Atholl-Brose-art - 5/9/08
"Atholl Brose" by Mistress Morgana yr Oerfa, OP. A report on some experiments on making Atholl Brose, a beverage of Scotch or other distilled liquor and a grain such as oatmeal.
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
by Mistress Morgana yr Oerfa, OP
(Following is an informal report of a brewing guild experiment back in 1999. No original sources are available for the recipes at this time. But we thought you would enjoy seeing the results. Attending were Grimr af Vargeyjum, guildmaster, Barbara de la Cara Rojas, Chantal de Sade, Magdalena Oshitkanova, Giuliana di Benedetto Falconieri, and Your Chronicler, although there were probably a couple more there.)
The Barony of Winter's Gate's (Fairbanks, Alaska) September brewing guild meeting was dedicated to Atholl Brose, traditionally a mixture of scotch, oatmeal and honey, and sometimes cream. Guildmaster Grimr af Vargeyjum provided a handful of different recipes (orignal sources unknown), and the ground oats. Grimr provided the oats, which were stone-cut if I remember correctly.
The participants came armed with a variety of scotch whiskeys, ranging from expensive single malts to cheap blends, prepared to try all of the recipes. Following are the recipes, and the ingredients used, and the results of the tasting of the night of mixing, and a week later.
Ingredient amounts are often vague, and we made it up as we went along in those cases. And we had no silver spoons to mix anything with.
Scots Cellar #1
To make a quart, take four dessert spoonfuls of run honey and four sherry glassfuls of prepared oatmeal*; stir these well together and put into a quart bottle; fill up with whisky; shake well before serving. (*To prepare the oatmeal, put it into a basin and mix with cold water to the consistency of a thick paste. Leave for about half an hour, pass through a fine strainer, pressing with the back of a wooden spoon so as to leave the oatmeal as dry as possible. Discard the meal and use the creamy liquor for the brose.)
Two batches were made of Scots Cellars #1 -- one with Oban single malt and fireweed honey; one with Granits (a decent blend) and maple blackberry honey. Most agreed it was too harsh the first night, with the scotch flavor in the Oban batch overpowering the oats and honey almost completely. A week later both were slightly more drinkable, but still very strong and peaty with little honey flavor -- for scotch lovers only. The Granits had also improved. It appears a blend does fine in this one, a good single malt is wasted and should be drunk without adulteration.
Scots Cellar #2
Mix half a pound of run honey and half a pound of fine oatmeal together with a little cold water, then pour in very slowly a quart of well-flavoured malt whisky. Stir the whole vigorously (using a silver spoon) until a generous froth rises to the top; then bottle and cork tightly. Keep for two days, and serve in a silver bowl.
Two batches were made of Scots Cellar #2 -- one with Glen Ord single malt and maple blackberry honey; one with a blend o' blends (leftovers of the Granits and the Old Smugglers) with clover honey. Tasters agreed the first night that this recipe was the most drinkable, and that one could definitely tell the differences in the scotches. A week later, the Glen Ord batch was the best-flavored of these two for the non-scotch lovers (cries of sacrilege were heard). The blend o' blends had also definitely improved. In both the oat texture was more pronounced.
Scots Cellar #3 (with cream)
Beat one and a half teacups of double cream to a froth; stir in a teacup of very lightly toasted oatmeal; add half a teacup of dripped heather honey and, just before serving, two wine-glasses of whisky. Mix thoroughly and serve in shallow glasses.
One batch was made of this recipe: Old Smugglers and maple blackberry honey. It produced a very thick mixture, and could have benefited from a better brand. It was thought that the cream could be aerated rather than frothed. However, the tasters liked the flavor from the toasted oats and were thinking in the future of toasting oats in some of the other recipes. A week later this had turned into alcoholic oatmeal, which might have been edible if it had been made with a better scotch. One could still taste that the oats had been toasted. Definitely needs to be drunk shortly after mixing. The shallow glasses would help avoid some of the denser oat material.
From the SCA Cook's List:
a fifth of scotch, a gallon of water, a pound of oatmeal, a pound of honey and a quart of heavy cream. The oats were soaked overnight and the water drained off and reserved. The oats were used for anything else, but not for this anymore. Mix the scotch, oat water, honey and cream.
This one was the easiest to make, and one batch was made with an un-recorded brand. (Your scribe can't remember which one she brought and of course didn't write it down! Although it was probably a moderately-priced single malt, as she doesn't much like scotch, especially the real peaty ones.) The honey was fireweed. At first tasting the amount of scotch flavoring appeared weak in comparison to the other recipes, and suggestions were made to cut in half the amount of water the oats were soaked in, and to increase the honey a bit to balance the flavors. However, after a week, this one got the highest marks: the flavors were nicely balanced, and one could even tell the flavor of the honey used. It was still recommended to cut the water in half, which shouldn't affect the overall flavor blend, just the balance of liquids to the alcohol. However, there is not enough alcohol in the overall recipe to preserve the mixture: the test bottle left unrefrigerated was bad by the second tasting a week after the first, and the refrigerated ones lasted only a few days past that. But it would make a good recipe to make a large batch for quick consumption at an event if kept for a short time refrigerated.
Submitted by Morgana yr Oerfa, compulsive scribe
Copyright 2008 by Sharron Albert, Box 80925, Fairbanks, AK 99708. <morgana at gci.net>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author receives a copy.
If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.