Know your neeps from your tatties? Pipe in the perfect homage to Robert Burns with our Ultimate Host guide!
Coming to your living room this January
Robert Burns provided the 16th century commoners with endless joy in his lifetime. Burns Night is a celebration that takes place every January 25th to mark the great bard’s birthday.
His colourful life took him down many roads, leaving many avenues open for your fun night in.
Traditionally guests are welcomed with the sweet Scottish sound of bagpipes on arrival. Unfortunately, we all have that one friend who is always late. To save the piper his lungs and yourself some money, we recommend borrowing some pipes off YouTube as you welcome guests through the door.
Next on the agenda is the chairman’s welcome. This is your time to shine. Introduce your guests and excite them with your night’s itinerary. Finish your speech off with The Selkirk Grace before you bring on the hearty food.
Wheel in the holy grail that is haggis on a platter of your choice. It’s up to the host to bless the meal with a reading of Burns' ‘To a Haggis’ followed by a final toast to all of its glory. Bonus points are awarded if you can match the master of ceremonies at Edinburgh Castle.
With the night well and truly blessed, it’s time to kick off the Bill o’ Fare with some bold broth. There’s no dedicated dish to start so we’d go for a traditional Scottish soup. We recommend trying out Cock-a-Leekie, Cullen Skink, or a vegetable-based Scotch Broth.
No Burns Night is complete without the main event, haggis. Vegans and vegetarians fear not. There’s loads of free recipes out there. Or if you prefer the easy way, we’ve spotted a few supermarkets stocking meat-free versions - just be sure to stock up in time! Serve with neeps (swede) and tatties (potatoes) paired with none other than Belhaven’s Scottish Ale.
Beer Pairing: Belhaven Scottish Ale
Loosen those belts and enjoy a yummy cranachan for dessert. And what better way to wash it down than an auld ‘hauf an a hauf’ - a measure of scotch and half a pint of beer. While your food settles, take this time to try out some more authentic tipples and build spirits for the entertainment ahead.
Often a single guest is asked to read one of Burns’ many poems to begin the party. To save the embarrassment, we’ve opted for our own little twist to channel your inner Robert and become a bard in your own right:
The host must write 10 words per guest onto separate pieces of paper, you can even steal a few from Burns’ own work for a challenge. Fold these up and have all guests draw their equal amount from a hat. Set a timer for 15 minutes and get penning your own poem to present back to the group. Hold a vote once all have been performed to earn a prize or the night’s bragging rights.
With your guests now hopefully in high spirits, it’s time to get your toes tapping and have your own wee ceilidh at home. Why not try some fantastic Scottish music from our Belhaven Bursary winners from over the years - Talisk, Elephant Sessions and Kinnaris Quintet.
As the night comes to an end, take the time to thank all attendees with one final speech. Complete your night by joining hands and belting out your best rendition of Auld Lang Syne. By the time that you’re done,, the transport will have trudged its way to your home, leaving you with the pleasure of hosting your very own Burns Night to beat all others.