How to Prepare a Traditional Scottish Cranachan with Whiskey-Infused Raspberries?

June 5, 2024

As the saying goes, "there is no sincerer love than the love of food," and for lovers of Scottish cuisine, their hearts will always have a special place for the classic Cranachan. This traditional Scottish dessert is a delightful mix of raspberries, whipped cream, honey, oats and of course, whisky, offering a taste sensation that's both comforting and indulgent. In this article, we'll guide you through the steps of making a traditional Scottish Cranachan with whisky-infused raspberries. We'll dive into the necessary ingredients, the preparation time, and the methods used to pull together this fantastic dessert, making sure that you’ll be able to enjoy every spoonful of its magnificent taste.

The Perfect Recipe for a Traditional Scottish Cranachan

A traditional Cranachan recipe does not require a lengthy list of ingredients, but it does call for quality. Every ingredient plays an integral part in bringing together this marvellous dessert. The key players are raspberries, whipped cream, honey, oats and the star of the show, whisky.

For this recipe, you'll need:

  • 250g of fresh raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons of Drambuie or any quality whisky
  • 3 tablespoons of clear Scottish honey
  • 80g of medium oatmeal
  • 300ml of double cream
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar

The preparation time is approximately 15 minutes, with an additional 5 minutes for the oats to toast and cool. The recipe serves four people.

Incorporating the Key Ingredient: Whisky

Whisky is more than just an ingredient in this recipe; it's an embodiment of Scottish tradition and culture. The choice of whisky can significantly affect the taste of your Cranachan, and for an authentic experience, we recommend using Drambuie, a famous Scotch whisky liqueur.

Start by marinating the raspberries in the whisky. Place them in a bowl and pour the whisky over. Gently mix together, ensuring that the raspberries are covered, and let them sit for a bit to let the flavours meld together.

The Importance of Toasting the Oats

The oats in a Cranachan are not just for texture; they add a nutty flavour that counterbalances the sweetness of the other ingredients. For the perfect toasted oats, start by preheating your oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4. Spread the oatmeal evenly on a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes or until they are golden.

Keep a close eye on the oats as they can burn quickly. Once toasted, remove from the oven and let cool completely. The toasting time is crucial; too little, and the oats won't have the desired crunch, too much, and they risk tasting burnt.

Assembling the Cranachan

Once the whisky-infused raspberries, toasted oats, and whipped cream are ready, it's time to assemble your Cranachan. In a large bowl, whip the cream until it holds its shape, then fold in the honey, toasted oats and whisky-soaked raspberries.

Take four serving glasses or rustic jars and start layering the mixture. Begin with a layer of the cream mixture, followed by a layer of fresh raspberries. Repeat this process until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with a generous layer of the cream mixture on top. If you like, you can sprinkle some extra toasted oats over the top for added crunch.

Serving Your Traditional Scottish Cranachan

Serving your Cranachan is an opportunity to showcase the beautiful layers you've created. But remember, it's not all about the looks. A traditional Scottish Cranachan should be served chilled, so allow some time in the fridge before serving. The sweetness of the honey, the tartness of the raspberries, the rich taste of the cream, the crunchiness of the oats, and the subtle warmth of the whisky combine in each spoonful to offer a true taste of Scotland.

Cranachan is the perfect dessert for any occasion, whether you're hosting a Burns Night supper, celebrating Saint Andrew's Day, or merely treating yourself to a luxurious dessert. So, next time you're in the mood for a taste of Scotland, why not give this traditional Scottish Cranachan with whisky-infused raspberries a try?

Mindful Substitutions for Different Dietary Needs

While the traditional recipe calls for specific ingredients, we understand that some of you may have dietary restrictions or preferences. We've got you covered. Here are some substitutions you can make to still enjoy a delightful Scottish dessert.

Gluten-free: For those who are gluten-sensitive or celiac, swap out the oatmeal for gluten-free cut oats. Ensure that the package clearly states 'gluten-free'.

Dairy-Free: To make this dessert dairy-free, replace the double cream with coconut cream. It will have a slightly different flavor, but still delicious. Substitute regular sugar with coconut sugar if desired.

Vegan: For a vegan Cranachan, use a plant-based whipped cream alternative. Agave nectar can take the place of the honey, and vegan-friendly whisky is widely available.

Non-alcoholic: If you prefer a non-alcoholic version, you can use a whisky flavour extract instead of the real deal. Just remember, it's all about balancing the flavours to your liking.

Tips for a Successful Cranachan Preparation

The key to an excellent Cranachan lies in the quality of the ingredients and the careful balance of flavors. Here are some tips to ensure that your dessert turns out just right.

  1. Fresh Raspberries: Fresh and ripe raspberries are best in this recipe. The tartness contrasts beautifully with the sweet honey and the rich cream.

  2. Heather Honey: A traditional Scottish Cranachan uses Scottish heather honey. This honey is rich and aromatic, adding depth to the dessert. If you can't find heather honey, opt for a high-quality honey with a robust flavour.

  3. Cream: The cream should be whipped until it holds its shape but be cautious not to over-whip it, or you may end up with butter.

  4. Layering: When layering your Cranachan, strive for an aesthetically pleasing balance between the cream mixture and the raspberries. The goal is to enjoy all the ingredients in each spoonful.

  5. Chilling: Proper chilling allows the flavors to meld, so don't rush this step. A couple of hours in the fridge will do, but overnight is even better.

  6. Serving: Traditional Scottish Cranachan is typically served in a glass or rustic jar, but you can also serve it like ice cream in a bowl or on a cone.


Cranachan is more than just a dessert; it is a celebration of Scottish tradition and culture. Whether you are preparing this for a special occasion like Burns Night or simply want to indulge in a luxurious treat at home, this traditional Scottish Cranachan with whisky-infused raspberries is sure to impress. The combination of tart raspberries, sweet honey, rich cream, crunchy toasted oats, and warm whisky creates a harmonious symphony of flavors that will transport you straight to the heart of Scotland. So, gather your ingredients and prepare to fall in love with this delightful Scottish dessert.