Made in Scotland from girders

February 5th, 2008

Irn-Bru is a bright orange coloured soft drink that is produced in Scotland where it is so popular you can even buy Irn-Bru sausages and ice-cream. It has a citrus flavour which is very difficult to describe, and though the use of quinine provides a bitter edge to the drink it is very sweet. It is fairly famous here in Britain for its advertising campaigns, the most famous of which uses the tagline “made in Scotland from girders”, usually spoken in a heavy Scottish accent.

What’s this got to do with cocktails? Don’t worry, I’m not mixing Irn-Bru with alcohol as others have been known to do – a classic cocktail recipe is coming up…

When I was trying out Old Tom gin cocktails last week, I came across a drink on CocktailDB which sounded really interesting. Most recipes I’ve seen that use Crème de Violette tend to use it in relatively small amounts, often measured in spoons or dashes, so a drink that uses it as a fairly major ingredient caught my attention. I promptly mixed one up, but was amazed, indeed stupefied, at what the drink turned out like.

Demeanor cocktail

Demeanor Cocktail

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The quick among you may have worked out that the Demeanor Cocktail tastes pretty much exactly like Irn-Bru. It has the heavy sweetness, the citrus flavours and the mild bitter tang. Add a few E-numbers to sort out the colour, and a splash of soda water, and you’d have highly alcoholic Irn-Bru. After trying it I went out and brought a few cans of Irn-Bru to try again, as it had been years since I had last drank it. Sure enough, while there are slight differences, they taste more or less the same.

Though enjoyable for the nostalgia it provides me, the Demeanor is a strangely artificial-tasting concoction and not a particularly good example of a balanced cocktail. One for the curious only…

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Posted in Crème de Violette, Gin, Orange Bitters, Recipes, Vermouth

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One response to “Made in Scotland from girders”

  1. Berlin-Barfly Berlin-Barfly says:

    Hard to get it here on the Continent, 1)
    but worth experimenting with Saffron Gin…

    Long-term objective: A Scottish – French Cocktail.
    Maybe an Aperitiv?

    I’ll post my Recipes as soon its good enough for this blog.

    Cheers from Berlin,


    1) Cologne has it on stock.

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