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Atholl Brose Recipe: How To Make A Uniquely Scottish Tipple

Updated on February 5, 2012
Home Made Atholl Brose
Home Made Atholl Brose

What Is Atholl Brose?

Atholl Brose is a Scottish tipple enjoyed all year round but especially popular around Christmas and Hogmanay. Made from oatmeal brose, whisky, honey, and (on festive occasions) cream. Atholl Brose is a uniquely Scottish concoction, that said, it travels well and tastes equally delicious whether you’re in Aberdeen, Adelaide or Arkansas.

The Legend Of Atholl Brose

The true origin of Atholl Brose is shrouded in myth and legend. One legend says that the drink was first created by the Duke of Atholl in the late 15th century as a means to entrap the rebel Iain Macdonald.

After discovering a drinking well where Macdonald often stopped to quench his thirst, the Duke of Atholl ordered his men to fill it with honey, oatmeal and whiskey. Imagine Macdonald‘s surprise and delight when he discovered the well water had somehow miraculously turned into a tasty Brose.

The legend then goes on to describe how Macdonald and a few of his followers indulged themselves to the point of inebriation. At which point the Duke of Atholl’s men moved in and captured the somewhat incapacitated rebel leader and his cohorts without resistance.

What Is Brose?

Brose is a very basic form of porridge: oatmeal mixed with cold water. It might sound unappetizing to our sophisticated pallets today, nevertheless it was a staple in times gone by. In the 16th century, shepherds carried stone flasks containing a mixture of oatmeal and water. As the shepherds traveled the hills and moors tending their sheep, the mixture was constantly agitated creating the brose.

I am sure you will find this brose recipe a little more palatable.

Atholl Brose Recipe:

First you need to make the Brose. Steep 2lb (900g) of course oatmeal (Quaker is fine) in 2 pints (1200ml) cold water for 24 hours stirring occasionally. After 24 hours, strain the water/oatmeal mixture through muslin cloth. Once the majority the liquid has run free twist the muslin into a ball and ring hard to drain as much liquid as possible. The brose should be milky in color and free if oatmeal flakes. Keep the brose and discard the oatmeal.


  • 1 Pint (600ml) Brose
  • 3/4 Pint (450ml) Of Cream
  • 1/2 Pint (300ml) Whisky (Use a good quality single malt)
  • 4 tbs Honey


  1. In a large bowl Mix the honey and the brose making sure the honey is dissolved completely.
  2. Add the cream and Whisky and mix thoroughly.
  3. Decant into bottles and store in a cool place but do not refrigerate as this can cause the cream to curdle.


More Traditional Scottish Recipes


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    • profile image

      sheelagh 22 months ago

      Well, I had a go at your recipe....are you certain that you have the measurement of oatmeal right? I ended up with a solid lump of wet oatmeal and there was no way that this would strain let alone produce any brose. Now, looking at other recipes NO ONE uses such a Large quantity of oatmeal to liquid !

    • D.Juris Stetser profile image

      D.Juris Stetser 5 years ago from South Dakota

      Sounds intriguing also...I think it might be fun trying it too! voted up, interesting useful and awesome...sharing again...thanks!!

    • profile image

      Alan 5 years ago

      Does anyone know how many pints this serving makes?

    • shin_rocka04 profile image

      shin_rocka04 5 years ago from Maryland

      This definitely sounds like a go to drink for cold weather or in the holidays.

    • profile image 5 years ago

      Like it says, it's been around a long time. I first started making it bout 30 years a go. And can vouch for it being 'Good! Very good! Use good ingredients, take your time and let it sit for a bit with the oats in it...' Rich and creamy and puts a big grin on your face.... It's rather filling and nutritious. too. Don't count the calories in the cream or honey, the alcohol cancels them out..

    • profile image

      stessily 6 years ago

      Peter, Fascinating, humorous culinary background to a tempting dish. Oatmeal has been finessed as a culinary treasure in Scotland!

      Thank you for sharing this recipe with clear instructions.

    • profile image

      Derdriu 6 years ago

      Peter Hoggan, What an appetizing, careful, exquisite presentation of how to make one's own Atholl Brose and drink it too! As usual, you do a wonderful job of identifying the wider culinary, cultural and historical contexts of the particular food item in question. Additionally, I like the variation which you share regarding the substitution of Irish for Scottish Whiskey.

      Thank you for sharing, voted up + all,


    • Dale Hyde profile image

      Dale Hyde 6 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

      Sounds good, Peter... Have just shared that with my wife and she likes the idea. :) Thanks.

    • Peter Hoggan profile image

      Peter Hoggan 6 years ago from Scotland

      Good stuff Dale. Incidentally, If you change the Scottish Whisky to a fine Irish Whiskey, something like Bushmills, you will have a very tasty Irish Cream to sip away at.

    • Dale Hyde profile image

      Dale Hyde 6 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

      Thanks, Peter. My wife has it down and is going to give it a try.

    • Peter Hoggan profile image

      Peter Hoggan 6 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Dale, Atholl Brose like many traditional Scottish recipes has an interesting story to tell. I hope you give it a try to I am sure you will enjoy it.

    • Dale Hyde profile image

      Dale Hyde 6 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

      Well done and informative. To be honest, had no idea what this was, lol, however, upon reviewing the recipe, I am sure to give this a try in the near future. :) The alternative is that I will pass this on to my wife, who is the wine maker here, and let her brew this up. :) Thanks!

    • Peter Hoggan profile image

      Peter Hoggan 6 years ago from Scotland

      vespawoolf, I am a bit of a fan of Scottish liquors myself.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 6 years ago from Peru, South America

      I'm a huge fan of Scottish liquors. The legend that goes with this one is entertaining!