The Atholl Brose

This holiday season we came across a recipe for Atholl Brose. It is a drink of Scottish decent; a simple whiskey based concoction which may or may-not include Honey, Oatmeal, Water, Milk or Cream. As we researched the recipe the one thing  learned for sure about the drink is that there are many, many variations. Some use dairy and some do not. Some soak the oatmeal in whiskey, some in water. Some serve the drink hot while most offer it chilled. We have even seen recipes with the addition of coffee. As well the actual Scotch Whiskey you choose as a base is going to give variety to the final drink.

The versions of how the Atholl Brose came to be are as varied as the recipes themselves. The various renditions of the story all date back to the 15th century and seem to have the common thread of a drinking well being filled with the concoction. Was it the Earl of Roth who drank from the well, dulling his senses to the point of his capture by the Earl of Atholl? Another version has the Giant of Atholl being lulled off to sleep by the hunter Dougal who then slayed the trouble making Giant in his sleep. Whatever the story, the Atholl Brose has been a drink of celebration for centuries and in its many forms is an enjoyable dram.

The most common recipes call for steel cut oatmeal to be soaked for 1 or 2 days in either cold water or the Scotch itself and the strained liquid reserved is known as “Brose”. The Brose is then blended with honey (whiskey if a water Brose) over a gentle heat with or without the addition of cream or milk.

The recipe we offer you today is drawn from numerous sources where the Brose is derived from soaking the oatmeal in cold water then used as a base for the drink.

Atholl Brose


  • ½ Cup Steel Cut Oatmeal
  • 1 ½ Cups Water
  • 3 Ounces of Honey (+/- to taste)
  • 8 Ounces of Scotch Whiskey (I Used Highland Single Malt)
  • 5 Ounces Heavy Cream


  1. Soak the oats in water for 24 hours.
  2. Drain the Brose from the oats straining in through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, squeezing out every drop.
  3. In a Saucepan over very low heat combine Brose, Scotch, Honey and Cream
  4. Warm only to thin the honey and combine ingredients till smooth
  5. Chill and refrigerate
  6. Serve chilled as an after dinner drink or morning pick me up