The Quaich

Scotland’s Cup of Friendship

The Quaich became the traditional toasting cup of welcome in Scotland or even good wishes upon farewell or parting. Surviving the centuries and mystique of history it is truly Scotland’s Cup of Friendship.

The Quaich - Scotland’s Cup of Friendship

By Jack Moore

The Quaich was for centuries, a common domestic utensil which originated in the West Highlands of Scotland.  It was the dish from which the Scot supped his porridge and drank his ale. Quaichs are usually polished pewter, but they also come in silver plate and sterling silver. Some rare old Quaichs were made of wood as well. Modern day adornment such as semi-precious stones are common in the handles and it is possible to get a Quaich with your Clan’s crest etched in the bottom. They come in many sizes from about 3” up to about 6”. The tradition is to fill them with your favorite single malt. While standing in a circle with your friends or guests, the host begins with a blessing or toast and takes a sip, leaving enough for the balance of the guests of course. The Quaich is passed around with each guest taking a sip and saying a blessing or toast. When all have taken a sip, and if there is still a wee dram left it must be consumed till the Quaich is empty. Depending on the generosity of your host, you may get a second sip from the original pouring. Quaich is derived from the Gaelic ‘cuach’ which, in turn derives from low Latin ‘caucus’ – a drinking cup.

These drinking cups were very widely used in Covenanting times and are mentioned in the old Jacobite song:

These drinking cups were very widely used in Covenanting times and are mentioned in the old Jacobite song:

‘Then let the flowing Quaich go round
and boldly let pibroach sound
Till every glen and rock resound
The name o’Royal Charlie
Welcome Charlie, o’er the main
Our hieland hills are a’your ain
Welcome to our Isle again
Welcome Royal Charlie’

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