GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2007-02 > 1171182888
From: The Highlander <>
Subject: Re: Scottish & Irish Drinking Customs
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2007 08:34:48 GMT
On Sun, 11 Feb 2007 01:13:13 +0000, Julian Richards
>On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 14:29:55 -1000, "D. Spencer Hines"
>>>> In Scotland, the drinking custom is toss down a shot glass of whisky
>>>> and follow it with a beer "chaser" Typically, this is known as a "half
>>>> and a half" - a half gill (old measure) of whisky and a half pint of
>>> Only half a pint? Back in Ulster, the standard order used to be "a pint
>>> an a wee one".
>>That makes Good Sense.
>>A GILL is FOUR fluid ounces, or 118.294 milliliters -- so half a gill is
>>just right for the shots of Lagavulin I enjoy sipping slowly -- limiting
>>myself to no more than three.
>>But I follow up with water, rather than beer, after each one.
>Isn't the spirit typically called the chaser and not the beer?
Not that I've ever heard of in Scotland - the beer chases the whisky
down your throat.
Here is a list of Gaelic names for the time of day and sizes by which
whisky is drunk.
The generic name for a shot of whisky is a "dram".
It was usual for the guest in a house in Gaeldom to be served a series
of drinks before tackling breakfast; always oatmeal porridge
1. An sgailc-uide - a tumbler of whisky, the wakening drink.
2. Am friochd-ullinn - a half-tumbler; the making ready drink.
3. An deoch chas-ruisgte - the drink of the bare feet
4. An deoch bhlèth - the grinding drink. (I don't know why).
If a guest felt a little peaky, he might be offered a deoch-maidne; a
morning drink or restorative, consisting of an egg whipped in milk and
a splash of whisky added to help it all down.
After breakfast a gentleman might feel the need for a srùbag (strùbag
in our local Gaelic; a small dram to help himself calm down after the
stress of tackling breakfast.
Drams and strùbags were at hand thrughout the day.
When I was a child and the gàfair (foreman) came in to get his orders
for the day, a dram would be served all round. If all the workmen and
shepherds were summoned, all would get a dram.
A deoch-eòlas was sserved to any arriving visitor, with everyone
having one to keep him company. When he left a small ceremony called
deoch an dorus (lit. drink at the door, or parting glass/stirrup cup
was drunk by the parting guest and the host.
I have never eaten a traditional dessert which did not contain whisky.
A man who lives in a permanently smashed condition is usually
described as "fond of his dram". A women in like condition is "a bit
silly". Drunkenness and passing out because of drink are consodred
part of normal life and no stigma attaches; in fact there is usually
sympathy for the drunk lying unconscious on the floor or with (as
happened at one of my dinner parties) sprawled across the table with
his face buried in the Caesar salad, to my wife's well-concealed
Death from alcohol, usually around New Year when the victim feels the
need to lie down for a while on a road and is buried and later run
over by a passing car is commonplace. Death by falling while drunk
into a river has claimed at least three people I knew.
On the other hand, dimissing tjhereults of such an incident is
survival is considered quite macho, as with a friend of my grandfather
who fell off his horse while crossing a river and broke several ribs
but refused all help, saying, "My man will bind them up when I get
home and then sat for an hour chatting and drinking whisky until it
began to get dark and he he felt it was time he was getting going.
Drinking excessively is a national custom. I remember the steamer
which supplied our island running aground at 7:00 am. as the captain
draped himself over the bridge, beaming blearily and giving us a
casual wave as we circled his vessel in a launch, looking for a chance
to get our groceries off before the ship rolled over... It got opff on
the next tide...
The same captain once waved me up to the bridge when he saw me
boarding and had his steward bring me a dram "to take away the smell
of the train!" which I thought was as good an excuse for a dram as any
I'd ever heard, also at 7:00 am.
Not drinking, in the Highlands expecially, makes people think you must
have some sort of physical or mental problem. When my grandmother
warned my grandfather that a man expected to arrive shortly from the
governmtn was a known teetotaler; my frandfather roamed the house,
grumbling and asking if the visitor was a Communist or worse, a
"homy-sexual"! He was neither, but he was quite rude and officious,
which cut no ice with us.
New Year is the great Scottish festival and I think it would be fair
to say that 80% of the Scottish population spends the two-day holiday
smashed out of their skulls. Scots enjoy violence and cities which
normally ban public drinking, usually cave in to fear of the
consequences of trying to enforce a non-public drinking Hogmanay (New
Year's Eve) and lift the ban for the holiday.
The Minister of Health for Scotland says that teenage alcoholism is
the country's greatest health problem. I understand that the police
drive the streets at night with windows barred and stop only to drag
celebrants off the roadway onto the pavement/sidewalk.
So if you like to drink to excess, take your next holiday in Scotland!
Nobody will even blink.
Faodaidh nach ionann na beachdan anns
an post seo agus beachdan a' Ghàidheil.
The views expressed in this post are
not necessarily those of The Highlander.
|Re: Scottish & Irish Drinking Customs by The Highlander <>|