I was convinced I was Irish until Jamie corrected me. “McCrae,” he says, “is Scottish. I’m a McCrae. If you’re a McCrae too then we’re from the same tribe.” Lots of hugs and too many pints later, my pale brother from another mother is throwing a party on Troutman and I’m going to that thing.
This Sunday marks the 200th or so annual Scottish traditional celebration of Robert Burns Day. The owner of The Rookery, former punk drummer and longtime LES bartender, Jamie Schmitz, has a wealth of history, arcana and genealogical factoids to fuel an intense conversation on the subject of Scotland. This weekend he’s turning his passion into a pretty dope party and remembrance of one of Scotland’s greatest heroes.
Robert Burns, or “Robbie” Burns (he’s cool with either,) is the National Poet of Scotland, the Poet Laureate of the Freemasons, a revered spokesman of the Scottish enlightenment and and a damn fine excuse to drink a lot of Scotch at The Rookery this weekend. You know you’re a badass when there’s a national holiday in your honor that includes an excess of whisky and sausage, bawdy poetry readings, Ceilidh music (The Brooklyn Scottish Revelators to be exact) and a witty “airing of grievances” where ladies and gents get to tell each other off en masse from a stage.
The Burns Supper, which will be presided over by Jamie Schmitz and his cohorts Martin Duncan and Robert Buchan – both Scottish natives with storybook accents and poetry reading duties – will follow the traditional celebration up to a point, keeping it informal enough (and keeping its normal, non-blood sausage, menu available) during the Haggis-laden evening. The special menu will feature Haggis, Neeps and Tatties (which is less naughty than it sounds), Curried Goat Shepherd’s Pie, their always incredible Scotch Egg and a blood sausage and egg dish I am weirdly excited to try.
Oh the cocktails! The Rook’ already kills it on the cocktail dance floor but their Scotch-based short list of featured drinks this night are inspired. Whisky flights are also available representing most of the Scotch producing regions of Scotland.
So, this Sunday, I’m going to be there to honor my heritage by partying my ass off. If kilts (beware the upskirt potential – unless that’s your thing of course), great booze, better people and drunken irreverence sound like a good time, come check it out.
The second annual Burns Night & The Whisky Weekend at The Rookery, 425 Troutman Street, Brooklyn is taking place this coming weekend, January 23rd to 25th.