Raise a Glass of Scotch to the Scots on National Tartan Day

The Irish get St. Patrick’s Day and the English get just about every other day on the calendar. What do the Scottish get? “Shite,” as they might say.

Well, that’s not entirely true. April 6 is National Tartan Day, a holiday meant to honor the considerable contributions of Scots and Scottish Americans to our society. Said contributions include television, MRI scanners, and, of course, the works of Sir Sean Connery.

About National Tartan Day

tartan plaid kilt
Georgeclark/Getty Images

Tartan refers to patterns of crisscrossing lines that you’ve likely seen on kilts, scarves, hats, or rolls of Scotch tape. Different tartan patterns are associated with different regions or clans; generally speaking, the simpler the tartan pattern, the newer the family.

National Tartan Day has been officially observed in the U.S. since 1997. The April 6 celebration commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath on that date in 1320. In the declaration, the lords of Scotland declared themselves independent of English rule, and many say the document had a significant influence on our own Declaration of Independence. How’s that for a contribution to American society? Though Scotland is not currently an independent sovereign state, the declaration is still a source of Scottish pride.

How to Celebrate

New York City Tartan Week parade
NYC Tartan Week/Facebook

More and more U.S. cities are holding National Tartan Day celebrations. New York City goes above and beyond with an entire New York Tartan Week, which culminates with a parade on Saturday, April 7, 2018. You can check with with your local Scottish heritage societies … or you can drink.

As you might have guessed, drinking is a popular pastime in Scotland. Even if you can’t make it to an official Tartan Day celebration, you can still raise a glass to your Scottish friends or ancestors. You might enjoy a pint of dark ale, a glass of neat Scotch, or perhaps a Scottish-themed cocktail. The lads at , a distillery on Scotland’s Isle of Islay, were kind enough to provide us with a special cocktail recipe.

Laphroaig Plaid and Peated

national tartan day laphroaig quarter cask

Method: Combine all ingredients in mixing glass with ice. Stir well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.