Burns didn’t just write in Scots and about Scots he also drank Scotland (in a manner of speaking). Burns favoured moorland tea a drink made with heather. It’s an earthy drink, due to the ground ivy, yet it is lifted by the sweet blossom of the heather and it’s most refreshing all year round.
- Heather Blossom (Calluna vulgaris)
- Bilberry leaf (Vaccinum myrtillus)
- Raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus)
- Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea)
Place a pinch of each of the ingredients into a teapot and pour over hot water. Leave to infuse for 5-8 mins, strain and serve in a china tea cup. Perhaps with some toast smothered with heather blossom honey on the side.
Other Heather blossom drinks
Had Rabbie Burns lived a thousand or so years earlier he may have favoured some more potent brews made with heather blossom. The below recipe is one that was given to me my good friend Alex Hughes and it appeared in my book Booze for Free.
- 1.5kg runny delicately flavoured honey
- Half a cup dried heather flowers
- 1.5 litres of boiling water
- Sweet mead yeast
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
Put the jars of honey into a bowl of hot water so that they are easier to pour. Put honey into fermentation bin, pour boiling water over the top and stir.
Place the heather into the bottom of a demijohn and pour over the honey mixture. If needs be, top up with cold water to one gallon. Add yeast and yeast nutrient, attach solid rubber bung and shake demijohn. Remove bung and attach airlock.
After two months, remove heather and syphon the liquid off the sediment into another demijohn – a process known as racking. Repeat the process again after about six months. Allow to fully ferment before bottling. Mead will vastly improve if left to condition in the bottle for at least a year.