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Whiskey - Take Stock Magazine

Try a Dram

Whisky is fashionable again, with younger drinkers discovering the incredible range of styles and flavours it offers, neat, mixed or in cocktails. The category is growing significantly as customers seek richer whisky experiences and opt for premium and new brands*.


Thanks to the sheer range of whiskies available, there is a product or style to suit every customer, and Burns Night (25 January) presents the perfect opportunity to experiment with your offering.

“Whisky is an integral element of the celebration, but with so much choice, choosing the right one can be a daunting prospect,” says Flora Muirhead from World Whisky Day.

Smoky or sweet? Blended or single malt? Mixed or neat? Take Stock spoke to Flora to bring you a guide to what to pour this Burns Night…

To start

Why not start off with a whisky from one of the oldest operating distilleries in Scotland? Spirit has been flowing on the site of the Glenturret Distillery in Perthshire since at least 1717, according to records, so Burns himself could well have enjoyed a dram. The standard 10-year-old whisky is a great value dram, with all the classic flavours you’d expect from a single malt Scotch – making it a superb aperitif.

The Isle of Arran Distillers produces a range of unique and charming single malts, ranging from the citrusy and creamy 10-year-old to the wonderfully opulent Marsala Finish. The brand has even used Burns’ image to create a whisky in his honour: The Robert Burns Single Malt.

whisky stat - Take Stock Magazine

The main event

Tradition states that a haggis should be doused with a little whisky before serving. Johnnie Walker Black Label or Black Bottle both have peaty backbones to stand up to the haggis, and neither will disappoint when served alongside it.

For those new to whisky, what about something distinctly modern? Monkey Shoulder was launched in 2005 and has been a starring member of back bars around the world ever since. A blend of three Speyside single malts, it was voted the ‘trendiest’ whisky in 2016. It’s a perfect choice for an alternative Burns night this year, maybe featuring a vegetarian haggis.

Alternatively, offer your customers a Haig Clubman – a whisky specifically designed to appeal to drinkers wanting to learn more about Scotch – and brilliant neat or with mixers.

Any of the whiskies we’ve mentioned will work perfectly in cocktails. The Rob Roy, combining sweet vermouth, Scotch whisky and Angostura bitters, is a perfect choice. More fitting still, seek out a bottle of Benedictine liquor and you’ve got all the ingredients for a Bobby Burns!

whisky stat - Take Stock Magazine

To finish

Once the meal is over and Auld Lang Syne has been chorused by the merry guests, there’s time for one final dram. Laphroaig 10, with its powerful and smoky hit, is sure to keep guests warm for their journey home. For a non-peaty alternative, try the rich and heavily sherried Macallan Double C.

Boost your whisky offering year round by:

Create a whisky menu – include information about the distillery, its history, location, provenance and any interesting facts. The ‘story’ will get your customers talking and pique their interest.

Tasting evenings – your suppliers will help, or if you’ve a local specialist, invite them in to talk about the range.

Flights – whisky flights that allow drinkers to explore a certain region or country are fun – or offer base, premium and super-premium shots of the same brand.

Promote – have a whisky of the week or month. Make sure your best customers get the chance to try it at a special price too – if you can get people talking about your choice, you’ll sell more.

New offerings – if your customers discover something new at your outlet, social media activity will make sure you’re onto a winner!

Want to know more?

World Whisky Day on Saturday 18 May invites everyone to try a dram and celebrate the ‘water of life’ across the world. It recognises all types of whisk(e)y and encourages everyone to join in the celebration of this incredible spirit. For more information or to discuss a partnership, contact

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