that this word is not a synonym for buddy. “They’s all my broses!” John said, pointing to the group of guys playing a scrappy game of pickup basketball. Uh-uh. More like …
As a food connoisseur with a delicate palate, you watch the dawn brighten your day while pouring hot water into your cereal bowl, and taking in a slow deep breath, exclaim heartily, “Ummm, the brose smells good …”
Hahahaha … okay, now that we have the chuckle of the day out of the way, the real scene goes … if we absolutely must be up when the night’s shadows are still skulking in the corners, we’re staring into our cereal bowl with sleep-glazed eyes, heave a heavy sigh as we splatter milk into it, and mutter grumpily, “The oatmeal needs cinnamon.”
At first glance, brose is a rather highbrow term for a banal breakfast staple. Clearing the morning fog from my eyes, I spotted an eye-opening “cocktail” variation …
Apparently Scottish legend has it that the 1st Earl of Atholl* cunningly spiked his enemy’s well water with a mixture of oatmeal brose, honey, and whisky. The happy-water made his rival cheery and agreeable, which allowed the ol’ earl to quell a Highland rebellion in 1475. For his inspiration, the heady concoction is known as Atholl Brose.
And they likely celebrated his victory by adding a dollop of cream – think Bailey’s – to the popular festive blend.
Later, a reported pleasure of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, their Atholl Brose recipe goes like this:
There are a number of fun places to visit for more eloquent recipes and intriguing patter: Difford’s Guide for Discerning Drinkers and How to Make a Uniquely Scottish Tipple offer stimulating takes on the Atholl Brose. Particularly entertaining is the background story at The call of the Honeyguide.
Cheers to the Scottish! Or rather, “Slainte tae th' Scottish!”
*As is often the case on the Internet, research is ambiguous at best and completely erroneous at worst. Various renditions of the venerable legend cannot agree if Atholl was a Duke or an Earl or if his legend has merit at all. Pick the one you like best while you’re sipping your Atholl Brose.
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