Hogmanay, Haggis, and Champagne in Edinburgh, Scotland

Posted December 22, 2009 by Jamie Moore

UK-Edinburgh-Hogmanay-DEF So over-the-top are Edinburgh's New Year's Eve celebrations (Hogmanay, pronounced "hog-muh-NAY") that the town sets aside four days each year for carousing. The party starts December 29. Sip a fruity cocktail then hike up a hill for an unsurpassed view of the fireworks. On the 'morrow head to a diner for British comfort food, the perfect post-revelry remedy.

Amicus Apple: With five Champagne cocktails on the menu, this hip bar is a great place to get the Hogmanay party started. Color-shifting lights electrify the atmosphere; the cocktail menu mixes up traditional and original libations. Try a Parisian Blossom, Champagne with elderflower and peach liquor topped with prossecco. There are also unique Champagne-free cocktails including the Settle Petal martini: cucumber, vanilla sugar, and rose petal liquor.

Calton Hill: A torch-lit procession to the top of Calton Hill officially kicks off Hogmanay celebrations December 29. Join more than 14,000 people and follow the flames, marching to the beat of bagpipes and drums to witness the burning of a life-sized Viking warship. Two days later you can be part of the midnight countdown crowd, singing a rousing rendition of national poet Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne. Or, avoid the hordes completely and bring your own blanket and bubbly to the top of Calton Hill for what locals say is the best view of the fireworks.

Monster Mash: After the revelry there's only one place to go—a restaurant with serious comfort food. This downtown diner's menu is full of traditional British hangover cures like shepherd's pie and baked beans on toast. Check out the bangers and mash section and choose sausage, mashed potatoes, and gravy with a side of mushy peas. Or go Scottish and try MacSween haggis (one for vegetarians, too). The nostalgic fare even includes a few puddings. The favorite? Knickerbocker Glory—a sundae topped with fruit cocktail and cream. Everything is $10 or less.

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(Photo: Porter Novelli)

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