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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

ATHOLE BROSE, also Athol and in comb. †Athol porridge, n. Honey or meal mixed with whisky, used in the Highlands as a cure for a cold. [′ɑθl′bro:z]Sc. 1772 Weekly Mag. (27 Feb.). 267:
Too apt to take a whet of Athol Brose in a morning.
Sc. 1781 Boswell Johnson xlvii.:
I though it very good liquor; and said it was a counterpart of what is called Athol Porridge in the Highlands of Scotland, which is a mixture of whiskey and honey.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xlviii.:
His morning draught of Athole brose.
Sc. 1886 R. L. Stevenson Kidnapped xxv.:
A bottle of that drink which they call Athole brose, and which is made of old whiskey, strained honey and sweet cream, slowly beaten together in the right order and proportion.
Sc. 1929 F. M. McNeill The Sc. Kitchen 232:
Athole brose. Heather honey, whisky, cold water.

[There is a tradition that the Earl of Athole in James III.'s time captured the rebellious Earl of Ross by filling with honey and whisky a small well in a rock (in Skye) from which Ross was in the habit of drinking. The mixture has ever since been known as Athole Brose (Ags.2).]

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"Athole Brose n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2024 <>



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