Toasting the Ploughman Poet: Robert Burns

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Words by: Dine Girl
Photographs by: LUCAS NOONAN

Even by today’s standards, the famed Scottish poet Robert Burns lived a very fast life.

Also known as the Ploughman Poet, he fathered numerous illegitimate children (think double digits!) and had too many love affairs to count. Puts our modern day ploughman Mick Jagger to shame. Every year on Rabbie’s birthday, the world over celebrates the great poet with a night of debauchery, poetry, and scotch. Ploughing optional.

January 25th, 2015 would have marked his 256th birthday. For anyone who’s ever attended (and survived) a Burns Night, you know that the evening does not consist of yawns, boredom and polite conversation. Instead, it usually consists of dapper men in kilts and tuxedos, a heavy mix of scotch-fueled ruckus, poetry, bagpipes, haggis, and more scotch and even more ruckus…

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This year (as with every year) we attended the Burns Night Supper hosted by Scotsman Duncan Quinn. The event was held at Soho House NY’s library room. If only all libraries entailed this much fun! Amidst the table hopping and scotch intake, there were some great highlights to the Scottish themed  menu. Cock-a-leekie (chicken and leek soup) was fresh and clean with a soul satisfying broth. The winter vegetable salad accented with dill was a huge hit. Following the requisite haggis (faux-haggis in this case, as it was minced lamb with spices), the braised short ribs arrived just in time for the men to switch from slurping to chomping. Do the guests realize that haggis isn’t actually a 3 legged hairy animal that runs around the hills of Scotland counter clockwise, as described by Mr. Quinn? Or maybe they believed this myth and tucked into the little beast thinking this was indeed the stuff of legend magically making an appearance on W13th street on a Saturday night.Thanks to the generous sponsors, there was a beautiful selection of whisky such as Bowmore, Auchentoshan, Glengarioch, Hibiki and Yamazaki scattered around on each table. Since my manicured paws weren’t long enough or quick enough to reach anything other than what was right in front of me, I only managed to try the Japanese whisky, Yamazaki. No complaints here! Beautifully smooth with caramel tones, it was a true treat and no surprise that it is among the best in the world.The night concludes with a inaudible rendition of Auld Lang Syne and more toasting to our host, each other, life, and the air. Judging by the way everyone stumbled onto the next location, I think this crowd did Robert Burns proud – his legacy will most certainly continue to live on.

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Words by DineGirl Photos by Lucas Noonan