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FOOD: National Drink of Scotland

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eggshaped
336962.  Thu May 15, 2008 8:41 am Reply with quote

Question: What was the Scottish national drink before whisky?

Forfeit: Irn Bru, Tennants Extra

Answer: Claret


Notes:
Thanks to the special friendship that Scotland had with France (i.e. mutual hatred of the English) Claret was the national drink of Scotland; way before the distillation of whisky became a commercially viable. Scottish merchants started importing the choice selection of Bordeaux's finest wines with the signing of the Auld Alliance in 1295 while nearly 200 years later,1494 marks the first written evidence of the production of Scotch. Due to war with France, the English government forbade the import of claret from France so the Scots imported vast quantities into border territories where locals made a good living by smuggling the drink into northern England.

The Chinese were in fact the first to discover whisky, but it was first (independently) invented in Europe by the Italians in the 12th Century. The word comes from the gaelic phrase uisce beatha meaning “water of life”, and is supposed to have been a corruption by the soldiers of Henry II. It is always spelled with an “e” in Ireland, and without in Scotland, though it was previously always spelled without: the “-ey” version was invented by Irish distillers to distinguish their wares from the substandard Scotch whisky.

The drink Irn Bru is distinctively named for trading-standards reasons. It neither contains iron, nor is it brewed.

Alcohol misuse is a problem in Scotland. A report by the Scottish Government's Health Analytical Services Division claimed this year that it is costing the country £2.25bn per year. Professor Neil Douglas, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has been quoted as saying: "Excessive drinking has increasingly become the norm. It is now our national shame,"

Additional sources:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3398831.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7385631.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/6107844.stm

Picture Ideas:
A drunken Scotsman
Claret jug? Some glasses of wine would be good, but I don't know where you'll find some of those to photograph - I occasionally see some in the green room, but they're quite elusive.

 
dr.bob
341033.  Wed May 21, 2008 9:41 am Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
Alcohol misuse is a problem in Scotland. A report by the Scottish Government's Health Analytical Services Division claimed this year that it is costing the country £2.25bn per year.


Aye, but according to this article, overseas sales of scotch whisky bring in about £2.5 billion a year, so I guess we're still £250 million up on the deal :)

 

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