Monday, 2 April 2012

Quaiching in my boots

        The quaich (pronounced 'kweykh' or 'quake') is a traditional Scottish drinking vessel. Originally made from wood, they have also been made from silver, pewter, brass, horn and even stone. Quaichs are now sold as 'the Scottish cup of friendship', reflecting their use in the past to welcome visitors or signal a farewell, when a quiach of whisky or brandy would be passed around. Larger quaichs have been used for ale and beer, but they are usually smaller, and used for a dram. It is said the Bonnie Prince Charlie had a quaich with him during the 1745 Uprising, and that it had a glass bottom, to enable him to keep an eye on what was going on whilst he was drinking.

Whisky - that is, Scotch Whisky - takes its name from the Gaelic word 'Usquebaugh' which means 'water of life'. Whiskey - with an 'e' - is Irish whiskey, and some American bourbons. Usquebaugh was one of the drinks leading to all sorts of bother mentioned in yesterday's post. Vodka, another spirit, also gets its name as a derivative of 'water', coming from a Slavic word 'vod' = water and 'k + a' = the feminine diminutive form, and so usually translated as 'little water'. You should note that 'Scotch' is only used for the drink (although it can also apply to other foods - as in Scotch eggs or Scotch broth -  a mist, and a brand of sticky tape), and the people, and everything else, are referred to as 'Scots' or 'Scottish'.

I got this on ebay for £4.76 + £3 p&p. I think I did rather well.

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