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Journey of Drambuie

the journey of drambuie


Drambuie: 'The Drink that Satisfies'

The Isle of Skye is home to the infamous whisky liqueur 'Drambuie'. Drambuie is said to be a gentle blend of aged Scotch whisky, spices, herbs and heather honey. It's name derives from Scots Gaelic 'An Dram Buidheach' meaning 'The Drink that Satisfies'. Perhaps we'll leave it to you to decide that one?

And so the journey began....

The story of Drambuie began in 1745 when it arrived on British shores under the guardianship of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, better known today as Bonnie Prince Charlie. The drink was one which had much significance in Bonnie Prince Charlie's life as he would drink a few drops a day for strength and vitality.

Despite travelling all the way from Rome in hope to gather an army to save his exiled family (The House of Stuart to the throne of Great Britain), he was defeated at The Battle of Culloden in 1746 and persued by the King's men, to which he then fled to The Isle of Skye.

After a short period of exile here on the island, Bonnie's persuers unfortunately located him, with which he seeked help to flee the island from Clan Mackinnon. Clan Mackinnon bravely helped Bonnie to escape to the British Isles, and in return for his help, Bonnie gave John Mackinnon (the clan leader), the secret recipe to his personal liqueur, as we know today to be Drambuie. This recipe was considered to be the ultimate gift which was held dearly by the Clan family for many years after.

A hundred or so years later...

John Ross, the hotelier of The Broadford Hotel at the time, persuaded the Mackinnon family to let him make up a batch of their family liqueur to sell in the hotel bar. This was then very much enjoyed by the locals of Skye, with which two of the regulars declared this drink to be 'the drink that satifies' ('an dram buidheach').

Later in 1893, James Ross, John's son, went onto register a patent for the name 'Drambuie', with which his wife Eleanor moved with the recipe to Edinburgh in 1909 to work with Malcolm Mackinnon, a whisky wholesaler, to create the offical Drambuie Liqueur Company Ltd in 1914. 

What we know today...

Drambuie then went on to survive both World Wars and Prohibition in the U.S.

In 2014, the Drambuie recipe was passed on to William Grant & Sons who eventually acquired the brand.

To this day, the components which go into making Drambuie so delicious are still very much a secret. The details are stored in a safe in a blending facility near Glasgow, with which only three people know the confirmed recipe; with one of these people being fifth generation to the founder William Grant, who personally mixes each batch of Drambuie. 

It is believed that the Drambuie recipe includes ingredients of honey and lavender, but the rest is yet to be unveiled...

For more information, visit the official hub of Drambuie...


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