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Drambuie Rhubarb Sour for the Bonnie Prince – Outlander S2E2

Drambuie Rhubarb Sour for the Bonnie Prince – Outlander S2E2

Dragonfly in Amber, Outlander on Starz

He was a sturdy, good-looking lad, with thick, light-brown hair curling loose upon his shoulders, and a fair face, cheeks flushed red with cold and exertion. His nose was running slightly, and he wiped it with the back of his wrapped hand, wincing slightly as he did so.

Jamie, both eyebrows raised, bowed politely to the visitor.

“My house is at your service, Your Highness,” he said, with a glance that took in the general disorder of the visitor’s attire. His stock was undone and hung loosely around his neck, half his buttons were done up awry, and the flies of his breeches flopped partially open.

 I saw Jamie frown slightly at this, and he moved unobtrusively in front of the boy, to screen me from the indelicate sight.

“If I may present my wife, Your Highness?” he said. “Claire, my lady Broch Tuarach. Claire, this is His Highness, Prince Charles, son of King James of Scotland.”

Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber, Chapter 11 – Useful Occupations

I hope we meet Prince Charles Edward Stuart this week! Like most men of his time (and birth) in Paris, Bonnie Prince Charlie (BPC) was a bit of a dandy. Expensive clothes, good food and the finest wines and spirits. His lack of funds wouldn’t have stopped him, nor would the long line of creditors standing at his door.

At sometime during his stay in France, legend holds that Charles commissioned, from his apothecary or physician, a personal tincture of essential oils. This signature tonic was used one drop at a time to flavour spirits, most likely brandy, and was medicinal in nature, strengthening and vitalizing the health of the prince.

Prince Charles Stuart
photo from Starz

We already know from Claire that this whole BPC/Jacobite thing is not going to end well, so I’m not giving the plot away when I tell you that Drambuie lore contends that Charles eventually ends up bestowing a bottle of, and the recipe for, his personal elixir to John MacKinnon, for his clan’s help in ensuring the Prince’s escape from the Highlands after Culloden.

Other sources of the legend suggest that it was a French bodyguard who actually gifted The MacKinnon with the bottle and the recipe, or that they were found on the battlefield at Culloden, among the vials, recipes, scales and handwritten recipes of Charle’s personal physician’s medicine box, abandoned in the haste of escape.

However, they got it, the recipe stayed with the MacKinnons for another 150 years, until a senior clansman gave the recipe to a close friend, John Ross, proprietor of The Broadford Hotel on the Isle of Skye. His son James improved (and sweetened) the recipe and served it to guests, who called it a “dram buidheach“ in Gaelic, or “the drink that satisfies.”

In 1893, James Ross registered the trademark for the anglicized version of the name, and Drambuie was born to the rest of the world.

rhubarb simple syrupToday, Drambuie is a blend of Scottish whisky and a secret combination of heather honey, herbs and spices. And while you can certainly indulge in the most iconic of Drambuie cocktails, the Rusty Nail, the Drambuie site has dozens of other sipping suggestions, including their twist on a classic Sour to enjoy while you watch the show.

I decided to step into the shoes of BPC’s apothecary and mix up my own cocktail for his Highness. Rhubarb is in season here on the west coast (and much of northern Europe), and is always available (most places) frozen. I know from friends that there are some regions, especially the US South, where you’ll never find rhubarb, fresh or frozen, no matter how many produce managers you ask for “pink celery.”

If you are in a rhubarb-free zone, check out Drambuie’s Drinks page. There’s something there for everyone.

Drambuie Rhubarb Sour

Drambuie Rhubarb Sour

A pretty pink, sweet yet tart, drink that matches the Prince’s pink satin jacket, and disposition, like no other cocktail could.

Makes 1

  • 2 oz Drambuie
  • 2 oz rhubarb simple syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 oz fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Ice
  • Lemon or lime zest, for garnish
  • Sparkling water or soda, optional

Mix together the Drambuie, rhubarb simple syrup and citrus juice in a cocktail shaker. Pour over ice and serve. Add sparkling water or soda if desired.

Drambuie Rhubarb Sour

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

This syrup takes more time to cool than it does to make, and is also delicious when poured over vanilla ice cream.

Makes 1½ cups


  • 1 cup chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium, and boil for one minute. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow to sit until the rhubarb is very tender, about 15 minutes. Strain, stir in the vanilla and cool completely.

Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.



  1. Lynn
    April 11, 2016 at 11:43 am

    I will have to wait a couple of months for fresh rhubarb here in Wisconsin, but I think I can find some frozen at the store. This sounds very interesting…

    • Theresa
      April 11, 2016 at 11:44 am

      we polished off a bottle of drambuie drinking these for the past few nights…also nice with a bit of soda.

  2. Anna Lapping
    April 11, 2016 at 11:53 am

    We love rhubarb, and thankfully, I can find it at our Farmer’s Market, but it’s a little early. I may have to use frozen, but will definitely be making this for Ep.2. Thank you, Theresa.

  3. Molly Spradley
    April 11, 2016 at 11:59 am

    What a beautiful tipple! Thank you for the recipe Theresa. From the looks of it, that simple syrup would be safe for water bath canning. I may have to make a ginormous batch and stow it away for gifts! That is, if I can part with it.

    • Theresa
      April 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      I have canned rose hip syrup that was very similar and it lasted beautifully. Great idea!

  4. Merry
    April 11, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Sounds delicious. You bet I will be making this for episode two. Thanks, Teresa!

  5. Merry
    April 11, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    ‘Theresa’ sorry!

    • Theresa
      April 11, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      Dina flash…but I appreciate the correction! I love my h…

  6. Donna
    April 11, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Love me a Rusty Nail, and I’ve made rhubarb syrup in the past, so this drink sounds perfect for me. Can’t wait to try it!

  7. Denise
    April 11, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Our rhubarb is still going strong in our Autumn garden. This recipe looks and sounds (and no doubt tastes!) delicious, I will definitely give it a go. I hope we see BPC this week too, S2 is fair tripping along nicely!

  8. Denise
    April 11, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    PS. Like the new look website, haven’t been here for a wee while.

  9. Kim Puhrmann
    April 11, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Fantastic article, as always! Really enjoyed meeting Jan last week, can’t wait to get the whole gang together at The Gathering!

  10. Paige C
    April 11, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    I live in Charlotte NC…deep in the South, and the grocery stores and farmer’s markets always seem to have rhubarb when it is in season! (Maybe it is because Charlotte is a bigger city in the South!) I knew plenty of baker’s who made strawberry rhubarb pie as well as jam!
    BTW, I made your LJG lemon poppyseed cupcakes with strawberry jam buttercream for the premiere last week and they were a big hit at my gathering!

  11. Constance
    April 12, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Any low carb or no sugar recipes? Thanks!

    • Theresa
      April 13, 2016 at 5:35 am

      Check the recipe index, Constance

  12. Shari Duncan
    April 14, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    I am giving the recipe a try this evening, and I’ll make it for hubby and I for S2E2.
    Thank you!!

  13. Betsy Shirk
    April 16, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    What a delightfully tasty beverage! I can easily see the entire bottle of Drambuie disappearing. I couldn’t find fresh rhubarb but frozen worked well. Hubby thinks one must be a “pro” to get the pretty lime twist…. but tastes just fine without it. Looking forward to getting your cookbook soon!

    • Theresa
      April 18, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Our little bottle of Drambuie disappeared very quickly! I’m glad you enjoyed the cocktail — tell your husband that I have a special tool for removing zest in long, clean strips, but he can wrap any citrus strip around a chopstick and hold it for about 30 seconds, and then he’ll look like a pro too. 😉

  14. Ginger
    April 18, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Our unseasonably warm spring in Seattle (it’s been in the 80°s!) has given me a huge early crop of rhubarb…now I know what else to do with it! Now to find some Drambuie, which sounds even more amazing because of the story behind it. Thanks!

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