Smuggling in the Highlands (1914) by Ian MacDonald

There can be no doubt that till the latter part of last century, wine, ale, rum, and brandy were more used than whisky. Ian Lom, who died about 1710, in his song, "Moch's mi 'g eirigh 'sa Mhaduinn," mentions "gucagan fion" (bubbles of wine), but makes no reference to whisky. Lord Lovat having occasion to entertain 24 guests at Beaufort in 1739, writes - "I have ordered John Forbes to send in horses for all Lachlan Macintosh's wine, and for six dozen of the Spanish wine."-(Transactions, Vol. XII). Colonel Stewart of Garth, writing about 1820, says-"Till within the last 30 years, whisky was less used in the Highlands than rum and brandy, which were smuggled from the West Coast. It was not till the beginning, or rather towards the middle of last century that spirits of any kind were so much drank as ale, which was then the universal beverage. Every account and tradition go to prove that ale was the principal drink among the country people, and French wines and brandy among the gentry. Mr. Stewart of Crossmount, who lived till his 104th year, informed me that in his youth strong frothing ale from the cask was the common beverage. It was drunk from a circular shallow cup with two handles. Those of the gentry were of silver, and those used by the common people were of variegated woods. Small cups were used for spirits. Whisky house is a term unknown in Gaelic. A public-house is called Tigh-Leanna, i.e., ale-house. In addition to the authority of Mr. Stewart, I have that of men of perfect veracity and great intelligence regarding everything connected with their native country. In the early part of their recollections, and, in the time of their fathers, the whisky drank in the Highlands of Perthshire was brought principally from the Lowlands. A ballad composed on an ancestor of mine in the reign of Charles I., describes the laird's jovial and hospitable manner, and, along with other feats, his drinking a brewing of ale at one sitting. In this song whisky is never mentioned, nor is it in any case, except in the modern ballads and songs."
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