Tim * Barnsley House Porridge with Whisky

When it comes to choosing a honeymoon destination, we all have different ideas of what constitutes the perfect getaway. Tim Mazurek, of the fantastic food blog Lottie + Doof, had only two criteria when considering his. It had to be somewhere relaxing — a place he and his spouse, Bryan, already knew and loved — but with some kind of twist to make things interesting. That made England a clear contender, but how would they mix things up?

Tim Mazurek

Enter Barnsley House, the countryside Cotswolds mansion turned hotel — a magical, stately Tudor shrouded in sprawling, blossoming gardens and tucked far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s enough to strike anyone’s fancy, but for Tim, the hotel came with an added appeal: “Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always loved those BBC mystery shows, and I kind of always wanted to live in a manor house and have a murder happen. There were no murders on our honeymoon, but Barnsley House fit the bill.”

Because the hotel is so isolated, there are really only two dining options available — the hotel restaurant, and a pub down the street (also owned by Barnsley House). That might seem like a limitation, but the food was so wonderful at both, it actually turned out to be a blessing. “I think one of the worst things about being in a new place,” Tim says, “is not knowing where to eat, going to some restaurant that leaves you disappointed, and then walking down the street only to find some other place that looks incredible.”

Luckily for Tim and Bryan, that was never an issue, and they were pleasantly surprised by everything they ate — from bacon-wrapped dates, to perfectly cooked tenderloin, to sticky toffee pudding. But the dish that was perhaps most surprising of all was also, in some ways, the most familiar. “We were a little skeptical when we first saw it on the menu,” Tim explains. “I mean, porridge with whisky? I thought, really? But we ordered it anyway, and it tasted so amazing that we wound up ordering it every morning after that.”

To recreate this oatmeal, wherever you might be, you’ll want to forget about anything instant or sugared, and begin with ground Scottish oatmeal or oat bran (which will cook up a bit faster). Next, you’ll want to combine the oats with a mixture of simmering milk and water, stirring until the oats are thick and rich. Then, most importantly, you want to spike it all with a shot of Drambuie — “a whisky our parents would know” — that comes infused with honey, herbs, and spices like clove and nutmeg. And if you really want to send it over the edge (and why not?), you can sprinkle in some brown sugar and top it off with a splash of cream.

The resulting dish is pearly and smooth, much like tapioca pudding, with a subtle sweetness that is just enough. On the one hand the porridge is light and dreamy and honeyed, and on the other, it’s deep, warm, and spicy. Like Tim’s honeymoon at Barnsley House, the oatmeal is both familiar and comforting, but also unique and unexpected. And I think, on a greater level, this balance captures perfectly what makes Tim’s blog, his recipes and his food so very special.

Three Quick Questions…and Tim’s Answers

It’s your last meal. What do you have?

If I’m going to be honest, I’d have to say mozzarella sticks. But the mozzarella sticks from Roots in the Ukrainian Village (Chicago). They make their own mozzarella and it’s so, so good.

Your kitchen is burning down. What’s the one thing you grab?

My Mauviel copper jam pot. It just really makes you want to make jam. If I lost it, I don’t think I’d buy another one — I’d just want that one.

Do you have a favorite cookbook?

I have two. The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham has a lot of recipes that seem really ordinary at first, but they’re all spectacular. I think everyone should own a copy of that book. And then I also love The Last Course by Claudia Fleming, the original pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern.

Barnsley House Porridge with Whisky
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
The ultimate in oatmeal: subtly sweet with the honeyed spice of Drambuie whisky and a texture like tapioca pudding.
  • 1 cup Scottish ground oats or oat bran
  • 3 cups water or milk, or a mixture of each
  • 1 shot Drambuie whisky (about 1.5 oz)
  • optional, but recommended:
  • 1-2 tbsp brown sugar, to taste
  • splash of cream
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water, milk, or a combination of the two to a boil. Stir in oats and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10-15 minutes until the oats have absorbed most of the liquid; taste as you go along until you get to your desired texture and thickness. Stir in whisky and, if using, the brown sugar and cream. Enjoy while still hot.

Course: Breakfast

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  • Sarah

    Intriguing— I’m definitely going to try this out over the holidays. Sounds like the perfect antidote to the overindulgence of the season.

    • Kathryn

      Sarah, I agree. The perfect holiday breakfast: fairly healthy, but with a little boozy kick!

  • Oh my, I love Lottie + Doof’s blog! Adding booze to oatmeal is brilliant. I might have to sneak some whiskey into my breakfast on one of my days off.

    • Kathryn

      You totally should. Breakfast of champions.

  • Erica

    I really enjoy Lottie and Doof so it was great to read this post. And for those who don’t know what to do with the extra Drambuie, you can always make a “Rusty Nail” that evening.

    • Kathryn

      Erica, great idea! Drambuie has such a great taste on its own, I’m sure you can turn it into all kinds of wonderful drinks…

  • I’ve read about porridge with whisky before, but never tried it. I’m a big fan of Lottie and Doof, and this post is so fantastic I think I might just have to give the porridge a go. I’ve also never tasted Drambuie- but with flavors of honey, herbs, spices I must seek it out! Wonderful post!

    • Kathryn

      Thank you, Jess! Up until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t tried it either and was a little skeptical, but Drambuie changes oatmeal in the most amazing way. I’d love to hear what you think if you end up trying it out..!

  • Guys, a friend of mine flagged this up to me- really like the site and a great piece. Seems appropriate that not only are our sites similar in name, but i popped up a blog on Whisky and food matching !
    it seems to be popular.

    • Kathryn

      Hi Mark, how interesting! Thanks for turning me on to your site, I’m on my way to take a look around!

  • Mmm, this sounds so interesting! I’m very curious to try this some time when I’m not expecting 😀

    • Kathryn

      Thanks for stopping by, Heidi! Yes, it isn’t so well suited for babies, but somewhere down the line you’ll have to give it a try! : )

  • Oh my word. I want this in my belly right now! I love how warming and surprising this porridge is with the whisky and honey. Wow.

  • While I don’t drink hard alcohol, throw it in food and I’m on board in a heartbeat. This porridge sounds amazing, as does the Barnsley House in general.

    Thanks so much for sharing the experience and the recipe. I will also be checking out The Breakfast Book (breakfast being my favorite meal of the day). Many thanks for the heads-up!

  • Wow, this one stopped me in my tracks. I don’t have Drambuie, but I’ve got plenty of different whiskies in my liquor cabinet. I have a feeling I’ll be playing around with this one this weekend. I love Tim’s blog and this is such a great post 🙂

  • Kathryn

    Stephanie – It is so surprising, in the best way possible!

    Mom Chef- I am with you on the hard alcohol in food thing. Funny how it seems to make things taste better!

    kickpleat – Try to use a whisky that is fruity/spiced/sweet! It really makes the oatmeal 🙂

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  • Sheri

    This was the best oatmeal I’ve ever had! I added a few blueberries, and the chopped pecans like in the picture. Amazing!

  • I first made a Scotch whisky and oats recipe over ten years ago that used peaches. It is divine: take whipped cream that has 2 oz highland (preferably non-peated) whisky folded gently into it, then layer it with sliced peaches in parfait glasses and top with lightly toasted oats and toasted almond flakes. Try oatmeal with Scotch whisky and peaches, too.

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