Burns Night, Naturally!


Tonight is officially Burns Night, but my friends and I  raised our glasses in celebration of the great Scottish bard this past Saturday for our Third Annual Burns Night Supper. It happened to be the day of the Women’s March, so many of our ladies and some of our men marched and then spent an evening celebrating friendship, art, and love. As I said previously, while my mind may have been in the Highlands preparing for a house full of dear ones, my heart was marching with them. We will continue to fight for all human rights, but we will continue to create magic, too!


Here’s the invitation we created for this year’s soirée. Don’t you just love that tartan? It’s called the Pride of Scotland Autumn. I ordered some gorgeous ribbon in this pattern for decorating…aaaand it didn’t show up. Sigh. Maybe you’ll see it next year.




Every year I mean to take a before picture of the room as a comparison, and every year I forget. You see, this is usually our living room. That wall on the left typically supports a couch and is covered in a couple dozen pictures. Pretty sure I’ve said it before, but transformation is kind of my thing.


I bought several yards of muslin from JoAnn Fabrics to make an overlay for my table – which happens to be 4 folding tables put together – for the swags that went through the wreaths, and to make the Auld Lang Syne sign on the wall. The large wood and glass piece going down the middle of the table is a beautiful old door with a full length mirror that I found in an alley years ago.





Oh, look! It’s a rare Emily sighting!



I made my husband a kilt using THIS super easy tutorial and a beautiful piece of fabric I found at a Village Discount Outlet several years ago.





As always, you can find the definitive list for a tip-top traditional Burns Night running order on the BBC website; but I’ve included ours below.

Burns Night Supper 2017 Schedule of Events

6:00pm – Refreshments, Scottish music, and conversation
6:30pm – Chairperson’s Address & Welcome – Adapted from this book summary
Guests are welcomed to the table
The Selkirk Grace
First course – cullen skink
Ceremonial procession of the haggis
To a Haggis
Main course – haggis, Bryan’s beef roast, tatties & neeps
Dessert course – Cranachan ice cream & shortbread cookies
Toast to Rabbie Burns
The Entertainments
Toast to the Lassies
Toast to the Laddies
Auld Lang Syne – outside with sparklers!







Hahaha! That photo above makes me laugh.

The Menu

We made only a couple of tweaks to our menu from 2015. I’ll call this Traditional Burns American! I do wish we could get a proper haggis here, though. Sigh.

Cullen skink – We made this last year and it was such a big hit that we knew we needed to make it again. We did substitute smoked salmon for the haddock.
The Haggis – We bought a large presentation haggis this year, as well as a veggie haggis. One of these years we might try to make our own.
Bryan’s Scottish beef roast – We always have the fear of people walking away hungry, so we can’t help but make an extra main.
Tatties & neeps – Same recipe as last year, only this year my husband did the shopping so TURnips were properly purchased instead of my mistake of buying PARSnips like last year!
Rustic carrots – Again, adapted and simplified from THIS recipe. We added some pine nuts on top.
Crannachan Ice Cream – This was a recipe that I made up on the fly, as the sticky toffee pudding that I planned was a bit of a disaster! I used store bought vanilla ice cream and it was quick and easy. I may post the recipe because it was delightful.

Cheeseboard – Including Carr’s oat and wheat crackers, GF crackers, mixed dried fruit, nuts, and a variety of cheeses from the British Isles: Long Clawson Stilton Aged Blue, Kerrygold Skellig Irish Cheddar, and Amber Valley Double Gloucester.




Scotch Selection*

Below is a list of the scotches we had on hand this year. Such a wonderful selection: let’s just say that we were well and truly tippled!

Johnnie Walker Red – This is our go to for a nice smooth, unassuming table scotch and is great in punches.

Auchentoshan 12 Year Old -Our Lowland scotch for special toasts. Dear ol’ Rabbie was from the Lowlands, you know.

Royal Brackla 12 Year – From the Highlands, it’s motto: “The King’s Own Whiskey”. Though I wasn’t a big fan myself – I found it a bit too light and caramelly – others said they enjoyed.

Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year – I do enjoy Balvenie so! It’s fairly smooth with great depth. Our friends Chad and Abby shared this bottle with the table.

Laphroaig 10 Year – Always a peaty Highland favorite; it just so happens that this is the first scotch I ever tried, a good seven years ago! Luke and Nicole brought along a bottle to share.

We also made our own punch that I dubbed Highland Mary Punch (adapted from THIS recipe again), which was delish and a nice way to start off the night!

*As always, we keep lots of water on hand and encourage everyone to keep hydrated.










The Entertainments

Oh, my the entertainments!! Everyone really upped their game this year. We had so many songs based on Burns poems – both traditional tunes and entirely new compositions! The book was being passed around, and we had a couple of impromptu interpretations, as well. You haven’t heard Robbie Burns until someone has performed it Shatner beat poem style, accompanied by bass and jazz guitar!

Below I’ve listed a smattering of my favorites, but here is a great reference website, if you’d like to choose your own: Burns Poems & Translations.

On Wedding Rings
To a Louse
My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose – Always gorgeously arranged and sung by our friend Chad.
A Highland Welcome
‘Twas Past One O’clock – This is a wonderfully fun little song!
Deluded Swain, the Pleasure – A great poem to reference in a Toast to the Lassies!
My Heart is in the Highlands
A Waukrife Minnie
Saw Ye Bonie Lesley
Ah, Chloris
To a Mouse
A Rosebud, By My Early Walk

If you are looking for more Burns Night inspiration, you can take a look at my posts from the 2015 and 2016 gatherings; or, if you’d like to see what inspired me this year, take a gander at my Pinterest board!



Happy Burns Night to all!



Nicole.Sparkling.jpgShould auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!


2 thoughts on “Burns Night, Naturally!

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