Below is an excerpt from GINNED! Magazine about Makar Glasgow Gin. Every month, Craft Gin Club members receive a bottle of amazing small-batch gins accompanied by GINNED! Magazine which is full of features about the gin, the distillery and loads of fascinating features.
Makar Glasgow Gin Brand Ambassador David Thomson concocted a series of four cocktails for GINNED! Magazine in the month of January. The Snowstatue cocktail was inspired by Scottish Makar, Sir Walter Scott.
“We build statues out of snow, and weep to see them melt.”
This quote from Sir Walter Scott, one of the father’s of modern English-language literature, inspires the Snowstatue cocktail and touches upon the occasional folly of human endeavour: those that build empires on falsehoods surprise even themselves when their empires crumble. Scott, in his later years, was no stranger to those follies as he died an indebted man due to the financial collapse of the printing press company in which he was partner.
But it was that same printing press that built his fame. Firstly that printing press produced the pages on which his poetry was written, the poetry which made his name. Then, his novels, although Scott published those anonymously.
One of his most well-known novels, Rob Roy, fits this edition of GINNED! Magazine’s cocktail stories particularly well. Robert Louis Stevenson, who lit the inspiration for Makar’s “Good Red Fire” cocktail with “Christmas at Sea”, praised Rob Roy in an essay as one of his favourite pieces of literature. And it just so happened that Scott published the book on Hogmanay in 1817, the same Scottish festival depicted in Liz Lochhead’s Love Poem to Scotland.
Another reason Scott’s Rob Roy coincides with our cocktail stories is the title’s name in cocktail history itself, even if within that history the cocktail played second fiddle, similarly to the novel’s character.
The novel’s title leads the reader a bit astray: the main character is not actually Rob Roy MacGregor, based on the eponymous folk hero of the Jacobite Uprisings and a man also known as the Scottish Robin Hood. Rather, the main character’s fate becomes intertwined with that of MacGregor who is not introduced until the middle pages of the book.
In cocktail history, the Rob Roy was introduced to the world at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria hotel in 1894, a tribute to the opening of the operetta of the same name based on MacGregor’s life. A mixture of Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth with a dash of bitters, the Rob Roy added a slight twist to an already established concoction, the Manhattan. The difference? The Waldorf’s bartender simply traded the Manhattan’s rye whiskey for Scotch making the Rob Roy a permanent fixture in cocktail lore, however not the main character.
Scott, however, remains a principle player in the literary world, influencing authors and students everywhere. His estate may have melted during his lifetime, but his honour lives on in his works and in the stone statues that dot the Scottish landscape in his honour. So as you mix your Snowstatue this Christmas season, watching the cream melt through the Gin of Poets, remember that some snow statues melt only to be resurrected in eternal stone.
- 37.5ml Makar Glasgow Gin
- 12.5ml Brown Creme De Cacao
- 10ml Cardomom Syrup
- 5ml Lemon Juice
- 50ml Cream
Method: Combine all ingredients in shaker and shake. Fine strain into high-ball glass and top with crushed ice. Garnish with shavings of dark chocolate.
Background: Title and cocktail inspired by the quote from Sir Walter Scott; "We build statues out of snow, and weep to see them melt."
Food Match: Turkish Delight