The Secret of the Prince
It’s a bottle with a secret blend that has many benefits. It originates in a Scottish tale; but it does exist, it is real, it surprises and satisfies you.
Baptized as Drambuie (the drink that satisfies), it’s used to honor connoisseurs, surprise friends, seduce, evince expertise in the labyrinths of the Bar.
This drink is a wayfarer. It was born as eau de vie (water of life) created for the aristocracy. It dates from the Eighteenth Century and continued on to the Nineteenth Century, always followed by a legion of faithful tasters. Drambuie also has a ‘memory’. Due to its unusual taste, it lives in one’s memories, a typical characteristic of the few existing Whiskey liqueurs, so few that they can be counted on the fingers of two hands.
Some contemporary Bar tales on the Web maintain that the bottle has been seen at Buckingham Palace in London. More trustworthy sources say it is used in receptions at Balmoral Castle, the summer residence in Scotland of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duque of Edinburgh.
Spirits with a distillates basis
No other spirit drink has a taste so typical of its place of origin as whiskey. Scottish whiskey tastes totally different from Irish whiskey, American or Japanese whiskey.
These differences originate in geography, raw matter, distillation, and aging. However, “since all austere whiskey tastes are carefully mixed with herbs and heather honey, they can be enjoyed even by those not acquainted with the pleasure of whiskey.” Thus state Matthias Stelzig and A. Domine after traveling around the world tasting almost everything, in order to write their “Bar Guide”.
The Prince’s Drink
Drambuie, (The Isle of Skye Liqueur) is a blend created in the Eighteenth Century, born as a restorative, prized by Prince Charles Eduard Stuart.
The story goes that the Prince had traveled in secret from Rome to Scotland where he formed an army in the hope of restoring his exiled family, the Stuart House, to the throne of Great Britain. He was successful in taking Edinburgh, and later Manchester; however in his advance towards London, the Jacobins didn’t find any popular acceptance. This attempt at restoration ended in the defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
Pursued by King George the Second’s men, he fled to Scotland and took refuge in the Isle of Skye. During this period of exile, his pursuers found him; however, he was safeguarded and hidden by the MacKinnon Clan, and this enabled the Prince to flee the British isles forever.
In appreciation of his fealty, the Prince gave John MacKinnon, the leader of the clan, the secret recipe of his personal liqueur; a gift that the Clan was bound to treasure for generations.
The blend remains secret, but it advances
Some one hundred years after the Battle of Culloden, John Ross, an hotelier at the Broadford Hotel in Skye, persuaded the MacKinnon clan to allow him to prepare a batch of the family liqueur; this was much appreciated by the locals.
John’s son, James Ross, registered and patented the name Drambuie in 1893. Later on, his widow, Eleanor relocated with the recipe to the city of Edinburgh, where in 1909 she worked with Malcolm MacKinnon, a wholesale whiskey seller, and began to produce her secret blend until the creation in 1914 of the Drambuie Liquor Company Ltd.
As a brand and a bottle, Drambuie survived the prohibition years in the United States, and the two World Wars of the Twentieth Century. Recently, in 2014, the Drambuie recipe changed hands from one family to another when the distiller family, William Grant & Sons (Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Grant) bought the brand.
Only three people know the recipe that has been safeguarded in Glasgow in a safety box that holds the secrets of the Grant & Sons family. Drambuie is one of the few liqueurs in the world that doesn’t need to add alcohol to its composition.
At the American Bar, another tale has been construed regarding Drambuie as the essential ingredient in the Rusty Nail cocktail; this is told by Dale DeGroff, a master mixologist.
DeGroff attributes the creation of the Drambuie blend with Malt Whisky to the clever bartenders at the ‘21’ Club in Manhattan during the early sixties. At the ‘21’ was born the famous B & B, half Benedictine and half cognac, a historic classic at the Bar.
Readers will find in the official Drambuie.com/Cocktail page, the newest recipes in use in America and Europe. It’s worth a try.