All posts by Tulleeho

Madhu Rajigani

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A hospitality graduate, with additional qualifications in business administration and bartending, Madhu has pursued the Level 1, 2 and 3 courses from WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust), London.

Madhu’s prior experience includes working with The Westin, Hyderabad, Southern Sun, Abu Dhabi and Fairmont Palm in Dubai.

He has imparted beverage training to several F&B personnel from various organizations in the field of Wines, Beer and Spirits. He has also conducted several trainings for various hospitality clients in the field of Mixology and has contributed in developing cocktail recipes for various bars and pubs in the country.

Apart from training professionals in the field of beverages Madhu has conducted numerous sessions on Mixology and Wine and Whisky appreciation for consumers and corporate houses.

Yangdup Lama

Mixologist, Entrepreneur and Author who heads Cocktails & Dreams/Thirsty Three Hospitality. With over 20 years of beverage experience I extend bar and beverage consultancy services and training to beverage professionals, liquor companies and consumers on different forms of alcoholic beverages, appreciation and usage. I also run Cocktails & Dreams, Speakeasy (one of India’s first Speakeasy Style Bars) in Gurgaon.

Yangdup is currently the American Whiskey Brand Ambassador in India for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). He is also the India Attache to Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans.

Winner of several awards, I was adjudged Indian Bartender of the Year in 1996, and received the Asia-Pacific 30 under 30 Award in 1997. I was featured as a “YOUNG TURK” CNBC TV18 in January 2007.

I was involved with United Spirits India (flavor development and activation for Vladivar), PepsiCo India (designing drinks for their existing brand port folio, Tropicana, CSD range and Key Accounts) and Angostura Aromatic Bitters (Cocktail training for Bartenders).

I have been involved with Pernod Ricard, India since 2008 and have been managing bars for all the brand parties (Chivas Studio, Absolut Art) and undertaking training programs for bartenders of key accounts and help develop signature cocktails for all their focus brands.

I authored my first cocktail book “Cocktails & Dreams” by Wisdom Tree in 2014 that features 50 cocktails including 25 of my signature cocktails with regional flavors.

Originally from Darjeeling, I prefer the second flush from the region to any other brew.

On the Rocks – Bottled in India Whisky – Anand Chintamani

Get a bottle of 100 Pipers to be served in the evening, (or Teachers or Black & White or Vat 69) and watch their face screw up!

And your party is over before it began.

Noticed that ever? I am sure !

Why does Bottled in India Whisky (BII) draw such flak? Is it inferior? Is it spurious? Is it tasteless? Or does it taste less?

I’ve even noticed lesser known yet imported whiskies draw more applause than Bottled in India Whisky (BII) ones – its arguably our Indian-ness of wanting to self label anything made 100% abroad as being better. Whisky or T.V! Right?

This article is just to set the facts right on the Scotchness of Bottled in India Whisky(BII). Yes it’s a word – and it’s been in use since 1808!

And to all those who think it’s inferior in anyway – sorry mate! That so aint it!

BII is 100 % Scotch – as scotch as scotch eggs, single malt, golf and haggis!

So what is BII Scotch?

100 Pipers Scotch
100 Pipers Scotch

It’s 100% Scotland Made – Scotland Matured made Scotch Whisky Style just bottled in the land of consumption!

It’s revenue paid (in Britain) and has undergone some check to ensure that’s it’s promised quality and unless fixed’ by an unscrupulous agent – it promises similar excitement.

Yes Sir, want to check? Here is a quick glance at what the British Legislation says about it:

As regards maturation, one area of possible ambiguity has been addressed. The Scotch Whisky Regulations make clear that Scotch Whisky must be wholly matured in Scotland, i.e. it may not be matured in any country other than Scotland.

The Scotch Whisky Regulations also require that all maturation must take place in an excise warehouse or in another “permitted place” regulated by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

“Permitted place” includes any place to which spirits in an excise paid warehouse

Such other purpose as HMRC may permit It is only if all maturation of Scotch Whisky takes place under some form of HMRC control that they will be able to certify that the spirit is Scotch Whisky and, if an age is claimed, that the Scotch Whisky has been matured in the permitted size of oak casks for the period claimed.

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But why is it done

2 main reasons – 1st – it significantly lowers taxation on the bottle – so you get good stuff – cheaper and 2nd as it’s in larger quantities – its also less cumbersome to transport the spirit in a steel container than all those individual bottles.

 So?

So it’s brought to India in bulk by liquor marketers such as Pernod Ricard – bottled under a watchful eye – by reducing the alcohol level to local standards using denatured water and served up to you!

Feeling sorted?

You should but yes, there is still a lingering doubt – that Teachers you had in London tasted better than the one at your friends last evening? Yes, maybe!

For one, the idea of sitting around drinking whisky in London itself adds to the experience and thus enhance the taste – also, the Britain, most blended premium whisky is bottled at 40% strength – while here in India its usually 42.3% – that would account for a bit of the doubt!

Anand Chintamani

Suyash Pande

Suyash Pande
Suyash Pande

With a decade’s worth of experience in the hospitality sector, I have worked across a range of properties in the F&B spectrum – from elite, high-end hotels to perkier, hipper spaces.

Working at the bar, and with alcohol, is my great passion and I’ve run a gamut of related responsibilities

Tulleeho Grapevine – Sherry, Port, Madeira – Elisabeth Spinnler

Spain and Portugal’s fortified heritage wines … the comeback!

Sherry, Port and Madeira are again trendy as younger customers are changing the image of these wines. Whether in London or New York, a new generation is responsible for slowly but steadily rising consumption. Clichés are still around. Port is the Christmas drink and wine for family gatherings, Sherry, grandma’s preferred sweet afternoon drink and Madeira, the one used for refined cooking! But today’s Ports, Sherries and Madeiras are getting more experimental when used in the cocktail world, one of several reasons for the sustained comeback of all three in many parts of the world.

Sherry enjoys special momentum in New York for some time already, dry styles above all, fresh and chilled. The whole range of finer Sherries is much in demand, the Finos and Manzanillas, biologically aged by their own yeast resulting in wine with delicate but marked saline flavours. Manzanillas in particular have this incorporated sea breeze, the much appreciated seaside saltiness on the palate, the pleasant feeling of freshness so typical for the wines of the Sanlúcar de Barrameda vineyards.

 

Sherry
Sherry

Though any Sherry is exceptional on its own, they match extremely well with many types of food. It’s the case with Spanish cuisine, the tapas. But it is equally a perfect match for food pairing with more spicy cuisines, from the Japanese with fresh fish to any other Asian cuisine with more fried food. Or simply drink it with any artisan cheese and some bread.

Sherry and Cheese
Sherry and Cheese

For Port the story is not less interesting. The prestigious wine is a raison d’être for new bars inside and outside Portugal and their trendy Port mixes are the link for young consumers to get to know the wine. Port Tonic, the mix of White Port with Tonic Water, a blend of sweetness with bitterness, is already a classic. CaipiRoyal, the extra dry White Port on crushed ice, mixed with lime or any other fruit juice such as strawberry or pineapple, is another fashionable cocktail. These are drinks for any occasion, unpretentious and fun.

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Port Tonic

Standard Ports, Reserve Tawnies, Colheitas and Vintage Ports, whether drunk on their own or accompanied by cheese, truffles or other delicatessen, are as special as they always were. Powerful, elegant and with unique flavours, the wine produced from grapes grown in the intensely sloped vineyards hanging over the Douro river is more than ever appreciated as the flagship wine for a country well-known for its rich wine legacy.

Madeira wine is making a come back of its own. The many different kinds of it seduce at any age and are a many connoisseurs favourite. It’s as well a hot ingredient in the cocktail world, where its wide range of aromas and flavours, from slightly saline, spicy or kind of citrus to richer and sweeter notes of nuts and figs, are used to create unique drinks.

Lighter and fresher versions of Ports and Sherries, White Ports, Finos and Manzanillas, as Sercial and Verdelho for the Madeiras, are clearly the style favourites in the cocktail world. They match the dryer contemporary taste and wine producers are honouring that. But the slow revival of the integral range of fortified wines could represent more. There is some nostalgia in the air, a tendency of valuing timelessness, traditional values not for the sake of tradition but for their authenticity. Associated with them also those precious moments of conviviality, the time to enjoy them, as may be the end afternoon of a hot summer day rewarded by a fresh Sherry, Port or Madeira in the company of friends. Interesting to know that in all wine regions efforts are made to produce them again organically, meaning that some of the wines will soon be like they still were some fifty-sixty years ago.

Elisabeth Spinnler

The Rise of the Cocktail – Part 1 – By Suyash Pande

From’ Cocktail Ho Gayi’ To #cocktail

Growing up I heard the term “cocktail ho gayi” a lot of times. Guilty of using it also actually but back then it made sense, for cocktail as we were told was a situation where one gets high. So if u mixed 2 alcoholic beverages there was a bright chance you will get “cocktailed”.

Very recently I went to the original KDH or Kake di Hatti close to Tilak Bazaar for the huge Naan bread with Dal Makhani and noticed the beverage menu had “Mojito” rather “Mojeeto” (in Hindi) and it was the most expensive beverage on the menu at 60 bucks, moreover it could be seen on 4 of the 10 odd tables.  Yes, I ordered one and I have to admit it was pretty decent for a Virgin Mojeeto. As I ate my food delicately paired with my Mojito I couldn’t decide if Mr. Richard Drake would be happy to see his drink reaching out the way it has or would it make him sob.

Cocktails have certainly come a long long way in the last decade and a half. In all prestigious colleges teaching B.Sc. in Hospitality, cocktails that were taught were Bloody Mary because it had so many ingredients it was difficult to remember back then, the Cosmopolitan because it was a fancy martini glass drink and the Blue Lagoon which I am certain made its way in cause of its color. Then again, 2 weeks ago I met an industrial trainee from a college in Dehradun at a training session I was conducting and he had a question when I was teaching the Whisky Sour, he asked “what is the difference between a Flip and Sour when it comes to the texture of the Cocktail?”, there was silence in the room.

I could see the blank almost scared/lost expression on the face of the Bar Manager and the General Manager who until then were poking everyone who had asked questions with some witty retorts. I answered with the cream and citrus logic I knew and ‘nog’ entered the conversation. For the 5 minutes while we both were talking it seemed like a ping pong match with everyone ‘wowed’ and just turning heads to look at both of us. Luckily I survived the kid but I felt proud on how much the 21 year old kid knew and was embarrassed to even compare my knowledge back then with his.

Times have certainly changed, people have started moving out of the “whisky -half soda half water” era into trying an Old Fashioned. Even if they make the Old Fashioned, topped up with orange juice and soda I am more than ok with that as long as they add the outlet name in front. At least it’s a move on from where we were stuck for years.

The days when anyone could be handed the bar at the evening briefing are gone, bartending/mixology is becoming a professional’s job and clients have started going out for the cocktails and bartenders and not just to eat. Gone are the days when moving up the career ladder for a bartender meant moving out of the bar and wearing a suit. The same can now be done from the inside which is a great sign.

Slowly but steadily cocktail culture Is entering the market and it’s a matter of 5 odd years when we can not only match but excel the skillset of bartenders worldwide. Indian spices and fruits have flavors which can create concoctions beyond all imaginations. The ‘turmeric latte’ doing wonders globally has been our recipe for centuries now, the punch as we know came from ‘Paanch (five)” and is our creation. It’s a matter of streamlining the process and ensuring that the healthy race continues and we are certainly in good hands. So drink responsibly and don’t spill it.

Salud!

Suyash Pande

Confessions of a Bar Owner – Girjashanker Vohra, Depot 48

1. If I wasn’t running a bar.. I’d still be broke

2. My bar’s names are Depot 29/48.. because thats what PIN CODES are for

3.  I love customers who ..who make us happy, some when they walk in and some when they leave…

4. Customers who are drinking too much.. should immediately be given loyalty cards and free rides home…

Girjashanker Vohra
Girjashanker Vohra

5.  I’d like to have a drink with.. an investor who adds an extra zero for every 30ml…

6.  I value a bartender who.. never tells a customer that they’ve had one too many…..

7. The nightlife...at 34000 ft is the best in the world because you never have to be drunk to be high…

8. The happiest person in a bar is .. the last man standing.

Tulleeho!

Absinthe Diary – Capetown – By Chandan Gupta

Now let me be clear … drinking is not instinctive..you need to do lot of research, discuss with locals, make a plan and convince the wife much in advance with a serious face that drinking is an important part of understanding the history and culture of a country. A friend told me about Abantanu, a pub on Long street in Cape town as being the “go to” place for shots. It’s a small bar close to the big names of Long Street like Beer house and Mama Africa and they were serving shots with either super funny or kinky names.

Abantanu, Cape Town
Abantanu, Cape Town

Another USP was price. Average shots were in between 7 to 15 Rand and that means with 300 Indian rupees (1 Rand=5 Indian rupees) in your pocket you can come out sloshed and wise. I started with two moderate shots named I Missed my flight and Soweto toilet.

First Two Shots
First Two Shots

And then I saw Absinthe—I had been chasing this green devil for many years…to get it and drink it of course. And my running after this mirage ended here as I ordered 2 shots. All the notorious history of Absinthe came back to me just like a Bollywood movie flash-back.

15052081_1070280283070660_160079386_oNames like Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Gauguin, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Edgar Allan Poe & Lord Byron…ME, some not surviving more than 5 years after they started drinking it, others becoming suicidal or depressed. Original recipes of absinthe were believed to have highly hallucinogenic properties, with the word literally meaning “undrinkable” in Greek. There is also a mention of it in 1500 BC ancient Egypt. All this came in my mind as part of the complete package of romanticism associated with Absinthe.

Chandan Gupta
Chandan Gupta

Then I finally tasted this anise and fennel flavored drink…it was a no brainer to understand why it is so popular despite being banned in 60 countries for it is high alcohol percentage of 45 to 96%. It is so tasty and sweet and almost no bitterness. Thank god it is not available in India…at last easily and legally!!

Chandan Gupta

Entrepreneur, adventurist, conservationist and foodie…. 

Coffee Corner – Tasting Coffee – Rajjat Gulati

Most consulting jobs I’m called in for require that I set up the coffee practice – from bean to machine to extraction to training. It wasn’t till my latest assignment that I realised that, more often than not, I act as the final (and sole) determinant of the final product. At best, my customer – usually the owner of a restaurant looking to round out their offering – is equipped to judge the coffee as acceptable or good but I have never worked with someone who could discuss the nuances of coffee with me.

What this means is that I’m, more often than not, busy with the mechanics of coffee and seldom have the chance to discuss what the destination should look like; what elusive ideal we are chasing when we demand the best beans, the best machines and the best people?

And, I’ve realized, I have managed to make the same mistake in this column. We’ve discussed French Presses and Aeropresses and Cold Brews but I haven’t addressed the one question this is all designed to answer. What’s worse, I haven’t even raised the question yet. That changes right now.

“It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.” – Trinity, The Matrix (1999) My last consulting assignment was unusual, though. How? Simple. My client asked me The Question directly.

He had the coffee. He wanted to know how it stacked up against the competition.

“What is good coffee? What are we looking for when we judge coffee?”

Well, there isn’t one simple answer. But there are two guiding principles:

  1. There is no one ideal so, to each his own
  2. Before you go breaking the rules you have to know the rules

So, what are the rules? There is, actually, just one rule – Make the coffee shine. Spare no effort to highlight the best things about the coffee. For instance, there are more than a thousand chemical compounds in a roasted bean of coffee and they all contribute to the characteristics of the final cup. Not all get equally extracted, though. Polar compounds are more water-soluble than non-polar ones so they are over-represented in a brewed cup. Knowing the effect each of these has on the final brew can help us design a process to selectively highlight the characteristics we want to showcase. The finest nuances of coffee involve elaborate chemistry but, for most of us – including for the experts – we can substitute most of that with trial and error. A lot of trial and error, unfortunately.

First things first. There are several variables that determine the outcome for a brewed coffee. The bean, the grind and the brewing method are the main ones. We need to control two variables at a time to be able to run our “experiments” like real scientists. So, fix a grind size (or get pre-ground coffee) and use the pourover method ( minus the ice) or the Aeropress method as standard. We can even use espresso shots as the base, though I would recommend diluting to a “lungo” or “americano” with hot water. We can change the grind size for our next set of experiments, if needed.

Professionally, coffee is evaluated through a process called “cupping” that involves ceramic cups, silver spoons and pouring hot water on to the grounds directly in the cup. The grounds float to the top and create a crust that is broken with the spoon and warm coffee is slurped (yes, slurped) from just below the lips into the mouth and evaluated.

We won’t “cup”. Cupping works when freshly-roasted and ground coffees needs to be evaluated with respect to each other or when a new coffee is judged to create profile notes; all high-falutin exercises that we won’t involve ourselves with. Nonetheless, we will apply the same metrics that cuppers do to evaluate our coffees. Here’s how.

Aroma – How the coffee smells; to me this is 90% of the coffee experience. Unfortunately coffee never tastes as nice as it smells and the reason is that the aroma comes from the most volatile compounds in the coffee which escape as gases almost immediately. It is important to put words to the various aromas you get because it helps create a mental vocabulary for the smells. First, identify the intensity of the aroma. Descriptions could include “delicate”, “moderate”, “strong”, “rich”, “fragrant” or “complex”. Then, start deciphering the individual components of the bouquet. This will be hard at the beginning, but as with most things, it will get easier with practice. While there is a set of words commonly used (fruity, floral, straw, citrus) feel free to create your own associations. I tend to use a lot of colour names, for instance. The only rule is that you take copious notes so that you can build consistency and expand your vocabulary.

Acidity – This refers, not to the pH of the coffee, but to its “sharpness” and palate-cleansing ability. Coffees low on acidity tend to taste flat, a medium acidity adds life to the coffee and inordinate levels of acidity makes the coffee “sharp” and unpleasant. Acidity levels are correlated with how quickly the taste disappears from the mouth.

Body – This describes the weight of the coffee. Does it pass through the mouth like water or does it linger, like syrup? Full-bodied coffees tend to coat your mouth.

Flavour – Flavour represents the sum total of how the coffee is perceived once inside the mouth. Surprisingly, tase – what we experience on the tongue, is a miniscule part of this. Our tongues are able to perceive just the four major tastes – Sweet, Salty, Sour and Bitter – and all other perceptions of flavour are the result of the aroma receptors in the nose which are accessed via retronasal olfaction. As you take in the coffee slurp so that air gets mixed with the liquid. This releases the volatile compounds and, as they travel to the nose from the back of the mouth you get a richer sense of the bouquet the coffee has to offer. This process is very similar to how wine gets evaluated and, as with wine, practice makes perfect. The vocabulary for flavour encompasses that of aroma and adds its own words like “bold”, “subtle” and more.

If your go-to method for making coffee is the espresso you have one more metric to consider.

Crema – The layer of micro-foam on top of the espresso shot is called the crema. It is the result of the oils in the coffee being extracted by the high-pressure steam of an espresso machine. A nice crema is honey-coloured but may have flecks of Orange or Red. A lighter crema usually indicates an under-extracted shot. The thickness of the crema will depend on the cup used but, given that as standard, Robusta beans tend to produce more crema than Arabica. Since the crema is oils emulsified with air it tends to spoil (go rancid) very quickly and it is imperative the espresso be drunk as soon as it is prepared or the bitter notes of rancid oil will start to dominate.

Variables that influence each of these factors include the species of bean – Arabica or Robusta, the roast and grind of coffee, and the method of preparation. Those are all points for another column, though. Get started on your tastings, take lots of notes and get lots of practice. Hit me back with updates on your progress. All the best!

Rajjat Gulati

Coffee Corner: Cold Brewing by Rajjat Gulati

[vc_column width=”1/1″]Over the years – and over the course of running my own cafes – I have gathered a vast array of coffee-making paraphernalia and am spoiled for choice when it comes to making my personal cup of Joe. There is an espresso machine lying around that I stopped bothering with once I realized that espresso wasn’t my favourite style of coffee. A moka pot and a french press jostle for shelf space somewhere at the back of the kitchen. An Aeropress, my de-facto coffee maker, headlines. For now.

In subsequent columns we will discuss the merits and demerits of each of these methods and more. Today, however, as an ode to lazy weekends and lazier-still coffee enthusiasts (me) I want to talk about the method of making coffee that has the highest Rate-of-Return for the amount of effort it requires. In short, minimum fuss, maximum taste. It’s called cold-brewing.

Cold-brewing involves steeping coffee grounds in cold – or room-temperature – water for extended periods of time. Without getting too scientific about it, while hot water does release more volatile organic compounds from the coffee (read: flavour) it also ups the acidity of the coffee and damages some of the oils. This has the double disadvantage of making the coffee bitter and shortening its shelf life – I have agonised so many times about bad baristas letting my espresso go rancid while they are preparing the rest of the order. Cold-brewed coffee, then, is ideal for making once and savouring over a longer period. I have made concentrates that keep for up to a month with no degradation in taste.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Let’s get started.

Ingredients and Equipment – both ingredients can be scaled up or down

  • 112 grams (about a level cup) of medium ground medium roast coffee.
  • 800 ml of filtered water at room temperature.
  • A lidded jar or large-mouthed bottle in which to steep the coffee.
  • A way to strain the coffee before use.

At the bare minimum we need whole roasted beans. If we are to have any hope of getting good flavour from our coffee we need whole beans. Start with a medium roast and adjust based on taste. Also, ideally, we would use a burr grinder but you can use a dry grinder that uses blades. While cold-brew is forgiving, that way, I would highly recommend this one upgrade. I use a Hario Slim Grinder that I couldn’t find in India but a clone of the Hario Skerton is available here as are vintage grinders. Set it for a medium grind to start and adjust with taste.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Method

  • Put the ground coffee in the jar or bottle and pour the water over it.
  • Stir to ensure that all the coffee grounds have been wetted.
  • Cover lightly and leave in a cool dark area. Your kitchen counter should work fine. If you plan to leave the brew for longer than 16 hours I recommend you put it in the refrigerator.
Steeping for 16 hours
  • After 12 hours – I found no discernible difference between steeping for 12 or 16 hours so do what is convenient – strain the coffee. For straining coffee filters are ideal. Cheesecloth or muslin lined in a large metal sieve will be just fine. Use a clean (not for long) T-shirt as a last refuge. I started by using cheesecloth but am tempted to buy small muslin bags that I can drop the coffee in and pull out later. Think of them as handmade, re-usable teabags for coffee.
Straining
Straining

And, that’s it. What you should have now is a strong coffee concentrate that you can dilute 1:1 with milk or water, hot or cold, for a flavourful cup that should showcase the subtle notes in the coffee and will have none of the acidity that turns most first-timers off coffee.

 

Bottle it and it should keep for up to a month though I never, personally, let it survive past 24 hours. Cold-brew is also a way to salvage slightly older beans so it is especially suited to off-the-shelf buys.

By Rajjat Gulati[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Letter from Scotland – A tale of Tartan, Leith and Whisky – Andrew Skene

[vc_column width=”1/1″]Whisky, Tartan and Golf are probably the three most recognisable icons of Scotland and the port of Leith can lay a claim to all three!

Leith is a town on the Firth of Forth just north of Edinburgh (Scotland’s capital) and it has seen an amazing history with many important events taking place in this port town which up until 1920 was a separate burgh to Edinburgh.

Aside from the turbulent history, it has been a wine storage location as far back as the 16th century, the first official rules of golf were drawn up in Leith in 1744 and at one time up to 90% of all Scotch Whisky was aged in Leith!

1.PORTERS STONE Dated 1678 showing wine casks being unloaded from a boat
1.PORTERS STONE Dated 1678 showing wine casks being unloaded from a boat

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Whisky & the Port of Leith

Amongst the many exotic products that came through the port were the wines of Jerez and Leith was a major warehousing location for the casks that were shipped into Scotland.

In typically canny fashion, once emptied, these casks were used as storage and transport containers for whisky and it became increasingly apparent that it benefited the spirit greatly. The sweet notes left behind in the wood were imparted into the whisky and created a flavour like no other.

Ex Wine Casks
2. EX-WINE CASKS BEING USED FOR TRANSPORTATION OF SCOTCH WHISKY

As the 19th century wore on, the port of Leith became the centre of the industry as bottlers, blenders and merchants built their warehouses and offices around the burgeoning numbers of distilleries that sprung up. Customs and Excise, amongst other government departments connected to the industry were also located nearby in Edinburgh.

Leith
3.19th CENTURY MAP OF LEITH SHOWING INFLUENCE OF SCOTCH WHJSKY ON THE PORT

The big distilleries may have long since disappeared like the angel’s share, but the port continues to do business in the rectifying, blending, bonding and exporting of Scotch. The spirit is still very much alive and well.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]The Tartan Connection

Tartan Connection
Figure 4. KING GEORGE IV IN KILT

It is not known when tartan was first created in Scotland but there are prints and carvings dating back to the early 16th century showing the Highlander of Scotland wearing this dress. After many years of trying to calm the warring Highland clans, the English banned the wearing of tartan and highland dress in 1746.

Although the ban was repealed in 1782 it was not King George the IV arrived in Leith in 1822 (the first monarch to step foot in Scotland for nearly 2 centuries) wearing a kilt and full Highland Dress that the tartan kilt was elevated to be part of a full Scottish identity.

Figure 5. KING GEORGE IV ARRIVING IN LEITH 1822
Figure 5. KING GEORGE IV ARRIVING IN LEITH 1822

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Kinloch AndersonKinloch Anderson (based in Dock Street, Leith), now in the sixth generation of family management, has been known and respected in Scotland’s capital city as the foremost experts in tartans and Highland Dress since 1868. The company are proud holders of Royal Warrants of Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen, to His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh and to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

The company’s products have always reflected the pride they take in Scotland’s capital and nowhere has been more vital to Edinburgh’s development than the port of Leith. In 1995 the company produced a tartan that reflects Leith’s heritage and in summer 2016 they bottled a Scotch Whisky that is as close to a classic Scotch Whisky as close to the style produced two centuries earlier – a 35 year old Blend aged in an ex-oloroso cask and hand bottled free from artificial additives or colouring and has not undergone the process of chill-filtration.

KINLOCH ANDERSON 35 YEAR OLD SMALL BATCH BLEND

TASTING NOTES BY CHARLES MACLEAN

Cask No: 198408 -1 of 498 bottles

Kinloch Anderson 1

Nose: Rich fruits intermingled with the Sherry flavour. Sweet and spicy oak. Figs in syrup. Palate: Full-bodied. Again rich and fruity. Beautifully balanced sweetness working with the oak. Rich malt flavours and mouth-coating. Finish: A rich explosion of sweet fruits in the finish. Again perfect balance of flavours and a long, rich aftertaste.

THE LEITH TARTAN Packaged in the Leith tartan, this tartan was designed in 1995 by Kinloch Anderson and registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans.

The symbolism of the colours is as follows: Ancient Blue and Navy to represent the sea and maritime connections. Green signifies the association with Leith Links, the original site of the game of golf. Red recalls the renowned wine and whisky trade around the world from the Port of Leith.

Andrew Skene[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Tulleeho Grapevine – Madeira – Elisabeth Spinnler

[vc_column width=”1/1″]In the middle of the Atlantic, an island called MADEIRA, discovered by the Portuguese navigators and part of Portugal ever since. The island wasn’t inhabited. It had to be cleared for cultivating wheat, vines and sugarcane. Noble men from Lisbon with laborers from Northern Portugal started building the infrastructure needed to plant vineyards, terraces and water channels meandering through the volcanic rocks. Then they planted several grape varieties from Northern Portugal, as well as Candid Malmsey, the especially sweet grape from Crete, known to Prince Henry the Navigator. It didn’t take more than 25 years until the export of Madeira wine began, unfortified dry white wine of distinguished quality, shipped over the oceans to England first and then to America.

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Following the shaping of the commercial trade routes from Europe to America as well as those eastwards, Madeira Wine had been introduced step by step to people around the globe. The celebration of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America on July 4th, 1776, by its first President George Washington, had been marked by a toast with a chalice of Madeira Wine, underlining the fame it already had. And the Island’s wine only gained in prestige over the years.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Fortification became rapidly usual for Madeira Wines, a habit that secured the wine’s stability for the time on sea, similar to the story of Port. What is unique for Madeira, the flavors of roasted nuts, stewed fruits, caramel and toffee, turned out to be an accidental consequence of the dry white wine travelling by boat over the oceans. The casks baked in the sun on the boats over the long weeks on sea and transformed the wine. The taste was amazing and highly appreciated overseas. Madeira’s wine producers started to send their barrels on round trips between continents, for the sake of baking them in tropical sun before selling the wine. Towards the end of the 18th century, they searched and found techniques capable to get the same famous flavors born at sea reproduced on land.

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Today, lower quality wines are aged in special steel vats laced with water-heated coils, which raise the temperature up to about 55C for the time of three months. Sugars caramelize, the wine is allowed to oxidize, and the effect is a sweet wine, frequently used as an ingredient in fine gastronomy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]The higher quality Madeiras, generally those made from the noble 4 varieties Sercial, Verdelho, Boal and Malmsey (Malvasia), are aged in barrels. They are stored in the Canteiros, the rafters of the wineries, oriented with south facing windows to allow the barrels getting sun drenched. Temperatures reach between 30 and 40 degrees. Some of them stay there a minimum of 10 years, most of them 20 years, the minimum age for vintage Madeira. The special wine, the very best, can mature almost endlessly. Even more than 100 years old Madeiras are still highly appreciated!

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 3.28.57 PM[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]The palate of Madeira Wine depends on the harmony of three factors: the degree of sweetness, acidity and alcohol content. All of them are high in acidity. Sercial is the driest, then comes the medium-dry Verdelho before the medium-sweet Boal and last Malmsey, the sweetest. The appropriate serving temperature depends mainly on the degree of sweetness, age and variety of the wine. It is usually recommended that the wine be served at between 13 and 14º for younger wines while older wines, given their greater complexity, should be served at a temperature varying between 15ºC and 16ºC.

Sercial shows lemony, spicy herbaceous notes, often with a stony mineral character on the palate. It’s a wine with a slight sweetness offset by its acidity, especially when served chilled. It’s an excellent wine for an aperitif or alongside light fish and vegetable dishes.

Verdelho is smokier, slightly more concentrated and richer than Sercial, has notes of spice, salt-sea aroma and light caramel. A classic pairing is soup, especially seafood bisque or leek soup. Verdelho’s dryness and intensity of flavor makes it one of the most flexible Madeira styles for pairing with foods of varying richness.

Boal is sweet Madeira that shows complexity and rich aromas, smells and tastes like roasted coffee, salted caramel, bitter cacao, dates and golden raisins. It is great with any desserts that incorporate nuts, figs, stewed fruit, caramel or chocolate and is also an amazing pairing with rich cheeses.

Malmsey, the richest and sweetest style of Madeira, is an excellent pairing with rich desserts, chocolate, ice cream, also with cheese. It’s the one with the most fruity, roasted nut and chocolate notes of all the styles of Madeira. Malmsey is actually a dessert of itself.

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As an insider of Madeira wines nicely put it “up to 10-year old Madeira can be paired with anything, follow your inspiration! But when it comes to older, vintage-dated Madeiras, they have enough complexity to drink them by themselves. They are wines of reflection.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Madeira wine is making a come back for some time already, as do Port and Sherry. The good news is that most any Madeira is excellent wine, as age is no issue, price therefore reflecting quality. Important also to know, that even an opened bottle will keep the quality.

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Excellence and uniqueness are the important characteristics of Madeira’s wines. The same is true for Madeira’s famous son, Cristiano Ronaldo. And with respect to longevity, we wish him the same karma as Madeira’s wines…..stay young forever!

Nina Spinnler from Portugal[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Cocktail suggestion:

Forever Fresh
Forever Fresh

Forever Fresh

by Rui de Jesus Gonçalves from Hotel Madeira Palacio

Ingredients

3/10 of dry Madeira

3/10 of Apricot Brandy

4/10 of fresh Orange Juice

some drops of Grenadine

Garnish with Pineapple, Kiwi, Strawberry and fresh Mint

Prepared with a Shaker[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Gautom Menon – Director Wild Tiger Rum – Q&A with Tulleeho

One thing you’d like to change about the Indian market…

The perception that the Indian whisky or brandy that one drinks is actually “Whisky” or “Brandy”, they need to read the label carefully. It’s nothing but RUM that’s artificially flavoured to give some whisky and brandy characteristics. Rum is the original & indigenous spirit of India tracing back 6000 years from where it spread to the west.

Ever heard of a Mexican Vodka or Mexican Single Malt whisky? or Scottish brandy? Go figure please readers.

Gautom Menon
Gautom Menon

Who do you think sets drinking trends in India?

Celebrities unfortunately. I wish it were Mixologist’s instead.

What according to you is the most overrated drinking fad / drink in India at the moment?

Patron XO Cafe, I fail to understand what part of the consumption has any Tequila characteristics. You might as well have an espresso, with some vodka and sugar syrup instead.

What’s the next big thing for India?

Drinks that are beyond just giving one a high, where there is an emotive connect between consumer and brand within what his wallet can afford but of course from time to time splurging a bit more for those special occasions. So that demarcation between a special occasion and the casual drinking sessions. In an ideal world every catch up of friends over drinks should be special

Which is your favourite liquor brand ad campaign?

There are some really cheesy one’s out there that are chauvinistic and stereotypical but the Carlsberg campaign’s are amazing…’if Carlsberg did boardrooms……that one is a stand out. Who doesn’t want to have a boardroom meeting in a pool after all right? 🙂

Which is your favourite Bar in India and why?

Don’t particularly have a favourite one but if I had to pick it would be Skye in Bangalore mainly for its 360 degree panoramic views. It’s the best place in Bangalore to escape from the hustle, bustle and pollution all whilst sipping on a Martini, that besides my friends and I are well looked after by Santosh Martin and his team at Skyee.

Which of your competitors gives you sleepless nights?

Have never looked at that way, we are still a cub in the world of Rum, but perhaps someday we could maul that Captain and unleash into that Bat too (Pun intended)

Wild Tiger
Wild Tiger

The one fictional character you’d like to have a drink with…

The Joker I suppose.

If you were alone on a desert island, which drink would you want with you?

Did I not tell you that a Bottle of Wild Tiger after drinking up also serves its purpose as an anti poaching Weapon 😉 So now I have had good rum on a sunny island and I can protect myself too from Pirates and creatures.

🙂

Gautom Menon, Director, Wild Tiger Rum

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Letter from Portugal – Port – Vol 2 – Elisabeth Spinnler

The river Douro in the Northern part of Portugal was a cradle for winemaking since ancient times, before the Roman occupation of the Iberian Peninsula and their strong encouragement of viticulture. Wine, together with cereals and olive oil, represented the pillars of the local economy. Douro wines got on the world map much later though, during the 2nd half of the 17th century as a result of war between France and England.

Once England boycotted the importation of French wines, and the London elite ran dry on wine, the search for alternatives began and Portugal was the answer. Very rapidly Porto attracted a flourishing British merchant community, which traded in wool and cloth and sent Douro wine back to England. Commercial activities have rapidly been sealed in a famous Treaty signed in 1703. The two countries agreed that wine could be imported into England at a greatly reduced tax rate and British wool was admitted into Portugal duty-free. It was the starting point for the rapidly growing international interest in traditional Douro wines, the wines with their characteristically deep purple color and a special dryness in the mouth.

River Douro
River Douro

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]As a result of the Treaty, wine got shipped in big quantities to England. The Portuguese, in order to prevent any potential damage during the passage, started to add small amounts of brandy to the wine, which represented a first step towards today’s style of Port. Furthermore, to please even more the British palate, they also started to add some sugar, something that became slowly but surely common practice, as they liked it. Hence the British influence had the final say, Port wine got once and for ever today’s style: sweetish, typically deep purple black, full bodied and fortified with added brandy.

The British merchants settled in the region and dominated the Port wine trade for a long time. As a matter of fact many of them are still here today. The Portuguese, on the other hand, keen to protect the authenticity of their wine and to control its price, created in 1756 a supervisory entity, which established the exact extension of the Douro wine regions, demarcating clearly as up to where it was allowed to label the wine as ‘Port’. It was worldwide the first time that a wine region got its formal demarcation.

Today the Douro wine region has become a notorious attraction for custom-made visits. Starting in the city of Porto you can enjoy the view of the vineyards on exclusive boat trips up the meanders of the Douro River, a landscape marked by old and new stone-terraced hills. The river may have fashioned the millenary landscape, but the terraces are due to the hard labor of men and women who built and rebuilt the hillsides rising from its banks over the last three centuries to enable the vineyards’ plantation. Today they are part of the landscape that UNESCO has classified as a World Heritage Site.

The Douro region as a natural treasure for growing grapes and making wines, is a region of canicular hot summers and bone-chilling cold winters, a land of extremes, where the vines, on poor soil and between broken slabs of schistous rocks, grow deeply their roots in search of scarce water. Several indigenous varietals are the base of Port, always being a blend. The diversity of soils and existing micro climates means that grapes are different according to where the vines have been planted. The Douro vintners’ artistry therefore starts in the vineyard, with the decision to determine the best combination of grape varietal, soil, location and micro climate for each piece of vineyard. Douro wines are terroir wines expressing beautifully the sense of place.

The whole wine making process is complex, starting with the fermentation process, the addition of the brandy, quantity and timing of it with respect to the sweetness or dryness of the Port to be created. Some of the most prestigious wineries still practice wine making as performed centuries ago, including foot-treading the freshly harvested grapes. The final result of all of them is Port with a final alcohol content varying between 19 and 23°.

Foot-treading the freshly harvested grapes
Foot-treading the freshly harvested grapes

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Vila Nova de Gaia, opposite the city of Porto, is the location just before the Douro River’s mouth into the sea. Port wine producers stored the wine here, and still today thousands of wine casks are maturing in dozens of wine lodges. It is here that the wine is transforming over time into the sweet, soft and light nectar with its incomparably delicate aromas that is appreciated today allover the planet.

One of the oldest lodges of Vila Nova da Gaia is Taylor’s, located in Rua do Choupelo nr. 250. They just reopened a freshly restored visitor’s part, a beautiful open space, where you can follow step by step the making of Port as practiced over more than three hundred years. You will get a glimpse of their wine casks, stored on the naturally sandy cellar floors, and can assist to some day to day work, follow on screen the work in the vineyards throughout the year, and get an introduction into the Taylor’s family history, one of the most significant Port producer.

Taylor's Port Warehouses
Taylor’s Port Warehouses

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Back to Lisbon and the result of the cocktail competition, which was held during Lisbon’s 1st Cocktail week. Voted by the jury and the public to be ‘The Best Cocktail 2016’ was a cocktail called Apple Lover’s, a mix of Gin, Green Apple Juice (Granny Smith), Sugar Syrup, Lemon Juice, Egg White and Basil.

My next letter will be from Madeira, the homeland of another famous wine, Madeira wine, homeland also of Cristiano Ronaldo!

Nina Spinnler from Portugal[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Beervana – India Pale Ale – Navin Mittal

[vc_column width=”1/1″]Editors Note – International IPA Day is on 6th August. To mark the same, we get Navin Mittal, the co founder of Gateway Brewery, one of India’s leading craft brewers to talk about his love for IPA (India Pale Ale) and how that has translated into the various styles of IPA which Gateway brews up.

When I first came across a beer that had India Pale Ale written on the label, I didn’t quite know how to react. Just like Bombay in Bombay Sapphire, I incorrectly thought that someone had stolen the prefix – India. How dare they use India when it hadn’t been made in India. Can Indians use Scotch whiskey for the whiskey we make in India? Fuc***g thieves! Let’s sue them and take it back!

But before I began my argument, I was told that the India Pale Ale is a style of beer that was brewed in England and shipped to India in the 1820s for consumption by the British troops. Since the journey was long, it was made stronger (higher alcohol acts as a natural preservative) and more hops were added, again, to preserve the beer. Hence, India Pale Ale (IPA).

Ok! So now I get it! But are they allowed to use India in the name? Anyways….

Until this moment, to me, beer was just beer! I didn’t think about it at all. I just drank what was available and called it a night! But now, I wanted to know more and Google helped out. Beer styles, to the common drinker (myself included before 2006), don’t quite mean much unless they spend time and understand them. When I started reading, I came across many stories about how the India Pale Ale (IPA) came into being. Not only that, I also learned that there were different types of beers available across the world (not all yellow and fizzy) and that one can also brew beer at home and it is a raging hobby in the United States. I was smitten! To cut the long story short, my love for beer led to brewing beer at home and then to the founding of Gateway Brewing Co., in Mumbai.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Since our launch, we have had 3 beers on tap in various bars across the city. But the IPA has always been my favourite and also the one that has changed the most over the course of the years. People who understand and love beers, love the IPA and its many variants. You see, over 2 centuries, brewers have interpreted the IPA style in 1000s of different ways. Different levels of alcohol, bitterness and aroma! Wow. What variety!

So, what does an IPA taste like? Our launch IPA was inspired by American IPAs and it was strong, had a good amount of sweetness from malt but was balanced with a healthy dose of bitterness from hops and capped off with another class of hops for a heady burst of aroma. Now, isn’t this something you want to drink in place of the ‘yellow water’. I do hope so!

After few months, we changed the recipe and this time around drew inspiration from the west coast of United States. Aptly called West Coast IPA, this brew employed a new dry-hopping technique to impart a grassy aroma and a slightly dry / astringent note to the beer. Once again, another layer of flavour.

West Coast IPA
West Coast IPA

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Having done American inspired IPAs, we decided to brew another recipe that I learned while studying in the UK. This IPA was less bitter, had a lower alcohol level but was still very flavourful and delicious to drink. One could have more than a few glasses. Easily. It was called Summer Sault IPA. With this brew, we also changed the hops a few times to give it different aroma and infused some Indian spices as well. Jugaad OR Summersault? You decide!

Summersault IPA
Summersault IPA

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Then came A1 – India Pale Ale. Single malt. Single hop. Truly A1.

A1 India Pale Ale
A1 India Pale Ale

I can go on and on about IPAs and their variants but what’s the point in reading. Go out there, get an IPA. Hell, get as many as you can and savour the flavour. 6th August is International IPA day and if it doesn’t mean much to you today, I can only say that it should. For without an IPA or its variants, we would be stuck with ‘yellow water’ they call beer!

Navin Mittal[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

On the Rocks – American Whiskey – Desi Shtyle

[vc_column width=”1/1″]I’ve heard that in some countries it’s known as the Devil’s share and not the Angel’s share. I’m referring to the liquid which evaporates each year from the casks in which it lies maturing, typically applying for spirits such as whisky, rum and cognac. In harsher climates such as India, the Caribbean and to my surprise even Kentucky, the loss of liquid can be higher than that in Scotland. Apart from the loss of liquid, maturation is also quicker – a year of maturation in a warmer climate takes Scotland 3/4 years to achieve because of the cold weather. That’s why the number of years of maturation is not given the importance for bourbon or Tennessee whiskey as it’s traditionally been given in Scotland. They know that maturation is not just a function of the number of years but of the weather and the interaction of the spirit with the wood because of it. Most American Whiskey will only put the years from 6 onwards.

Shatbhi Basu
Shatbhi Basu

Its nuggets of information like this (+ a lot of whiskey!) which drew me to an American whiskey appreciation evening with a difference, hosted by Shatbhi Basu, a doyenne of Indian bartending and currently ambassador for American whiskey in India. Shatbhi gets the evening started by getting us to rub our hands together with a four year old bourbon to see how just a few drops had an incredibly big fragrance which got could only get from a scotch that was 12 years and above. She even suggested that we could replace our regular aftershave with bourbon because it smells so good (might even be cheaper!)! What could be better than a sip and a splash![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Delhi Pavilion, ITC Sheraton’s spanking new venue, which pays tribute to Delhi’s heritage was the host venue this evening and Shatbhi had drawn upon the ingenuity of the Chefs there to pair a range of American whiskey’s with a set of Indian dishes, from the street food of Delhi to the Nawabi cuisine of Lucknow and she had in front of her, a ready set of 30 something guinea pigs.

Our first course was a chilled shot of Maker’s Mark bourbon served with a selection of typical Delhi chaat, a portion of Alu Tiki and a dahi bhalla served on a papri. The icing on the cake was the date perched on the rim of the glass. Bill Samuels Jr is the current President of Maker’s Mark and has a family tree which links back to the famous outlaws, Frank and Jesse James!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Next up was a cocktail concocted by Shatbhi, a chilled shot of Jack Daniel’s covered with a layer of citrus foam and served in an ice cold martini glass, all of this served with a  portion of fried fish. Delish! And if you thought Bill Samuel’s had a colourful history, then even if you tried you couldn’t come up with the story of how Jack Daniel’s is believed to have died! The story goes that he kicked his safe in anger, when he couldn’t remember the combination, which led to blood poisoning and his death! Jack Daniel’s has taken this gory fact and made it the basis of a sales promotion they run periodically wherein you need to guess the combination of Jack’s Safe, and the correct answer could get you a trip to Lynchburg, Tennessee, the home of Jack Daniel’s and a dry county to boot  🙂

JD and Fried Fish
JD and Fried Fish

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]From the Delhi fried fish we traveled south to a piece of lamb, Chettinad style, served with a Jim Beam & Pomegranate Sour (mixed up with fresh pomegranate juice and served in a champagne flute).

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]From Tamil Nadu to Lucknow, as we savoured a shot of cold Woodford Reserve infused with a hint of saffron, served straight up with a portion of galauti Kebab.. and my favourite touch was the slice of aam papad served with it. One of the finest bourbons from the house of Brown Forman, Woodford Reserve is handcrafted in small batches. The rich, fruity taste of the bourbon complemented the aam papad perfectly and was more than a match for the spicy galauti.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Our dessert was liquid, a chilled shot of Tennessee Honey (a blend of JD and Honey liqueur), served with a selection of traditional Indian desserts. And a decadent Choconut  Madness (bourbon blended with chocolate, peanut butter and ice cream) served smoked with a crisp brandy snap lid to hold the smoke.

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Lisa Srao – CMD I Brands – Q&A with Tulleeho

One thing you’d like to change about the Indian market…

The liquor industry in India has the potential to operate in a simplified manner. There is a big opportunity here for the government to create the conditions to make doing business in India easier. A uniform, harmonised state excise policy and simplified labelling regulations would help grow revenues and lessen complexity in the trading environment making it easier for the authorities to reduce illicit alcohol production.

On the same subject, I also feel we should do away with surrogate advertising. When you talk about Granton Club Soda, or a Royal Stag Soda, everyone knows that you are talking about whisky. We should put standards in place instead, that limit underage viewers from exposure to such messages which might be a social taboo. This can be achieved by time restrictions, for instance telecasting the advertisements post the “watershed”. We need to figure out the time period during which television viewing is highest for this section of the audience and prohibit advertisements of alcohol brands during this period. In addition one may prevent imagery of actual drinking of liquor on TV that could directly appeal to many individuals. Which is why even internationally, in UK and US surrogate advertising isn’t prevalent; what exists is responsible advertising that doesn’t have an adverse effect on society. I think if we change this, it would in turn also help the liquor industry gaining more acceptance in the country.

Lisa Srao
Lisa Srao

 

Who do you think sets drinking trends in India?

I think, the youth, their age demographic being between 25 – 35 years set the drinking trends in India. With social acceptance, and rising incomes, increasing travels, they are exposed to a wider variety of alcoholic brands including IMFL. In the last 10 years, the number of drinkers has increased from 1 in 300 to 1 in 20. The youth today want international quality, variety, products that the world consumes, and rightly so…

 

What according to you is the most overrated drinking fad / drink in India at the moment?

For me, these specific ‘women focussed’ drinks are extremely hyped. If I, a woman want to drink, why can’t I have the absolute best available in the market? Why should it be a product specifically developed for women, which is a milder version of the original? I want the finest product and it shouldn’t matter whether a man or woman is drinking it. If we were to take vodka for instance, I don’t want to drink a vodka which has been made for women, I would choose the best in the category: say, a Belvedere or a Grey Goose accordingly. I find this a tad bit funny.

 

What’s the next big thing for India?

I Brands Beverages! 🙂

We hope to be one of the top five liquor companies in the next few years. We are a brand specific company, focussed on making international standard quality products that are value for money. We currently have four fantastic products in our portfolio that are of international repute:

  1. Three Royals Whisky – a premium segment whisky (MRP: INR 350 – 735 for 750 ml)
  2. Granton Whisky (flagship product) – a deluxe segment whisky (MRP: INR 285 – 565 for 750 ml)
  3. Rum 99 – a Jamaican flavoured dark rum (MRP: INR 210 – 330 for 750 ml)
  4. Granton XO Brandy – a rare French brandy (MRP: INR 280 for 750 ml)

We are one of the fastest growing liquor start-up companies in the country, seeing a phenomenal response to our products over a relatively short period of time. In our 6th year of operation, we are today present in 15 states across the country with 3 more states launching later this year. Our products are available in more than 120 cities. We also have started exporting internationally to the ASEAN markets – Cambodia in the first phase, moving to Vietnam, Laos and China in the second. With 11 awards both internationally and nationally including best packaging and blend, we are the ones to watch out for!

 

Which is your favourite liquor brand ad campaign?

I quite like Officer’s Choice. It was an intelligent campaign pulling at the sympathies of the common people. I particularly like the one of a man helping an elderly aged couple with their suitcase at the railway station; helping them regardless of who they were. I think we need to be more socially caring, so I liked it. Plus of course, I love our Granton Club Soda TV commercial about a man who is ready to take on the world, with his inner ‘Sheron wala dum’ after having a Granton.

 

Which is your favourite Bar in India and why?

Sanctum in Bangalore.

It is a very upbeat bar that features a unique and unmatched onyx bar, and also has the widest selection of singer malts and liqueur in the city. When lit up, it looks magical. They have an amazing cocktail list, I think probably the best in the country. The food there is also outstanding. The staff’s attention to detail and knowledge about the menu, make it a fab experience.

 

Which of your competitors gives you sleepless nights?

Suntory and Diageo. They are  international powerhouses and would give most companies sleepless nights. I think, Teachers and Johnnie Walker are quite the cool brands though… The Johnnie Walker Black Label marketing campaigns are quite chic, their branding is particularly fabulous.

Lisa Srao, Chairman & M.D. - I Brands Beverages Ltd. (3)

The one fictional character you’d like to have a drink with…

James Bond. The Sean Connery Bond. I would be interested to know why he likes his Martini shaken not stirred. I would also try to introduce him to our Three Royals Whisky.

 

If you were alone on a desert island, which drink would you want with you?

Red Wine definitely. I would love to have a bottle(s) of 1999 Château Margaux with me. I would also love a bottle of our Rum 99. It is a beautiful Jamaican flavoured rum and would be perfect for the island.

🙂

Lisa Srao, Chairman and Managing Director, I Brands Beverages Ltd.

El Dorado Rum – Chat with the Chairman, Komal Samaroo

Sanjit Singh, rum connoisseur and Vikram Achanta from Tulleeho are in conversation with Komal Samaroo, the Chairman of Demerara Distilleries, which make the famed El Dorado rum, represented in India by Keshav Prakash of The Vault

What brings you to India?

We have been shipping small quantities of El Dorado to India for the last 3 years now. I thought it was time to sit down and “eyeball” with Keshav and see where we go from here. That was the main purpose. At the moment we sell the El Dorado 12 and 15 year old rums from our luxury cask collection.

Komal now turns inquisitioner and asks Sanjit and me for our views on the rum market in India.  He says that he is getting the impression that rum doesn’t have the same proposition as whisky in the Indian market. That whisky consumers are prepared to move up to the next level of brand, but the same doesn’t seem to apply to the rum consumer in India. Does Rum have an image problem in India asks Komal? If so, that’s a huge problem to overcome for any category he feels. The world over says Komal the image of rum is changing and aged and sipping rums are gaining popularity. The El Dorado 12 yo for example targets whisky drinkers. Markets like Europe are home to a large rum connoisseur community.

Rum Old Fashioned @ Bastian, Mumbai
Rum Old Fashioned @ Bastian, Mumbai

It has been a combination of cocktail culture and premiumization which has also helped grow the rum market. Mixologists are saying that your cocktail is as good as what’s inside. So a rum old fashioned made with a 12 year old rum is far superior to a rum old fashioned made with anything else. I had this at the Shangri La in Toronto and it was a fabulous drink. In New York in some of the top bars, they use aged rums. So it’s not the cocktail culture per se, but premiumization which is helping aged rums and other premium spirits. Consumers and bartenders are also going back to history and roots and origin.

Komal Samaroo
Komal Samaroo

What kind of casks do you use to age rum?

We use once used Bourbon barrels. Sherry casks are not normally used. I suspect there is a cost factor involved in the same (explaining the fact that sherry casks are not used). We have just done an experiment by aging our rums in different styles of casks – white port, red port, red wine, Sauternes, etc. The same liquid in 6 different barrels and monitored for 18 months (reviewing the liquid every 6 months) and it’s incredible how they are all very different. It  makes it clear that the kind of wood you use affects the final profile. We called these Special Finishes and it was an experiment. We produced around 600 bottles of each of these and ended up selling it at 2 times the price we would normally sell a 15 year old. It was a collectors item.

The rum you make is made from Demerara sugar. In what way does the kind of sugar used influence the taste profile of the rum?

We follow a traditional rum making production process. The coast of Guyana is below the sea level so soil and climatic conditions are a bit different, therefore the sugarcane and hence the molasses are also different. However what is also critical is the yeast  being used by each distiller. Every distiller has their own secret yeast. The third thing is that everyone’s distillation equipment is different. We have 8 different distillation units, and each is very different from each other.  And lastly is the maturation of the spirit in the oak casks.

El Dorado 12yo @ Bastian, Mumbai
El Dorado 12yo @ Bastian, Mumbai

How much rum do you loose to evaporation each year?

We keep the Angels happy. In the first year its on the higher side, around 5% and moving on from there – its about 2 to 3 percent per year. (Editors note – I mention to Komal my visit to Amrut distilleries in Karnataka and the challenges I understand are faced as regards maturing of spirits in tropical climates of India and no doubt, the West Indies). Komal says that in fact Neelkanth Jagdale, the current managing director of Amrut had visited Komal in Georgetown. He says that an experiment was carried out to observe the comparative aging of the same batch of rum in Jamaica vs Scotland and he thinks the ratio is at least 2:1 (one year of spirit being aged in Jamaica is equal to 2 years in Scotland).

As Komal explains, a full bodied pot stilled rum is a sturdy distillate and you can age this for a very long time and it keeps getting better and better. The oldest rum they have done has been a 50 year old. To commemorate Guyana’s 50th year of independence, El Dorado has recently released the El Dorado Grand Special Reserve 50-year Old Rum which is for sale at USD 2500 per bottle. This is part of our efforts to say to consumers that rum is a good and respectable drink, like cognac and single malts.

Is it true that when Lord Nelson died, his body was sent home pickled in Demerara rum?

Komal laughs and says he doesn’t know, but “Nelsons Blood” is indeed a good story (the rum used to pickle his body and which was apparently drunk was given that name!). What is true however is that the British navy used to issue a rum ration to its sailors from 1740 till 1970, a ration known was Grog after the nickname of Admiral Edward Vernon, one of the early British naval officers responsible for the issue of this ration.

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Cocktail Time – From Phool Gully to Mumbai Sour @ Aer, Four Seasons, Mumbai

[vc_column width=”1/1″]Walked into this beautiful & one my favourite bars, the open air lounge, AER located on the 33rd floor of Mumbai’s famous Four Seasons hotel. It was Thursday evening & the occasion was a tasting of AER’s new cocktail menu. The evening was hosted by Ashish Sharma, master mixologist from the award winning Manhattan Bar at Four Seasons Singapore, who was also the creator of some of the cocktails in the new menu.

Ashish Sharma - shaking and stirring at the same time
Ashish Sharma – shaking and stirring at the same time

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]It was a warm evening & hence Ashish served us a refreshing first cocktail called Pineapple King (a Manhattan original), a tropical drink with a Caribbean influence served in a Tiki style copper glass, which resembled a Mule mug. Ashish told us that it is smoked (scented) before serving at Manhattan but we being in an open air bar it was too windy to smoke it & hence he added an  incense (Agarbatti) stick on the side to give it a more Indian spiritual touch.

Pineapple King
Pineapple King

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]The next drink that i ordered was a classic Daiquiri, one of the best Daiquiris I ever had and just perfectly balanced. Classics are not everyone’s cup of tea, but Ashish made it really well. He also insisted on the fact that its always better to use castor or regular grain sugar in a Daiquiri to balance the sweetness rather using simple syrup.

Classic Daiquiri
Classic Daiquiri

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]The 3rd drink served to us was really interesting as it had the complete Mumbaiya touch , named after the famous Phool gully (flower market) in Dadar, Mumbai. The drink had tequila, home made hibiscus syrup & triple sec. It was a twisted version of the Margarita served in a rocks glass garnished with some nice edible flowers of which no one knew the name including our mixologist. Here Ashish insisted that it is always good to use home made syrups in the drinks rather using the flavoured syrups available in the market & he also mentioned that all the bars in the Four Seasons group always use their own house made syrups.

Phool Gully
Phool Gully

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Our fourth drink was a tribute to  The Gateway of India. It was a twisted whisky sour renamed as “Mumbai Sour”. The drink contained Canadian club whisky, mulled wine & egg white. Ashish told us that egg white has  been one of the favourite ingredients of some of the world’s famous bartenders as this is an ingredient which gives consistency, mouth feel & body to a drink . The picture of the Gateway of India which Ashish carved using egg white foam on top of the drink was the real eye catcher. His secret behind the pic was a stencil in the shape of the monument which he did not reveal but I managed to sneak a glimpse from outside the bar while he was making it.

Mumbai Sour
Mumbai Sour

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]The next drink had a peculiar American touch, called “Caramel Julep” influenced by the famous Mint Julep. The drink contained Jack Daniels, salted home made caramel syrup & vermouth infused with some Indian spices (Ashish did not reveal the names of the spices), served in a mini balti (bucket) shaped copper mug, with Cadbury’s Eclairs floated on top as garnish. Ashish said the caramel based drink will taste awesome when you will have the toffee rolling & melting inside your mouth.

Caramel Julep
Caramel Julep

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Ashish wanted to end the evening on a high note & hence the last drink he made for us was the most potent of the evening called “Mad Dog” ( An Irish-American assassin) the drink combined Jameson, Grand Marnier, absinthe, Luxardo maraschino & Peychaud bitters. Being potent in strength Ashish said its best drunk on the rocks (poured little by little over two cubes of ice) & remaining was kept  on the side in a skull shaped flask with a cork stopper to keep the aromas & flavours intact. Ashish shared an interesting trend here that the cocktails which are all about aroma & flavours should never be served at one go, ideally little quantity should be poured in the glass & the remaining should be served on the side in a closed/air tight flask because serving such drinks at one go might cause them to loose their flavours & get diluted fast after coming in contact with the air & ice.

Mad Dog
Mad Dog

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Divyanshu Dwivedi[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Letter from Portugal – Lisbon Cocktail Week & Port – Elisabeth Spinnler

The Lisbon Cocktail Week closed its 1st edition days ago. Ten days with over 50 bars offering special cocktails at special prices. And the city was in a special vibe after 5pm when all of us could try the magic mixes with or without alcohol, lots of them created for the occasion. There were bars, which invited public figures to learn the technique of properly handling the cocktail shaker, attracting the crowds with great music, lots of live performers a little everywhere. The event was inspiring, kind of a novelty in a country that usually chills out with either a beer, some wine or, take a guess…….a glass of Port.

My newsletter is about Port, honoring its distinct and prestigious place it is holding for over 300 years in wine history, not only in Portugal. The unique wine continues to be re-discovered in the new millennium by new and young consumers. The reason is simple: to drink a Port requires no special occasion and no special accompaniment – it just IS PLEASANT ANYTIME! Drink it neat or use it as a main ingredient for cocktails, its opulent flavors and its round and velvety texture gives both classic and modern cocktails enticing aromas, an alluring character and robust body.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]There is a lot of history around Port aside the fact that it consists of being a family with various categories. Let me present them, so you know them when enjoying them. Port is above all classified by color, is either white or red, as are other wines. Red Port is without any doubt the most famous one. Both are higher in alcohol than normal wines, caused by the addition of distilled grape spirits, a kind of brandy, resulting in wines with 19 to 23% of alcohol.

The family of White Ports consists of two very different types of wines. Above all there are the young Whites, sold quite immediately after they have been produced. Young Whites are drunk as an aperitif mainly, served with a slice of lemon and ice, with tonic water or just chilled. The old Whites on the other hand, are the ones that have aged in wood, are much more oxidized and generally drunk after the meal, dessert wines. Both Whites are completely different in style and in their aromas. Whereas the young Whites are inexpensive, the old Whites are rare, prestigious and expensive, competing in their complexity with aged Red Ports, Old Tawnies.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]The family of Red Ports, the overwhelming majority of Ports, is made from red grapes and divided into following sub-categories: Ruby, Reserve Ruby, Tawny, Reserve Tawny, Tawny with an indication of age, Late Bottled Vintage (or LBV Ports) and Vintage Port, the jewel in the crown.

Tay PDT Fine Ruby Port

The Ruby Ports, red wines with the color of the precious stone ‘ruby’, are young wines, kept in very large wooden vats or even stainless steel tanks, that are practically never aired, in order to retain the bright red color and the characteristics of young wine. Ruby Ports are wines that must be drunk young, they are fresh in the mouth and are sold at an average age of three years. Always delightful to drink, they represent excellent value for money. Reserve Ruby Ports is the superior category, more full-bodied and more concentrated than a standard Ruby, they have some of the character of Vintage Ports. Hence, any Reserve Ruby is an excellent choice out of the medium-priced Ports, as they have an overall high quality standard.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Tawny Ports are wines aged in wood. When not accompanied by any other designation, Tawny Ports correspond to standard young wines, are an average of three years old and to be drunk within one or two months once the bottle opened. Reserve Tawny Ports, in difference, are sold when between five and seven years old. They are wines easily drunk, quite fruity, some of them already revealing hints of dried fruit on the nose and therefore pleasant at the end of a meal. These wines neither, they do not improve in the bottle and should not be kept for storage. Tawnies with an indication of age, 10, 20, 30 or more years, have aged in wood through oxidation over the indicated years. The color of 10 Year Old Ports is usually one in transition from red to a golden reddish brown, the latter being the characteristics of oxidized wines. Their market price is generally cheap for the quality of the wines they are. Winemakers have taken great care of them over the years, are masters in the art of blending and at the expertise when identifying the right aromas in the young wines. The date of bottling must be indicated either on the front or back label. Buy the bottle with the most recent date and drink it without too much delay.

Taylor's Fine Tawny and mille-feuille[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Late Bottled Vintage Ports or LBVs, are wines produced in a single year exclusively, are black purple colored and well structured. The purpose of the Late Bottled designation is to point out that these wines are bottled much later than classic Vintage Ports, between the 4th and 6th year after harvest. With this type of wines, producers offer great quality wines in years with no conditions for Vintage Ports. They are full-bodied and frequently tannic. Traditional LBVs are not filtered before bottling, meaning that there will be a deposit over the years and you will need to decant the wine before serving it.

Taylor's 1863 Image

Vintage Port is made when Mother Nature made it all perfect and a set of factors have come together: flowering of the vines occurred without any problems, the fruit set has not been affected neither by frost nor by hail, the grapes ripened over the usual 40 days without suffering any great differences in temperature, there was enough water in the subsoil to feed the vine during the hot summer months, the grapes attained an excellent state of maturation at the time of the harvest and the September rains caused no rot! If all this was the case, the wine producer can choose to declare his wine Vintage.

The classification as Vintage requires bottling of the wine between the 2nd and 3rd year after it is made, more specifically between July 1st of the 2nd year and December 31st of the 3rd year. This lapse of time permits the producer to be sure that the wine will correspond to the superior quality requirements of Vintage wines, the two winters and one summer being the time for observing the evolution of it. This is where his brand’s reputation is at stake! The year the majority of Port producers declare it as being Vintage, the resulting Ports are called Classic Vintage Ports. Usually 10 to 15 years after the harvest, the aromas of Vintage Ports open up with a burst of ripe fruit and a complexity, which is the heart of these unique wines, unequalled worldwide.

There is a 2nd part dedicated to Port to be published in one of the next Newsletters, as the story of Port is complex and interesting. Will also present you the cocktail voted by the jury and the public to be ‘The Best’ at this year’s Lisbon Cocktail Week.

by Nina Spinnler from Portugal

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On the Rocks – Monkeying Around with Dean Callan

I’m with Dean Callan, global brand ambassador for Monkey Shoulder, the blended malt that has taken the world by storm. Dean is in New Delhi for the finals of the Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartending Championship. It’s Dean’s first trip to India, and his anticipation is considerable. So far, whatever he’s seen of the first bar he’s visited, Ek Bar, augurs well he says of the Indian bar scene. Made mellow, as we both are Ek Bar’s Royal Punch, who’s to disagree?

Dean is not a stranger to Asia though, and worked across China for 18 months. As he said it was one of the best growing experiences of my career. The culture was very different and he got to do things, which he didn’t see himself doing. “When you’re part of a fast growing cocktail culture, right at the start, you’re a lot more selfless in teaching people”, says he.

Dean Callan, Global Brand Ambassador, Monkey Shoulder_2

Did you learn Mandarin I asked him?

Dean – The very first lesson I got in Mandarin I asked the translator what she called a bartender and she said “Foo yea” which when you hear it sounds like a very derogatory term. As opposed to “shifu” which is the word Chinese use for a master. A taxi driver for e.g. is “shifu”, which means they know how to do something, but to call someone “foo yea” is like treating them as unskilled labour. I tried to change that and say that a bartender is like a Shifu, he’s like a Master of his craft and the pushback was that a bartender has no skill, anyone can be a bartender. The translator teaching me was so negative, saying that bartenders know nothing, it’s a nothing job and anyone could bartend. I told her the same could apply for her profession as everyone in China knew Mandarin, so even you should be a “foo yea”, and we had a falling out. I then learnt enough to get by though and by the end of my time there, could understand a fair bit.

From China to London then, I ask him?

Dean – It was really good. I was in London for about 8 months and only there a few weeks before I got a job at Milk and Honey (Editor’s Note – an iconic cocktail bar). It’s not an easy place to get a job. Fortunately I had a friend there, who got me an interview. The bar manager asked me to make him a cocktail that I loved which I thought was a good quality cocktail and one which I thought was a bad quality cocktail. I looked around the bar, and said, “I don’t know how to make a bad cocktail with the ingredients that you have. You only have fresh juices, you only have quality spirits and syrups, and bad quality cocktails use terrible ingredients”. So he said, “Ok, what’s the worst cocktail that you can make”?

I told him that I was going to make him a cocktail that has a very bad reputation, but I still think that people like to drink it that was an LIIT. Then I was going to make a Corpse Reviver # 2. And he stopped me before I was going to make it and said, “that’s on our menu”, and I said “yeah”! And he said, “You’ve got some big balls to make a cocktail which is on our menu, with your own spec”. I said no! I made the drink and I thought I wasn’t going to get the job and I got it, so I was quite lucky.

Dean Callan, Global Brand Ambassador, Monkey Shoulder

Was Milk and Honey London connected with Milk and Honey in New York.

Dean – Yes. Jonathan Downey opened Milk and Honey London in association with Sasha Petrovsky. Sasha helped open it, as regards setting up procedures / drinks preparation / etc. It’s changed a little bit since then, however it’s the same ethos and same passion. After Sasha’s death, it’s put a lot of pressure on Milk and Honey London to preserve the ethos of Milk and Honey. The building in New York where Milk and Honey is housed has got a demolition notice, so we may end up being the only one in the world!

I understand that the term Monkey Shoulder derives from a work related injury suffered by the Malt men when they are raking the barley repeatedly, which causes their shoulder to elongate and stoop like a monkey. How did that end up as a brand name though?

Dean – Well I’m going to be completely honest and give you the real story, not the marketing spiel. When William Grant and Sons thought of this brand, they felt that it was a brand, which should be easy to drink, and targeted at people who don’t already drink Scotch whisky. So they started with a flavour profile. Usually in the brand world, the brand and the packaging design come first and the liquid comes second, as marketing drives the process.

Monkey Shoulder (2)

But William Grant and Sons is a family business, and this was a family decision. The family decided that they wanted something, which appealed to people who didn’t drink Scotch whisky that is it, should not be smoky, and should be smooth and rich with simple flavours. So Dave Stewart, the then malt master came up with a few different recipes. In fact, in our marketing store we have some of the original samples of three batches – 19, 27 and 22. These were code names for the various batches. These samples were sent to the family who tasted them all and decided to go to with Batch 27.

The marketing department had to come up with a name now for this amazing blend, and alternatives suggested were Spice hunter, Spey River and William Grant and Sons 100% Malt Blend. None of the names seemed to fit, so they looked at the components of the blend, and at the time there was some Balvenie in there, so they went back to the malt masters of Balvenie and asked them for some inspiration. What were the things, which were unique to Balvenie and one fact, which stood out at the production unit, was the floor malting as Balvenie still does it’s malting the traditional way, and from there the term Malt shoulder or Monkey Shoulder sprung. They decided this was a great opportunity to make the brand unique. Malt shoulder or Monkey Shoulder didn’t sound like any other Scotch whisky and it was very different. It also gave them an opportunity to tell a story on how the whisky was made. And then the whole monkey thing started. Originally the monkeys perched on the shoulder of the bottle were plastic. They also figured that as a brand story, the name Monkey Shoulder give them far more to play with. 3 Monkeys, because there were 3 malts in the original. Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie, all 3 owned by William Grant and Sons.

The brand team assumed they would be able to stick with the exact same whiskies in every blend, which is impossible. We always use only 3 malts from Speyside; we used first fill bourbon casks. Originally we were only doing a batch of 27 casks at a time, but that’s so tiny, so we had to stop doing it.

It’s not always Balvenie, Glenfiddich, and Kininvie now. It has to be 3 malts from Speyside and for one of them a portion has to be turned by hand. The flavour profile of Balvenie is not the same as Monkey Shoulder. So if there’s a cask of Balvenie, which is ageing, and which is very sweet with a lot of Vanilla, this might make up a tiny portion of Balvenie Double Wood, but for Monkey Shoulder this makes up the bulk of the whisky. What matters now is it good quality malt and does it taste like Monkey.

Globally there is a shortage of aged single malt whisky. So is a product like Monkey Shoulder a creative response to this shortage?

At the time Monkey Shoulder was released, Scotch whisky wasn’t so popular. This was 10 years ago and there wasn’t that much shortage then. Also for a company to use massive amounts of younger whisky, they are only hurting themselves down the line. If we only use Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie in Monkey Shoulder, then it’s not good for these 3 brands, because their stock of aged whisky is being diminished. They are building more and more warehouses to age these whiskies. And a lot of older whisky is going back into these brands. The age on the label may say 21, but the whisky inside might be much older. It’s not a huge expense to age the whisky for a longer time, but the quality and value addition you’re getting is outstanding.

Often a 10 pound bottle of whisky can be really good. If you took a bottle of William Grant’s Family reserve and put in it a decanter and said there were only 10 of them, you’d probably have people raving about it. So a lot of this is about perception and marketing. If you like the taste of it, drink it. Trends keep coming and going. It started with colour, then went on to age, then to non-chill filtered, then to cask strength then to finishes and then to single cask! I drink a lot of whisky (shows me a picture of the bar in his back garden). There’s a lot of whisky in my bar and I drink everything.

How did Monkey click with everyone, including the bartenders?

Dean – In my experience, there was a thirst among younger people for a product like this. A lot of Scotch whisky drinkers, are very passionate about their whisky, and got their friends to drink whisky, quite often by starting them off with the whisky they liked, which more often than not, could be smoky or peaty. A sure way to turn them off the category. In larger markets we didn’t have the budgets to take on big brands. What we had was the freedom to be someone’s peer, to be at his or her level. So if someone is drinking a gin and tonic, then we’ll mix them Monkey Shoulder with a squeeze of lime and dry ginger ale, which is a Mamie Taylor. It’s easy to move from a Cuba Libre to a Mamie Taylor and the rum drinker says actually Scotch whisky is not so bad. But if they go from a rum cocktail to neat Islay whisky at cask strength, it’s too much. I think the success has been that we’ve been flexible and we’ve approached people on their own terms, after listening to them. There’s a very old saying in hospitality “treat people the way you want to be treated” – but that’s wrong – “you have to treat people the way they want to be treated”. And that’s what we did with Monkey Shoulder.

What’s your desert Island Drink?

Dean – To be completely honest a Pina Colada.. maybe with Monkey, which would make it a Monkey Colada. Pineapples have lot of sustenance. Sugar for the energy, citrus for the scurvy. I’d use coconut water, which has a lot of potassium. And a little bit of cream for the fat content!

Dean Callan, Global Brand Ambassador, Monkey Shoulder_3

Cocktail Time – Cocktail Science – Part 2

[vc_column width=”1/1″]Hello everyone, my name is Himanshu Desai working as a Senior Bartender at Rogue Trader, Dubai and through this write up I’m going to share a few techniques or make some suggestions for creating perfectly balanced cocktails. No I don’t call myself a “cocktail guru” or an expert but I would like to share some of the very interesting facts and techniques I’ve learned over the years behind the bar. Well I believe you’re reading this because you’re already an accomplished person working behind the bar or a person who would like to start mixing drinks. Either way these tips would surely help you to construct your drinks in the best way possible.

Shaking

Cocktail shaking is a violent activity which is fun for bartenders as well as guests who are watching it. Shaking usually chills, dilutes and aerates a drink in say about 12-15 seconds, after that the drink stops changing radically and reaches the required equilibrium. Shaking for longer won’t hurt of course. Well everywhere we go, bartenders have different styles of shaking. Some even look like they are dancing while doing so which is completely normal as long as you look confident and appear to be enjoying doing it. So yes your shaking style will not affect the temperature or dilution of your drink. Key is to use enough ice as using less ice results in poor chilling and greater dilution.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Stirring

Stirring seems and sounds so easy when it comes to cocktails. Isn’t it? But merely spinning the spoon definitely won’t get you what you are trying or planning to achieve. With little bit of practice, you can master the art of stirring cocktails. Ok! So next and the most important thing is to understand when to stir and when to shake your cocktails and to ask yourself a question that what exactly you’re planning to achieve. Stirring definitely helps to maintain the clarity and the flavor of distilled spirit. You must stir when it comes to cocktails like Manhattan, Rob Roy, Martinez and of course an Old-Fashioned. A shaken Old-Fashioned? OMG! I’m sure that you don’t even want to imagine that. Stirring also gives you the better control over dilution and doesn’t aerate your drink especially when it comes to above mentioned cocktails. And now I believe it’s not very difficult to understand why I would not shake those cocktails.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Shaking VS Stirring

The major difference between shaking and stirring is texture of the finished cocktail. Shaking and mixing are two intends to the same end. Which is to reduce the temperature of a drink and to dilute the ingredients. Though the purpose is same, the final cocktail would definitely be different. Water plays an essential role in any cocktail. And when you make a cocktail, you introduce water into the drink by using either of these two techniques. I mean of course there are other methods as well like “Throwing or Rolling” your cocktails but to be honest I’m not really a fan of that so let’s concentrate on stirring and shaking. As ice starts to melt in the drink, as per the very basic nature of physics, it chills your drink. So there’s no chilling without dilution.

Both stirring and shaking have the same purpose, still they aren’t identical. Compared to shaking, stirring is a delicate process that slowly chill down the drink but you surely have a better control over dilution. But the common mistakes people usually make are to stir your drink too little or to stir your drink way too much which affects the final character of the drink a lot. Take for example an Old-Fashioned, it’s just whiskey, sugar and bitters. But ask yourself how many bars around you can perfectly balance it? So it’s essential to know the perfect balance.

Shaking at other hand is much more violent activity than stirring. But it cools down the drink so much faster. According to “James McGovern, Head Bartender at Rogue trader, Dubai, 10 seconds of shaking is equal to a minute of stirring. With 20ml water dilution while shaking and 30ml water dilution while stirring.”

So now the question is “Why not to shake all the cocktails and save time?” because shaking actually aerates the drink creating small bubbles that change the overall experience how the drink settles on the tongue. The bubbles will settle down to the surface and disappear, but definitely not before the drink has warmed up too much which won’t taste the way it is supposed to.

So when to Shake and when to stir? There’s no rocket science involved of course.

  • Shake your drink which includes Citrus, Syrups or an Egg-White
  • Stir when you have only spirit based ingredients. Like an Old-Fashioned, Manhattan, Rob Roy or a classic Gin martini.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Wet Ice Vs Dry Ice (Ice straight out from the freezer)

Ice is like cold batteries. You need to provide drainage for them the moment you remove them from the freezer. Because if they sit in their own water, they will lose coldness and size of course.

Ice taken straight out from the freezer has a dry surface and will stick to your fingers when touched as ice freezes the moisture on your skin. Ice will get wet if sat in the Ice-well for about 20-30 minutes and will start melting and loses its size and would dilute your drinks quickly. So it’s obvious that the ice out straight from the freezer would dilute your drink slower while shaking or stirring. That thin layer of water on surface of each ice, would add up extra water going in your drink because eventually it’s going to melt quicker.

Well! I agree to the fact that no matter what, we just cannot keep taking ice directly from the freezer every time you want to make a drink. But what I suggest here is

  • Fill up your Ice-Well completely as by doing this, ice will melt much slower than that half way filled Ice-Well.
  • If possible, replace the ice after every hour.
  • While shaking your cocktail, make sure to use a smaller tin to mix all the ingredients in, and a larger tin full of ice and to drain out the water inside by a strainer and then seal the shaker.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Reverse Dry Shaking

Dry shaking is a very common technique used when an egg-white is added in the drink. So to start off with, you shake all the ingredients without adding any ice, and afterwards you add the ice and shake again. So basically dry shake helps to emulsify the proteins present in an egg-white and it will aerate the cocktail and give you a very nice foamy texture which looks so beautiful and cocktail becomes smooth on your palate.

So What’s reverse dry shake then?

I’m not really sure where and when it was originated (Editors Note – Tristan Stephenson AKA the “Curious Bartender” came up with the reverse dry shake… – info courtesy Ulric Nijs) . I do remember that couple of years back when my friend told me about it, my reaction was weird to be honest. I asked him why would you do that? He just replied “Because it gives you much better foam and texture.” I was like alright! Let’s try it. But I definitely had to find out the actual logic behind that. And then when I found out, I realized that all of us were doing it completely wrong way all these years.

Reverse Dry Shake
Reverse Dry Shake – Pic Courtesy Tales of the Cocktail

So the reverse dry shake is the same technique but done other way where you shake all the ingredients with ice first and then dry shake.

So basically ice has an habit of knocking out air from the foam so it definitely makes more sense to dry shake afterwards. By doing this, it would surely gives you the much better foam and the texture that doesn’t even need double straining. Try it folks!

By Himanshu Desai[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Dregs – Year of the Monkey

 [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Year of the Monkey

As per the Chinese calendar, 2016 is the year of the Monkey. What better time to profile 3 unique beverages which pay tribute to the monkey.

Monkey 47

Montgomery Collins is the man to whom we owe Monkey 47, which is a Schwarzwald Dry Gin. combining as their website says, “British traditions, exotic India and the purity of the Black Forest”. The latter is where Monkey 47 came to life with 47 referring the total number of handpicked ingredients used for Monkey 47, with 1/3rd of these coming from Germany’s Black Forest. The use of cranberries as a unique flavour signifier stands out for Monkey 47. It comes in a beautiful amber coloured bottle with a stopper on the top.

According to tradition, the “Zum Wilden Affen [The Wild Monkey]” country guest house where everything began was then to be referred to by the locals simply as “House 47”. Montgomery Collins, a former Wing Commander in the British Air Force, while in Berlin, directly after World War 2, sponsored an egret monkey named Max at the Berlin Zoo, which was then being rebuilt. He then went on to name the guest house he set up after Max.

True to his English roots, Monty Collins began to develop his own recipe for a Gin, taking advantage of a new set of botanicals and ingredients provided by the Black Forest. This recipe might have been lost for ever, if not for a turn of the century discovery, during the renovation of his guest house, of a bottle of gin and a notebook with it’s recipe, and details of the plant ingredients Monty had used. Quite a story! Could almost be out of Ripley’s Believe it or not if you ask me! I for one, am going to try to get my hands on a bottle as soon as I can.

Monkey 47
Monkey 47

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Monkey Shoulder

A Triple Malt which has caught the fancy of bartenders and consumers, the world over, it routinely wins awards for being the world’s most fashionable spirit. Back then when Dave Stewart, the Malt master at William Grant and Sons was deciding the blend, the marketing pundits were still at a loss for what to call it when they decided to seek inspiration from the distillery team at The Balvenie.

Monkey Shoulder
Monkey Shoulder

Monkey Shoulder was originally made as a blend of 3 malts from Speyside – The Balvenie, Kininvie and Glenfiddich. It continues to be made from a blend of 3 Malts from the Speyside, although the choice of Malts may vary from year to year.

Balvenie continues to be one of the few single malts, who have their own malting floor, where traditional floor malting is carried out, that is malt men, with the help of long rakes turning over the barley.

Coming back to the story, when the marketing team was seeking inspiration from the Balvenie team, they were told about the floor malting and also about a common RSI (repetitive stress injury) known as Malt shoulder or Monkey shoulder, which the malt men could get, so named as one shoulder would droop down, very much like a monkey’s. And so the name was given, as a tribute to the Malt Men of Balvenie, who keep a tradition going.

The Monkey Shoulder bottle also has Batch 27 written on it, which refers to the Batch # which won the approval of the Grant family, and the 3 monkeys on the bottle refer to it being a blend of 3 malts.

Monkey Shoulder was conceptualised as a scotch whisky for someone who doesn’t drink whisky, and the smoothness of the blend is true to the vision of the brand. Dean Callan, the global brand ambassador for Monkey Shoulder was in India recently and he mixed us up a Mamie Taylor, a drink as delicious as it sounds.

Dean Callan making a Mamie Taylor
Dean Callan making a Mamie Taylor

Watch Dean make the Mamie Taylor here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Bira 91

From the Black Forest to Scotland, and then to Belgium via India.., “Imagined in India”, is how Bira 91 is positioned. And for a beer who believes in “letting the crazy ones in”, what better iconography to use than a monkey 🙂 After all even though Bira 91, which has emerged as India’s hottest selling beer, is brewed in Belgium, it still has a lot of India going for it, starting with the monkey, and going on to the name, with Bira drawing parallels with the Punjabi word for elder brother, and the number 91 standing in for India’s country code.

Bira 91
Bira 91

Bira 91 comes in two forms, White (Wheat) and Blonde (A Craft lager). It’s available in the bottle, and for those lucky enough to serve (and stock!) it, on tap. Conceptualised by an Indian team, including Ankur Jain, the Mr Beer of Cerana, we also shortly expect Bira to be brewed in India, at which point, it’s availability should improve many fold.

Ankur Jain of Cerana
Ankur Jain of Cerana

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]By Vikram Achanta[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Born in India – IPA, Tonic and Punch

[vc_column width=”1/1″]Tonic Water

On a visit to the Berlin Bar Convent last October, one of the more pleasing trends I witnessed was the amazing range of Tonic waters available, from the UK’s Fever Tree (and their Fever Tree Truck), to the old faithful Schweppes to Thomas Henry from Germany to the spanking new Double Dutch, from you guessed it, The Netherlands. There’s  a brilliant range of flavoured tonic waters now available, world over and a vodka tonic or a Gin and Tonic has never tasted like this before.

Fever Tree
Fever Tree

The bark of the cinchona tree yields quinine, which is used in the treatment of malaria. And in the 19th century, British officers and soldiers needed a lot of this to ward off malaria. To make their daily dose more pleasurable, they combined the quinine with gin, water, sugar and lime, which was a predecessor to the modern gin and tonic. After this sweetened quinine water was introduced and then towards the end of the 19th century, carbonated tonic water was introduced.

Tonic water is now one of the most popular soft drinks in the world, with people who find traditional soft drinks too sweet, preferring the bitterness of tonic.

Also, as brands of gin have become more diverse with the addition of exotic botanicals, to add unique flavouring elements to gins such as Hendrick’s (rose petal, cardamom) and Bulldog (dragon eye), so has it been with tonic water as brands such as Fever Tree have pushed the envelope to emerge as brands of premium tonic, flavoured in some cases with Mediterranean herbs or elderflower.

Bulldog Gin and it's botanicals
Bulldog Gin and it’s botanicals

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Punch

The first known reference to Planter’s Punch was in the 8 August 1908 edition of the New York Times, as a poem: “This recipe I give to thee / Dear brother in the heat / Take two of sour (lime let it be) / To one and a half of sweet, / Of Old Jamaica pour three strong, / And add four parts of weak. / Then mix and drink. I do no wrong — / I know whereof I speak”.

A drink which is believed to have made it’s presence felt in 1670, and indeed as per David Wondrich’s excellent book, Imbibe, “it ruled the kingdom of mixed drinks, till 1850”, in what was as Wondrich describes, the “archaic age of mixology”.

The word Punch links back to the Hindi word, Panch, as it’s believed, that the original recipe for Punch, had guess what, 5 ingredients (spirit, sugar, lemon, water and tea or spice).

Over the past 10 to 15 years, there has been a revival in vintage and craft cocktails, and most of the cocktail “families” or styles of yesteryear, have seen a revival, and Punches too have gained from this trend.

The Royal Indian Punch @ Ek Bar, New Delhi
The Royal Indian Punch @ Ek Bar, New Delhi

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Reedo’s Retro Punch

Beefeater Gin 200 ml
Lemon Sherbet
Lemon juice 60 ml
Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur 30 ml
Pomegranate Juice 50 ml
Sparkling Wine To top up
Ice

Prepare the lemon sherbet by muddling 6-8 Lemon peels & 50gms sugar together in a punch bowl. Now add the rest of the ingredients and stir with ice.

Serves 4-5. Serve in teacups.

Recipe Courtesy Ben Reed, a London based cocktail trainer and writer, who visited India recently.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]IPA

In 18th century India, the British garrisons in India were under a different kind of threat, morale was plummeting and illness was high.  There was no beer and the troops were reduced to visiting the native parts of town and drinking illicitly distilled spirits.

In the 18th century, brewers in England in the historic towns of Burton on Ale, came up with a remarkable discovery. They brewed beer with higher gravities and a higher hops content (Hops are plants, which are members of the Cannabis family and are used to add aroma and flavour to beer and in the case of IPA to protect the beer from infection). This beer was known as the India Pale Ale and was specifically meant to meet the needs of the British garrison in India.

The higher gravities enabled the beer to slowly ferment on their long voyage via the Cape of Good Hope. Ale was till then the predominant style of beer, with lager (what we are more used to in India) only emerging later. The voyage of the IPA @ 18,000 miles was one of the longest sea voyages, crossing the equator and with temperature variations of 30 degrees Celsius. The IPA when it arrived in India came unspoilt and as you can imagine was greeted with much rapture.

A 1 IPA - Gateway Brewing Company, Mumbai
A 1 IPA – Gateway Brewing Company, Mumbai

Who knows how history may have turned out if IPA hadn’t been discovered, the British may have left India voluntarily before 1947, rather than forgo fresh beer![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

On the Rocks – “The Ingrid Bergman of Whisky”

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Mortlach 75
Mortlach 75

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]A bottle of the World’s oldest single Malt, with a recommended retail price of GBP 20,000 was recently sold to a private buyer of Indian origin. The sale was facilitated by Mumbai based, The Vault, an importer of fine spirits. With only 100 decanters available of this whisky (bottled at cask strength of 44.4% ABV) a sale of even one, is a red letter event.

In 1939, John Urquhart, the first generation of the family to be involved in Gordon and MacPhail, filled a first-fill sherry cask (a cask only previously used before for Sherry, and still untouched by Scotch whisky) with new make spirit from the Mortlach distillery, located in the heart of Speyside.

Mortlach was the first distillery to be licensed in Dufftown, an important centre of distilling, giving rise to the adage: `Rome was built on seven hills, but Dufftown stands on seven stills’.

75 years later, the cask was emptied and the whisky was transferred into crystal decanters. Stephen Rankin, great grandson of John Urquhart introduced the special whisky saying: “We’ve been anticipating this moment for a long time. Having been nurtured and cared for by four generations of our family it gives us great pleasure to release this unique and incredibly rare single malt.” He was joined in the unveiling by Whisky Guru Charles Maclean and Scottish author, Alexander McCall Smith.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]

Mortlach
Mortlach

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Members of the third and fourth generation of the Urquhart family poured the single malt for the assembled guests before Charles MacLean invited everyone to join him in tasting the whisky, describing it as “Smooth and highly sophisticated – elegant as a grande dame…the Ingrid Bergman of malts!

Generations Mortlach 75 Years Old by Gordon & MacPhail is presented in a teardrop-shaped Generations decanter. Each decanter is uniquely numbered and handcrafted with 75 multi-level “cuts”; each cut representing a year of the whisky’s maturation. The decanter sits on a white presentation plinth with two specially designed crystal glasses.

Said Keshav Prakash, founder of The Vault, “It’s our pleasure to be able to curate this experience for a private client. It’s not often that one comes across such an old and exclusive Single Malt of such pedigree.”

Interested? Visit www.gordonandmacphail.com/generations[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Cocktail Time – Holi Cocktails and Shots

The menu  is designed keeping in mind that Holi festival is full of colors and sweets and craziness.

Mithai Pista

Ingredients

Vodka   60 ml
Cream  30 ml
Vanilla Ice Cream 1 scoop
Monin Pistachio Syrup 20 ml
Fig 1 piece

Preparation

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend with ice. Pour the drink in a pilsner glass and garnish with some shaved pistachio.

Gulab Thandai

Ingredients

Tequila 45 ml
Monin Rose Syrup 20 ml
Chopped Almonds 1 spoon
Garam masala (a pinch)
Honey      Half spoon
Milk     30 ml

Preparation

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend with ice. Pour the drink in an old fashioned glass and garnish with some almond flakes.

Mango Mania

Ingredients

Indian Whisky   45 ml
Ripped Mango  10 dices
Sugar granules  2 spoons
Curd    40 ml
Mint Leaves 6

Preparation

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend with ice. Pour the drink in cutting chai glass and garnish with some mint sprigs.

Paan Rabari – Serves 3 – Shot

Ingredients

Vodka   60 ml
Rabari  2 bar spoon
Betel Leaves 1
Sugar Syrup 10 ml
Gulkand  Half Bar Spoon

Preparation

Add all the ingredients in a shaker and shake with ice. Then strain the drink into a shot glass.

Desi Girl – Serves 3 – Shot

Ingredients

Vodka 60 ml
Monin Passion fruit syrup 20 ml
Lime juice 5 ml
Tabasco Sauce   4 drops

Preparation

Add all the ingredients in a shaker and shake with ice. Then strain the drink into a shot glass.

Liquid Kesari – Serves 3 – Shot

Ingredients

White Rum   60 ml
Kesar Syrup  15 ml
Lime juice   5 ml
Cranberry juice  10 ml

Preparation

Add all the ingredients in a shaker and shake with ice. Then strain the drink into a shot glass.

Himanshu Desai

Himanshu Desai
Himanshu Desai

I’m Himanshu Desai from Pune, India. Currently working at Rogue Trader, Dubai as a senior Bartender. Previously I’ve worked with JW Marriott Pune, Fairmont the palm and Junoon by vikas khanna @ Shangri La Dubai.

Passion is all I have which keeps me going. I believe great thing about being a bartender is, everyday is a learning day and no matter how much you learn, it’s never enough. And that keeps me motivated all the times. We are not saving lives, but whilst making great drinks, respecting the history of cocktails, inspiring each other and really looking after our GUESTS, what we have is a real gift. Bartenders are the key to success of any Lounge, Club or Restaurant. As a Bartender, you can make or break a business. in short, if you’re successful, the business will be successful. Proud owner @ www.Essenceofbartending.com

Cocktail Time: Cocktail Science Part 1 by Himanshu Desai

[vc_column width=”1/1″]Hello everyone, my name is Himanshu Desai working as a Senior Bartender at Rogue Trader, Dubai and through this write up I’m going to share a few techniques or make some suggestions for creating perfectly balanced cocktails. No I don’t call myself a “cocktail guru” or an expert but I would like to share some of the very interesting facts and techniques I’ve learned over the years behind the bar. Well I believe you’re reading this because you’re already an accomplished person working behind the bar or a person who would like to start mixing drinks. Either way these tips would surely help you to construct your drinks in the best way possible.

Well it all depends on how passionate a Bartender you are. Today every city has lots of bars offering variety of cocktails and I believe it’s very important for you all to stand-out from the crowd, be unique and make a distinguished drink. Isn’t it? Bartenders obviously play the biggest role in making any bar popular or successful. Yes, the place, atmosphere, menu, brand will get people to your restaurant, lounge or club. But the real question is ‘What will make them visit your place again?’ Well there are many things but let me just focus from the bar perspective. It’s YOU, It’s how well you mix your drinks, how you treat your guests and ways in which you present your recipes to them, which requires the right technique and a good balance. So please allow me to share few of the Cocktail making tips and lessons. Attention![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Stainless steel or Metal Vs Glass Boston tin

Metal reaches a lower final temperature than glass. This is because glass absorbs more heat. Metal takes minimal energy to reach desired temperature comparably, having a better effect on the temperature of the finished cocktail. And while using a glass tin there is also a possibility of breaking or chipping. I’m sure all of you who have used a glass tin, must have faced this issue several times in your bar. The same can be avoided using a stainless steel or metal tin. So I personally prefer to have a stainless steel shaker tin.

Mixing Tins
Mixing Tins

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Kill a Spill!

Many of us construct our cocktail in the smaller tin of a 2-piece shaker and also add ice into the smaller tin. This habit limits the amount of ice going into the shaker and less amount of ice cubes are most definitely going to affect the drink as ice cubes are going to break into very small pieces and dilute your cocktail even more. It would also affect the temperature of the drink. I used to make the same mistake earlier until I learned this small technique that can assist in making your cocktail so much better.

So the technique is to fill up the larger tin with ice cubes. First combine the ingredients in the smaller tin and then add ice into the larger tin. Now if you use one quick and smooth motion, you can easily bring the larger tin filled with ice down on the smaller tin without spilling or splashing your drink. However, if you think you’re not comfortable in doing so, pour the contents of the smaller tin into the larger ice-filled tin right before sealing it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Opening your Shaker

Now this seems to be a very basic thing and you might wonder why does he have to write about it? Well the answer is, it’s not cool to bang the 2-piece shaker on the bar to open it or appear to be struggling to open your shaker in front of your guests and when witnessed, looks amateurish.

It’s happened with all of us at some point of time! This can be avoided by breaking the seal by pushing the smaller tin diagonally with your hand. Conclusion is doesn’t matter how you break the seal; make sure you do it confidently especially when there are guests at your bar.

Himanshu Desai[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Q&A – Bulldog Gin – With Anshuman Vohra

Tulleeho Does your Campari deal include India as a market where they have distribution rights? If yes, are we likely to see Bulldog in India in the near future? If not, are you still planning to enter the Indian market?

 Anshuman I am very eager to launch BULLDOG in India and it means a lot for me to have the product available in my home country. We are aiming to launch in both India domestic market and duty free in Q1 2016. And yes, Campari will be handling our affairs in India as well.

Anshuman Vohra - Founder of Bulldog Gin
Anshuman Vohra – Founder of Bulldog Gin

Tulleeho Your Asian influences are more from China than from India, (apart from Cassia). Did you consider any uniquely Indian botanicals during your exploratory processes? 

Anshuman The botanicals in BULLDOG were inspired by my early travels as the son of a career diplomat. I started out exploring 48 different botanicals (including some from India) but after working with our master distiller, ended with an exotic blend of 12 botanicals from eight countries, creating a smooth, harmonious, citrus forward flavor unique to BULLDOG. Given that I’m 100% Indian, I figured that was enough 😉

Bulldog amongst it's botanicals
Bulldog amongst it’s botanicals

Tulleeho We commonly associate Sir Winston with Champagne, more than gin. Any clue if he was a gin drinker? What brand he drank? In what mixed form do you see him enjoying Bulldog? 

Anshuman Our namesake is drawn from my childhood hero: Sir Winston Churchill – the original “British Bulldog” and the “Bulldog spirit” he embodied – who happens to be as defiant, confident and rebellious as they come. I’d say Sir Winston Churchill would drink BULLDOG on the rocks with an orange zest.   BULLDOG Gin captures the bold confidence and relentless spirit embodied by Sir Winston Churchill, and there is nothing more bold and confident than ordering a BULLDOG on the rocks. He definitely drank gin (and virtually everything that contains alcohol!)

To quote Sir Winston himself,

“The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire.”

Tulleeho Your bottle design is quite unique and beautiful. Who designed it? Could you shed some light on what the design inspirations were for the bottle shape? Any other unique features regarding the bottle / label? 

Anshuman The bottle was designed by Agent 16 in NYC.  They are no longer around. The #1 priority was that the bottle/copy/packaging had to be super-premium, stylish, modern and iconic – to reflect the brand image. I wanted a bottle that was very distinctive to all the other premium gins and wanted to stay as far away from the traditional, old school, Queen Victoria image that the other brands seem to play so much. I originally contemplated a transparent bottle but noticed that it got lost on the bar shelf.  So, I used a deep charcoal black color with deep purple hues (my favorite color) and we chose to silk screen rather than apply a label to maintain the premium image.

Imagen 017There was also no question that the bottle needed to be as distinctive as the liquid. I wanted an iconic bottle that would catch the eye of every consumer at the bar.

Tulleeho On a visit to St. George Spirits in 2013, I picked up a bottle of their Dry Rye Gin, and am a massive fan of the same, especially when mixed with tonic. Did you consider Rye as a base for your Gin? 

Anshuman My number one goal was to produce a product and liquid that would defy the gin category by making it more smooth and mixable. In order to attract the vodka consumers of the world, rye was never a consideration for BULLDOG. I am sure it is quite interesting, though!  I prefer wheat personally 🙂

Tulleeho Could you confirm that Bulldog is the fastest growing premium gin in the world (for brands selling more than 50,000 cases)

Anshuman Between 2009 & 2013, BULLDOG has shown an annual growth rate of 165%; the highest rate for any gin above 25,000 9L case volume in that span as reported by IWSR. Our rate is probably around 40% in 2015/2016 and we’re well north of 100k cases, so yes, we are the fastest growing in (premium and standard) in the world

Tulleeho I’m quite fascinated by the story of how Martin Miller Gin comes into being. I also recently came across Seven Fathoms Rum, which ages their barrels underwater. The latter two no doubt make for great marketing stories, but do you think these are gimmicks or do process innovations help contribute to significantly different tasting products? 

Anshuman Each product has its own unique processes that add to its character. With such a saturated spirits market, brands are constantly innovating to stand out amongst competitors.   I’m not too familiar with the products above and their stories, but I always support entrepreneurs who take the leap and create products

Tulleeho Any more products in the pipeline? Would you consider straying outside of Gin or only focusing on Gin? 

Anshuman It is such an exciting time for gin right now. The gin wave is in full force in Europe and starting to hit South America, MEA, and Asia-Pac. I won’t focus on anything else until BULLDOG is on every single back bar in the world!  “One brand, one dream!”

bulldog_gin_012

Tulleeho What’s your desert island drink?

Anshuman When I am not drinking BULLDOG & Tonic, my go to drink is coconut water. I like maintaining a balanced lifestyle and drinking fresh pressed juices.

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From Cashew Apple to Bottle – Cazulo Feni – Hansel Vaz

[vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_images_carousel images=”9463,9464,9465″ onclick=”link_image” custom_links_target=”_self” mode=”horizontal” speed=”5000″ slides_per_view=”1″ title=”Cashew Apple Varieties” partial_view=”yes” autoplay=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_images_carousel images=”9467,9468,9469″ onclick=”link_image” custom_links_target=”_self” mode=”horizontal” speed=”5000″ slides_per_view=”1″ title=”Collecting the Cashew” autoplay=”yes” partial_view=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_images_carousel images=”9470,9471,9472,9473″ onclick=”link_image” custom_links_target=”_self” mode=”horizontal” speed=”5000″ slides_per_view=”1″ title=”Preparing the Cashew Apple” autoplay=”yes” partial_view=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_images_carousel images=”9477,9478,9479,9480″ onclick=”link_image” custom_links_target=”_self” mode=”horizontal” speed=”5000″ slides_per_view=”1″ title=”Distillation” autoplay=”yes” partial_view=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”9481″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” title=”The proof of the Cashew!”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

On the Rocks – Glenfiddich – 5 things you didn’t know

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What’s in a Name?

In Gaelic, “Fiddich” means deer and “Glen” means valley. Fiddich is also the name of a nearby river. So Glenfiddich literally means Valley of the Deer / Valley of the River Fiddich.

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The Power of 3

Glenfiddich’s iconic triangular shaped bottle was designed in 1961 by influential 20th century designer Hans Schleger. Why triangular? Well, water, air and malted barley are a trinity expertly crafted together to make Glenfiddich.

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55 Years for India

In 2011, Glenfiddich sold the Janet Sheed Roberts limited edition (55yo) which was then the most expensive single malt sold at auction. Janet was at that time 110, and Scotland’s oldest woman as well as the last surviving grandchild of William Grant.

Although the cask yielded 15 bottles, only 11 bottles were released worldwide. The remainder 4 were kept by the family. Each of the 11 are auctioned for charity. Bottle no. 7 is still up for sale at Edinburgh and the money from that will go to a charity for making school and home for physically challenged children in Ramnagar, India. The last bottle was sold for around INR 57 lacs.

GF Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve - Bottle_large[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]

Robbie Dhu

The snow from the Conval Hills melt into the Robbie Dhu, which is the water source of Glenfiddich. Glenfiddich is one of the only Single Malts which uses the same source of water throughout the production process.

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Solera

David Stewart, only the 5th ever Malt Master for Glenfiddich used the Solera process, traditionally used to make Sherry, to create the Glenfiddich 15 yo. The giant Solera vats are kept half full from every batch for consistency.

Glenfiddich 15 year old beauty shots_large[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Rum Diary – Seven Fathoms Rum

The quest for differentiation takes brand owners to new heights, and even sometimes, to new depths. Seven Fathoms Deep to be exact, as at certain spots in the Caribbean, that’s where you’ll find oak barrels tethered to the ocean floor filled with rum. “Which is the pirate’s favourite letter”? asks Nelson Walker, the co-founder of Seven Fathoms Rum, as he flags of a tasting session I’m attending at the 5th German Rum Fest in Berlin.

IMG_5148
Nelson Walker

The pirate’s favourite letter in case you’re still guessing is “C” (get it!). It struck Walker and Nelson, the co-founders of Seven Fathoms, that back in the days, rum used to be transported by sea, and sure enough used to be below decks, and the casks were in a constant state of agitation, with the rum constantly moving around in the barrel, which played a role in developing the character of the liquid. To mimic the same, they began experimenting with aging casks underwater, until a passing diver found out what they were upto, and took a cask back up to the surface. With their secret out, they began their venture in earnest, tethering their casks to the ocean floor, with the barrel agitation by the ocean, helping ensure says Nelson, that 1-3 years underwater is the same as 5 to 7 years on land.

rum_sev3IMG_1752He is also experimenting with aging casks at greater depths, and friendly oceanic research vessels (no doubt paid in rum!) are dropping casks to as low as 20 fathoms. A diving helmet is the big, bold logo you’ll see on the bottles, and whether the underwater aging is a marketing gimmick or not, I don’t know, but the rum tastes delicious. I ask Nelson, what the equivalents of the Angels share is underwater, “It’s ~4% a year” he says. “Lets call it the Mermaid’s Share” (in Scotch whisky, the term used is Angels share).

Cocktail Time – Halloween Cocktails Special

Halloween may be over, but that’s no reason to not be very very scared. These cocktails will help (or hurt).

Vampire Kiss

This emerald-hued cocktail is as stunning on the eye as it is on the palate. If you have white (clear-coloured) crème de menthe instead of the green version, add a drop or two of green food colouring to the mix.

Ingredients

Vodka 60  ml
Raspberry Puree 20  ml
Cranberry Juice 30 ml
Chocolate sticks to garnish

Preparation

Take a shaker full of ice and add the ingredients. Stir well and double strain into a chilled martini glass. Decorate with the chocolate sticks and serve.

Bloody Vampire

Ingredients

Vodka 45 ml
Lime juice 10  ml
Sea salt – A pinch
Ginger Juice 5 ml
Mustard sauce – Half bar Spoon
BBQ Sauce – 5 ml
Horse radish sauce – 5 ml
Tomato Juice – 90 ml
Crushed Pepper – Pinch

Preparation

Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled pilsner glass. The glass can be rimmed with a mix of pepper, chilli flakes, sea salt and ginger powder. Can garnish with a fried chicken drumstick (optional!).

Dragulla

Ingredients

Kahlua 30 ml
Cognac (VS) 15 ml
Triple Sec 15 ml
Lime Juice 10 ml
Simple Syrup 10 ml
Blood Orange Wedge To Garnish

Preparation

Shake all the ingredients together and strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a Blood(y) Orange Wedge.

Mocktail Week

Must Have It

Must Have ItCreated by Tulleeho for Barbeque Nation

Ingredients

  • Mustard – 1 bar spoon
  • Litchi juice – 150ml
  • Monin Caramel – 25ml
  • Lime juice – 20ml
  • Garnish – Mint sprig

Preparation

Add all ingredients in a shaker with ice and fine strain in an ice filled rocks / old fashioned glass.

Khus Smoothie

Created by Tulleeho for Dana Choga Kitchens

  • Khus syrup – 60 ml
  • Plain yoghurt – 60ml
  • Water – 60 ml
  • Cracked ice

Preparation

Blend all ingredients with ice until smooth.

Jasmine Orange Tea

Created by Tulleeho for Real Juices

Ingredients

  • Jasmine Tea – 1 tsp
  • Orange Peel – 1 no.
  • Real Orange Juice – 150 ml
  • Jasmine Flower – 1 no.

Preparation

Infuse jasmine tea with hot water and let it brew for 3 minutes (60 ml water) then add orange zest into brew and bruise it nicely to get oil of orange zest, add ice into glass and top it up with orange juice. Garnish with a jasmine flower on rim.

 

Beervana – Drinking in Bamberg

[vc_column width=”1/1″]If you see someone walking around with a  beatific smile on their face in Bamberg, it’s not because they’ve just to the Bamberg Cathedral, but they’re most probably on their 2nd or maybe even 3rd or 4th glass of Schlenkerla, the Rauchbier (smoked beer), which has drawn me straight to Bamberg, forsaking a tiny little beer festival in the Munich, called Oktoberfest. “Purpose of Visit”, asked the Passport officer at a crowded Munich airport, “Tourism I said, I’m going to Bamberg to drink the Schlenkerla”, and he broke into a laugh, “It’s dangerous he said, but you can’t drink just one, at least 2 or 3”, before going on to verify my return ticket and my hotel booking. Careful, these Germans. Not swayed by talk of beer into neglecting due diligence (did someone just say Volkswagen 🙂


Bamberg escaped too much damage to it during the Allied bombing raids in the 2nd World War, a factor which has led to the entire city being declared a World Heritage site, and a prettier little city, you’d be hard pressed to find. Not one, but two water bodies pass through it, the river Regnitz, and a canal of the Danube. It’s historical points of interest are many, from the aforementioned Dom (cathedral), to the Alt Rathaus (Old Council House), which straddles the Regnitz, with 2 gates lending a picturesque touch to the bridges crossing it. And the former Benedictine abbey of Michaelsberg which dominates the horizon. An early morning jog in the crisp October air, helps clear the head a bit from the beer drunk last night. The townhouses kissing the river are a marvellous sight, and windows are filled with flower pots in full bloom. A town which knows its reputation, and is proud of it. (they even have t-shirts in the local souveneir shop saying, I’m not a tourist, I live here”).

 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]The Schlenkerla brewpub is located in a townhouse, with flower pots studding the balconies. A more unlikely looking temple to beer, I haven’t seen. As a solo traveler, it appears to be futile to find a table, as I walk through the many different rooms within, all full. The thronging street outside however has the over flow with a number of people hanging around the entrance with mugs in their hand, taking advantage of the still balmy climate. The modus operandi of getting a glass is simple. On the ground floor is a hole in the wall, behind which is a man and a keg, who serves the tables as well as those less fortunate. Euro 4.70, gets you a half litre glass of jet black beer, topped with a foaming head (out of which Euro 2 is the deposit for the glass).

I wish I could have bottled the smell of the beer. It was a unique, smokey flavour, which Ashish Jasuja told me, reminded him of bacon! It was strong and worthy of the caution which the passport officer had advised me of. I could feel the beer going to my head. I sip it gently, and then head out for another walk to clear my head, I then duck back into Schlenkerla’s neighbour, a brew house called Ambrausianum, and scan their menu. I notice then, that even they serve Schlenkerla’s beer. If you can’t beat em, join em! I order their Dunkel (dark) beer, and was soon the proud possessor of another half litre glass of excellent beer.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Next I clock into my hotel (the Alt Ringlein’s) restaurant, where the waitress assigns me a seat on a long table, while a family hold up one end. Here I ask for a small of their Blonde beer, which is brewed for them by another famous brewery in Bamberg called Mahrs. Mahrs is located a bit away from the centre of the action, so I was glad to find a few of their beers at my hotel. The Blonde by my side, I go ahead and order the Franconian Sour Beef, served with sauerkraut and potatoes. By now I am blindly functioning under the assumption that if it has Franconiain in front of it, it must be good! With Franconian courage jostling around in my system, I order a large Mahrs Weisse Beer to accompany my beef.


I slept well! And on the morning after my run and a well laid out spread for breakfast in my hotel, headed out camera in hand to take advantage of the brilliant weather. Back at the hotel, I order my taxi to the station, as I am Oktoberfest bound, but I still have time to duck into Scheiners Gasstuben, the bar opposite my hotel, which has the advantage unlike Schlenkerla, of having al fresco seating. There I order another mug of Schlenkerla! My Schlenkerla tryst however doesn’t end there. At the Bamberg station, the shop is selling bottles for 2 Euros, and I pick up 2, one each to gift my Air BnB hosts in Munich and Berlin, my next points of halt.

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Tarun Sibal

Insider at food

In a country like India, where food is celebrated, I always wanted to be a part of the celebration not as a guest but as the host. Director at 100 Proof Marketing Pvt Ltd, a Beverage Import and Marketing Company that represents Black Bottle Whisky, I am to food and beverage as a computer engineer, who after writing software started working in the marketing department of a tech company and who now started one of his own, is to IT.

Tarun Sibal

Dilli Wali Drinks – Tarun Sibal

[vc_column width=”1/1″]Food wise, Delhi is an amalgamation of diverse cultures, eating habits and cuisines. Much has been talked about it since time immemorial. Lately with the launch of the Delhi Pavilion at ITC Saket, this space has livened up and all this talk about Delhi food has inspired me to explore the drinks of Delhi.

I have been a Delhi boy throughout, Delhi is home, well Delhi is Delhi, and it’s incomparable to any city I have been to. Be it Dilli 6, Lutyens Delhi, or either side of Dhaula kuan, I know Delhi and the essence of the city, I feel it, live it day in day out. And as I said, Delhi is home.

I am not sure whether these drinks/ beverages are native to Delhi, but one thing is certain, Delhi almost owns them. These drinks have been a part of my growing up in the city, and all have sustained the time test.

Let’s start with the alcohol, this list is small, and it’s not based on the actual spirit or brew but on how Dilliwala’s have consumed it over years.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]

QUARTER KE DO

Ek quarter do peg, has been the pour for Delhi since ages. Rum, Whisky, Vodka anything can be mixed in this proportion. 2 guys, one car, Ek quarter and 2 fountain cola glasses, half of the quarter emptied in each glass has been the gold standard. Instant gratification guaranteed, followed by a movie or a bar-be-que dinner. Depending on how long one has been doing this, the number of quarters increase but the ratio of the peg and the quarter remains the same.

Interesting fact – People purchase two quarters instead of a half (easy to portion control, and easy to put in the pockets)

Quarter Ke Do
Quarter Ke Do

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WHISKY WALA MAUSAMBI JUICE

My home in the west part of the town, and interestingly 3 alcohol shops are a 5 minute lazy walk away. Each Alcohol shop in Delhi has its own small little ecosystem. A cigarette vendor, a guy selling chakhna and most importantly a juice wala. The scenes late evening are hilarious. A gentlemen on his two-wheeler will semi park his vehicle on the road, one hand on the counter, one on the wallet, telling the shop boy to bring him his brand and simultaneously signalling the juice wala to prepare his juice (mixer).

Multitasking to the core. Everything happens in a span of 5 minutes, the purchase, the payment, the juice getting ready and the drink being consumed. Assumingly, the two-wheeler remains on during these events and by the time the signal turns green our guys is off to home. If he has not finished his quota he will make another stop on the way.

So now that I have got the alcohol off my chest let’s talk beverages that are refreshing, nourishing, comforting and that are so Delhi.

Whisky Wala Mausambi
Mausambi Juice

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Banta
Banta

Nimbu Lemon Banta, Masala soda, Lemon or Kanche wali botal, no matter what I may call it still remains an iconic beverage meant to beat the heat.

 

 

 

It is such a dominant preposition that even the Cola giants have tried their hands at replicating this drink. Each vendor has a secret recipe that starts with the Banta bottle, the masala, lemons, ice (it used to be kachi baraf broken with the pointed object while placing the big chunk of ice in one’s hand).

I and my brother used to share a Banta purchased from our pocket money. We used to flip a coin for whose going to take the first sip. Being the younger one I used to invariably be fooled by a trick up my brothers sleeve. The mechanism of the bottle is such that if you don’t sip it the right way, the marble (kancha) will obstruct the outflow (hence an extremely short sip). I invariably ended up sipping it the wrong way, I was told that I am doing it the right way. Top bars in the city have also rekindle the romance with the Banta bottle. With exciting concoctions, and flavour options available, the modest Banta is now seen in the most upmarket places. The drink is even served in top banquet operations in luxury hotels.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]

Kanji

Aged cocktail geeks must pay respect to the mother of all aged drinks, The Kanji. Traditionally prepared in a round earthenware pot, kanji is a deep hued, end of the winter drink. Made form purple carrots it’s a seasonal drink that marks the end of winters in the northern states. This spiced brew is flavoured with rai (mustard) and kala namak (rock salt) and aged for 5 to six days, post the mixing of the spices, water and the carrots.

Kanji acts as a digestive, thus making it a great picker-upper for sluggish appetites. Despite the spices in the drink it is believed to have ‘cooling’ qualities.

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RimZim

Rim Zim
Rim Zim

Another spiced favourite but this one is factory made. Touted as the real Indian soft drink, this one was tangy, sweet and chapatti. For some odd reasons one was allowed to have RimZim but not Campa-Cola (perceived better – and for people who were born after Pepsi and Coke came to India, you need to ask what was Campa-Cola like?)

 

RimZim is making a comeback under the Coca-Cola Company in Delhi, and the northern states. There are mom and pop shops famous because they sell RimZim. RImZim has an acquired taste so either you’ll love it to the hilt or let it pass completely. Again a huge opportunity for mixologist who try their hands at Indianised cocktails.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]

De Pauls cold coffee

De Pauls
De Pauls

Beginning from a small store at local street market Janpath with just two options – hot or cold coffee, DePaul’s has grown to an unimaginable size with multiple stores across Delhi. There are over 10 flavours – from roasted almond to the tongue twister coffee toffee caramel coffee. The original is still the best selling and the charm of the Janpath store keeps increasing. It’s a must have when in Janpath. Almost like a ritual you end up having a cold coffee at De Pauls when in the vicinity.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]

Keventers Pineapple shake

Keventers Shake
Keventers Shake

Keventers and milk shake are synonymous terms in Delhi. Cold, full cream milk + Pineapple Syrup + Sugar, blended together and served in a chilled glass bottle is the simple recipe but no one other than Keventers has got this right. The right fat content of the milk, the balance between the sugar and the flavouring, the soothing colour of the shake and finally the bottle it gets served in make it a must have.

Caution – The Pineapple shake has an extremely lengthy finish, the burp 4 hours after the consumption of the shake will remind you pineapples.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]

Rabri Falooda

Rabri poured over Falooda and crushed ice, sweetened with flavoured sugar, topped with nuts, served in a glass with a spoon.

For some this is a dessert, for me it’s a drink that I can also eat. Packaged with oomph, this is surely heavy duty. Not for the mild hearted, it takes some running the next day to burn off the calorie intake.

Note – the term condensed milk can’t do justice to rabri. Rabri is rabri and so is Falooda, it’s neither vermicelli nor its rice noodles

Rabri Falooda
Rabri Falooda

At the core all these drinks have remained the same over decades and that is what makes them a cut above the rest. I am sure this cannot be the final tally, there would be more such peculiar drinks hailing from Delhi’s specific areas. Another article may be? Till then enjoy the ones mentioned, hope this word play brought back some memories and put a smile.

Regards

Insideratfood

Tarun Sibal[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Confessions of a Bar Owner – Siddhant, Brewsky

1. If I wasn’t running a bar.. I’d be At one

2. My bar’s name is Brewsky.. because we brew beneath the skies

3.  I love customers who ..apart from productive and constructive feedback, support through exorbitant billing.

Siddhant
Siddhant

4. Customers who are drinking too much.. should be Coming more often!

5.  I’d like to have a drink with.. A glass and a fine bottle of Rum.

6.  I value a bartender who.. knows the basics, continously innovates and is self motivated.

7. The nightlife in …Ibiza is the best in the world because  … do I need to say more?

8. The happiest person in a bar is .. on low days the guy who is responsible for cleaning the glasses and high days..The Owner $$$

Tulleeho!

Beer Cocktails

International Beer Day was celebrated on August 7th. For us, every day is Beer Day however. Here are 3 cocktails to help along.

Michelada

Originally a sort of beer-lemonade rumoured to have been invented by one Michel in Mexico, the Michelada eventually had other sauces and condiments added to it resulting in the spicier recipes of today. This is one version.

Ingredients

  • Lager beer                     1 pint
  • Lime juice                      10 ml
  • Worcestershire sauce  2 dashes
  • Soy sauce                       1 dash
  • Tabasco sauce               1 dash
  • Black pepper                 a pinch
  • Salt                                  a pinch
  • Ice                                    to fill glass
  • Lime peel                        to garnish

Preparation

Build the drink in the glass by first adding all the ingredients except the beer into the glass over lots of ice. Then add the beer, stir gently, garnish with the lime peel and serve.

Narangi

Beer and orange is a delicious combination. We have made it even tastier with the addition of Cointreau and fresh mint. You may never want to drink plain old beer again!

Ingredients

  • Lager beer   1 pint
  • Cointreau     30 ml
  • Orange slices        3
  • Mint leaves  5-6

Preparation

Gently muddle the mint leaves in the glass. Add the Cointreau and top with beer. Toss in the orange slices, serve and savour.

Black Velvet

black-velvet-290x195This classic cocktail was first created by the bartender at the Brook’s Club of London in 1861, to mourn the passing of Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert. It was supposed to symbolize the black armbands worn by mourners. You no longer need a reason to mourn to enjoy this drink.

Ingredients

  • Guinness stout      1 can
  • Champagne          1 quart

Preparation

Half-fill the glass with the Guinness. Now gently float the champagne over it by sliding it down against the inside of the glass. Serve immediately.

All recipes, courtesy, the Tulleeho Book of Cocktails.

Home Bar – Gautam Bhimani

In the mid 1990’s when Gautam’s grandmother was writing her will, she called his cousin and him home and asked them what they’d like out of all her possessions. Gautam’s cousin was 16 and Gautam was in his mid 20’s, and he knew what he wanted, her Burma teak bar, with the accompanying bar stools. “Done”, she said. And when his grandmother passed on, not only did the bar come to him, but Gautam also took over her 900 sq ft flat in Kolkata’s Ballygunge, which for Rashi, his wife (just married) and him was just right. And when they began to redecorate, Gautam ensured that the bar stayed in. In 2001 when Gautam quit HTA to follow cricket, his passion, to ESPN and Delhi, the bar also travelled with them and many a party in their Greater Kailash apartment did it serve

IMG_1604

The bar originally was procured in the mid 1950’s by Gautam’s grandmother when she was in Jamshedpur. An American family heading back home, were auctioning their possessions and this was picked up by her.

The bar has minimum adornments and is now tucked away in a corner of his drawing room in Gurgaon. It’s only when you go behind the bar that you see an array of Absolut bottles stocked beneath. He IMG_1610drew inspiration from a bar he had seen in Joburg, which had rows of Absolut bottles on their back bar. More than 50 different Absolut editions, from the range of flavours, from the newly launched Absolut India to the Absolut Disco and Rock bottles.

 

 

Also in pride of place on the bar counter are 4 champagne bottles, one from each of the World T20 Championships.

When he walked out to interview Dhoni after the first World T20 Cup, Gautam, found that he left with half bot of Champagne in his hand. He proceeded to empty the bottle, and decided to endeavor to get the celebratory bottle from each of the succeeding world cups!

Tulleeho Grapevine – Homage to Cava by Sweta Mohanty

Are you a Messi Fan? Or a FC Barcelona fan? Then you have a reason to rejoice!! Your favorite teams preferred choice of drink to celebrate when they win is right here. Yah you read it right, “preferred drink”… Any guesses?

It’s Cava, the iconic Sparkling Wine from Spain. You too can celebrate special days with Cava like your star player does. We’re taking a leap of faith here, but we assume that as both belong to Barcelona, there’d be a natural loyalty.

Cava is a Sparkling Wine with a DO (a Spanish Denominación de Origen) status from the Catalonia region in Spain. It can only be called a Cava when it has been made in the “champenoise traditional method”, else it has to be known as Sparkling Wine and not Cava. Cava is Spain’s answer to Prosecco. About 95% of Cava brands come from the Penedes region. And we are lucky to have with us today Xenius Semi Dry Cava from Penedes.

An evening to remember it was with a few selected people from the industry including importers, retail distributers, chefs and Wine trainers being a part of this exclusive launch event of Xenius Wines and Cava from the Penedes region in Spain at the Pali Village Café, Bandra.

The tasting had been organized by Suprio Bose, The Trade Commissioner of Catalonia, Maria Jovells and Richard Gill from Covides Vineyards and Wineries and Sachin Rane of Ixora Vineyards, who are going to import and distribute Xenius in India.

Maria Jovells and Richard Gill from Covides Vineyards and Wineries and Sachin Rane of Ixora Vineyards, who are going to importers and distributors for Xenius
Maria Jovells and Richard Gill from Covides Vineyards and Wineries and Sachin Rane of Ixora Vineyards, who are going to be the importers and distributors for Xenius
Suprio Bose, The Trade Commissioner of Catalonia
Suprio Bose, The Trade Commissioner of Catalonia

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening started off with a welcome drink, the Xenius Rose Wine which is from the  Penedes D.O. region. Fresh, fruity and rounded is how you can describe this light strawberry coloured wine. Its made of 100% Tempranillo grapes, which is an indigenous red grape variety from Spain.

IMG_7446

IMG_7448

 

 

 

 

The second wine that was served to us was a blend of Tempranillo and Merlot made out of selected grapes from the Penedes D.O. region. Xenius Barrica was a cherry red colour with ruby on the brim and with hints of spice and smokiness, it was perfectly balanced. Would go well with Chicken Tikka.

Moving on we tasted the Xenius Merlot Barrica D.O. Penedes. It was a young red 100% Merlot with maroon colour. It had a long aftertaste and the tannins were definitely on the higher side compared to the Xenius Barrica. Would go very well with sausages and meats.

Time had arrived for the star of the evening to be popped open. The bottle of Cava was popped open by The Consul General of Spain in India – Mr. Eduardo De Quesada. Xenius Cava is a semi-dry Sparkling with pale yellow colour and a good consistency of tiny bubbles coming straight from bottom to top. It has three grape varietals – Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada    that go into making what it is. Slightly sweet and powerfully fruity is how you can describe this Sparkling. Perfect for the Indian palate.

Consul General of Spain in India – Mr. Eduardo De Quesada
Consul General of Spain in India – Mr. Eduardo De Quesada

All in all, good easy drinking wines and pocket friendly (priced between 1200 – 1800). We at Tulleeho think its time to open a bottle of Cava at our office to show our support to the region.

Sweta Mohanty

Cocktails – Macerados

MaceradosMacerados translates as Macerated in English. It literally means infusion. Macerados are very popular in Latin speaking countries. The story of macerados goes back to grandmas macerating fruits in aguardiente (alcoholic beverage that contains 29%-60% ABV) to make it fruity and mellow. Flavours of macerados can be anything from bananas to chocolate, herbs, spices, wood, tea and many more. In modern bars, bartenders add sugar to extract full flavour of fruits and keep the flavours consistent.

 

In earlier times, Macerados were used as night caps to refresh the palate after a dinner or sipped straight chilled in a grappa glass. But in the growing cocktail world it is also used in cocktails to replace vermouths, bitters and liqueurs.

A pisco crazy mixologist Miguel Arbe from Ceviche UK in London has gone to an extent that he has replaced most liqueurs and spirits used in cocktails with Macerados based on Pisco. Top Macerados in Miguel’s bar are cereza (cherry), fresa (strawberry) &   frambuesa (raspberry), kion (ginger), ciruela (plum), Aji Panca (a type of Chili Pepper), nasturtium and Pineapple Chilli.

Miguel Arbe of Ceviche
Miguel Arbe of Ceviche

Depending on the flavours it can take from two days to months for a good quality macerado with a person checking it every day.

How to make a Macerado

It’s simple – fill a mason jar with a 750ml spirit like vodka, rum, gin, tequila or aguardiente.  Drop chunks of fruits like strawberries (300 grams) and sugar (150 grams)  (sugar is optional depending on the desired flavour profile). Lid the jar and leave it for 4-5 days and make sure it is air tight. Keep shaking the jar vigorously every day so that fruits and sugar keep mixing to give out the maximum flavour.  Taste it after 4 -5 days. If happy with the flavour strain it into a bottle. Store it in the fridge. Remaining fruits should be picked with the spoon and stored in an air tight container. Unfortunately there is not an overall rule on how to make macerados so the best way to learn what goes well and how to make it is by trial and error. Normally fleshy fruits, herbs and spices (strawberries, lychee, mint, basil, vanilla…) take lesser time to infuse whilst stone fruits (apricot, cherry, plums)  and coffee take a longer time, even months, to reach a perfect flavour.

Sip Macerados whenever you want and use it for flavoured margarita, daiquiri, mojito, caipiroska or martini and many more. The stored left over fruits can be used in the same cocktail or could be eaten after dinner.  Those fruits are very yummy and alcoholic.

Afzal Kaba

Cocktail Time – 3 reasons to drink a Negroni

NegroniWeekFeat-720x330

The Negroni Week, celebrated worldwide from 1st to 7th June has just come to an end. Organized in partnership between Imbibe Magazine and Campari, 2013 was the first year it was held. 2015 saw the Negroni week come to India, with more than a 100 bars across India enlisting. A portion of the Negroni’s sales in the week is donated by the bar to a charity of it’s choice.

Don’t wait till 2016 however to drink your next Negroni. Here are 3 reasons to drink a Negroni tonight!

Dubai - NegroniIt’s hard to make a bad Negroni

45 ml each of Campari, gin and Rosso (semi-sweet) vermouth, stirred together in an old fashioned glass over ice, with an orange twist as a garnish. Even the worst bartender in the world, can’t make it wrong.

It’s adaptable

Itself the result of an adaptation, when Count Camillo Negroni, ordered a Americano, with Gin swapped in for soda, the Negroni is open to change. The Pecore Negrino served up at Goa’s Black Sheep Bistro swaps in Cazulo Feni for Gin, and tastes great.

Pecore Negrino, a signature cocktail for Black Sheep Bistro, Panjim, which uses Cazulo Feni
Pecore Negrino, a signature cocktail for Black Sheep Bistro, Panjim, which uses Cazulo Feni

Show you Know

It’s a great drink to oder, to impress your boss, your girlfriend, the bartender, in short, anyone who hears you! It shows you know your classic cocktails. If you want to act slightly snobbish you can get picky with the bartender on the kind of Vermouth he’s using, as well as the brand of Gin.

Confessions of a Brewer – Rohit Parwani

Rohit Parwani is Brewmaster @ The Biere Club, Bangalore

If I wasn’t making beer, I’d beA mathematician

Strangest ingredient I’ve added in my brew has beenThree blind mice :-O Just kidding. Strangest has to be Chilly

Favourite beer town isNamma Bengaluru \m/

People who complain about hoppy beers should beGiven less hoppy ones. Beer for one, beer for all

As a brewer my number one asset is myCreativity 🙂


The only thing people take for granted more than beer isMilk 😐

Something a brewer should never do isPay for beer 😀

The beer I love which everyone else hates is …. The one with the three blind mice. They say its ratty… I love a smooth American IPA

My desert island beer is ….. Desperados, for sure desperadosRohit J. Parwani

Elisabeth Spinnler

Elisabeth SpinnlerNina E. Spinnler

is running an organic wine business in Europe. Her love for wine is an inherited passion. Winemaking traditions as an index of civilization, the interaction of human evolution with growing knowledge of the subtle art of viticulture, are one of her favorites and matching her interest in history. She is living in Southern Portugal.

Mario Molinari – Q&A

There are lemons and there are lemons, and the ones which go into Limoncello di Capri (LdC) are only from Sorrento, which gives LdC the right to state “Limoni di Sorrento I.G.P.” on their labels. It does come as a surprise to hear Mario Molinari tell us that 80% of Limoncello’s made in Italy are not made from lemons. No wonder we take to all things Italian! Anyway I’m not sitting with the owner of the world’s biggest Sambuca brand to talk about a company in which Molinari Sambuca has a stake, I’m more interested in the Anise flavoured liqueur, eponymously named which is all the rage, especially in the night clubs, where it’s customary to see a shot of Sambuca served with 3 coffee beans (called Sambuca con la mosca – Sambuca with the fly).

Mario Molinari
Mario Molinari

“My grandfather used to say that the 3 coffee beans symbolize good luck, but I personally think that it was a bartender in Rome who began serving the beans with the Sambuca, because when you chew the beans while drinking the Sambuca, the bitterness of the bean, complements the sweetness of the Anise”, says Mario. Whatever the origin, the ritual of the coffee beans has helped Sambuca make a mark on the world stage. In Italy, they still drink it mostly traditionally, that is a shot of Sambuca with coffee, or what is known as Café Corretto (the coffee is supposed to have been corrected by the addition of the alcohol!).

It all began in a bar. Mario’s grandfather, Angelo Molinari was in the spirits business in the 1920’s, and his work took him to Addis Ababa, where along with supplying ingredients to bar owners, he also opened his own bar. Coming back to Italy, he began making Sambuca Molinari in 1945. His masterstroke however was in the 50’ and 60’s, when he began advertising on television. At that time in Italy, TV was not commercial and was mostly being used as an educational medium, so apparently people believed what they saw and as a result Molinari is now the number one Sambuca in Italy with 85% share in the On Trade (as per Nielsen data, says Mario) and has gone on to sell in 75 countries over the world, selling 10 million bottles annually.
molinari sambuca
Mario’s latest innovation is Sambuca Café, which is a liqueur, based on Sambuca and Coffee. As per European law, to be called Sambuca, a product has to be clear and with no other flavour, other than Anise therefore the flavoured Sambuca’s you may see in the market are not technically Sambuca.
Mario likes to drink his Sambuca, ice cold, and served from the freezer. He’s confident that his product will do well with India, due to the experience of Aspri, his distributor and due to the fact that Indian’s are used to the flavour of Anise. Tulleeho! To that.

20 Questions with Gegam Kazarian – Molinari Brand Ambassador

In conversation with famed mixologist, Gegam Kazarian from Armenia who started his career studying biochemistry in Yerevan, and had a passion for bartending.

  1. How did you get into the field?The very first drink I made was when I was 5 years old, at my grandfather’s house, made with fresh cherries, sugar and water in a lemonade bottle with a cherry stick. Back then I obviously didn’t add alcohol to it, but that was a sign.
  2. Where did you start your career?I started in Armenia at a bar, working under a bar manager, an Indian guy, Biju Varghese. At the age of 20, I said goodbye to Armenia and headed to Alicante, Spain. I soon started my own bars Kazaris Lounge Bar, Kazaris Cocktail club, and Zulu Cocktail bar, among others – an amazing experience for 6 years.

    Gegam Kazarian
    Gegam Kazarian

  3. What exactly do you do now? In 2009, I closed down my last bar and decided to explore the world, study, travel, see other cultures, and hence began Project Kazaris. It’s a gastronomic project around food and cocktails, applying knowledge, science and art. I share my experiences with the world; I have also learnt many new things from bartenders around the world. I consult at different bars and restaurants, working with brands like Molinari, G’Vine Gin.
  4. Is this your first time in India? How has your experience been so far? Yes, this is my first time, and I love India! I have tasted Indian food before but it is so different here, here you can actually smell all the spices in the food.
  5. Why India? India is growing, and in the next 5 to 10 years, India will probably be the cultural centre of the world! In India, you have the most important ingredients – hospitality and love.
  6. What do you think is the next big thing for India in terms of beverages? I think Gin will see a big market in India soon. Tequila at the moment seems to be doing really well around the world, and that could also reach the Indian market.
  7. What do you think about the bartenders you’ve seen so far in India? I’ve seen some really nice bars, a very good level, not just bartending, but in the concept, the music. The bartenders I’ve seen so far have pretty good knowledge about beverages and have the passion to learn!
  8. Around the world, what is lacking in bartenders today? Well, not in Asia, but many parts of the world have some highly skilled bartenders but most times the hospitality aspect bit is missing. In India, it is so different.
  9. What is the one thing bartenders should keep in mind while participating in a competition? Enjoy the experience, have fun. Because you are in that moment, and you will never get it back. So be cool and give it your best.
  10. If you weren’t in this industry, where would you be? I would be working as a chemist
  11. Your most memorable moment in the bar? This was in Spain, when I opened my first Kazaris Lounge bar – the first day. It was big, a dream come true.
    Gegam Kazarian 1
  12. What were you doing before you joined the industry? I was studying biochemistry. Learning things like floral design, jewelry design. I also played the Spanish guitar, I still do. I want to learn how to play the sitar now that I’m here.
  13. Why did you choose this industry? When I was a student, I used to see a lot of people going to bars and restaurants. I wanted to be with these people, and I also wanted to earn some money, so I thought why not be a bartender.
  14. Which is your favorite beverage ad campaign? I’m not a big fan of big international brands and ad campaigns. But one company that has made it big, according to me, is Molinari. They started off really small, and now are spread over 85 countries, maintaining consistency throughout in terms quality of their products. Also, I work with these brands because I believe in them.
  15. Have you served any celebrities while working behind the bar? Yes – Naomi Campbell, Penelope Cruz, Alejandro Fernández and Luis Miguel (famous Mexican singers)
  16. Which is your favorite ingredient while making a cocktail? Just one? That’s tough! If I had to choose I’d go for Ginger because it’s spicy, has citrus notes and is a great ingredient to make a drink.
  17. And your favorite spirit for a cocktail? Has to be G’Vine Gin
  18. Do you like Indian food? I love Indian food! But I can’t really handle the spiciness.
  19. If you were stranded on a desert island. What is that one drink you would like to have? I will have to choose water. While I’m on that island, I could experiment with the water by mixing and infusing some ingredients from the island. Because without water I would be nothing.

Confessions of a Wine Maker – Kelly Healey, Chandon India

If I wasn’t making wine, I’d bea Chocolatier.

Favourite fruit apart from grapes, I’d like to use to make wine fromKiwifruit.

Favourite perfume iswhatever my wife is wearing.

Favourite wine region in the world isChampagne.

As a wine maker my number one asset is myOlfactory sensory perception.

I’d like to see my wine drunk by ….people new to wine..

Kelly Healey
Kelly Healey

Something a wine maker should never do isbelieve the hype.

My wine making mentor was …. Charles “Chilly” Hargrave – Group Sparkling Winemaker – Treasury Wine Estates.

Behind every successful wine maker is agreat team of dedicated cellar hands and laboratory technicians

My desert island wine is ….Krug Grand Cuvee.

Drinking Out: Bombay Canteen – By Sweta Mohanty

 

 

Chef Thomas Zacharia has taken up a noble cause – adopting stray puppies.
Chef Thomas Zacharia has taken up a noble cause – adopting stray puppies.

Bombay Canteen
Ground Floor, Process House,
Kamala Mills, Near Radio Mirchi Office,
S.B. Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai 400013
Ph: 022 49666666

By Sweta Mohanty

Letter from New York – Hemant Pathak

What do you think of when you hear the words New York? A diverse array of cultures, religions, food, fashion and lifestyles.  Last but not the least we will not forget the drinking culture of New York City.  Yes indeed the drinking culture is as diverse as the people.  With speakeasies, gastro pubs, high end spirits parlors and spirits based bars engulfing the city, New York’s drinking culture is not just about the diversity of the establishments but also the diversity of the drinks that are being offered to  locals and tourists alike.

In New York City one can expect to find various beers bars serving hundreds upon hundreds of beers or even a new beer on tap every day.  There are wine bars with some of the best selection of wines one can expect and even wine tastings.  One cannot forget though the various cocktail bars

Dead Rabbit, New York
Dead Rabbit, New York

and the best mixology bars, which are some of the prime highlights of the city. A classic example of the one of the best-known Mixology bars in New York City happens to be The Dead Rabbit located in a landmark building dating back to the 1820’s.  The two story charmer is named after the famous Irish Gang that brawled ferociously with the Bowery Boys during the mid nineteenth century.

The ground floor has a place for an Irish band in the corner and sawdust on the floor. Historic satirical cartoons and exposed wooden beams go on to complete the ambiance. Here one can find cocktails, bottled punch, a wide selection of beers and various spirits.  The upstairs cocktail parlor presents a slightly more sophisticated ambiance.  It has a sprawling cocktail list consisting of an unheard of seventy cocktails.  Some of these cocktails are inspired from the nineteenth century including Hot and Cold, Communal punches, Bishops, Flips, Nogs, Cups and Cobblers, Sours, pixies and daisies, slings, toddy and fizzes, juleps and smashes, as well as absinthe.

One of the great things about New York is the fact that people are looking for quality and diverse products when it comes to spirits and cocktails.  Many New Yorkers can appreciate a twist in something or even something they have not heard of and are trying for the first time.  Plus in a city like New York one can expect to find what someone has been looking for but may not have found it in some other city.  Sometimes the drink or product speaks for itself and that is ultimately what brings the consumer back over and over no matter what the other aspects of the establishment are.  A speakeasy for example can be the size of a studio apartment but if the drinks are unique and exceptional then the client will be a repeated customer.

What many people do not know is one thing that makes the bar scene so great in New York is that many well known bars or mixology bars are owned by former mixologists or people who were once in this industry such as mixologists and bartenders.  The best examples are The Flatiron Lounge, Clover Club, Please Don’t Tell and Employees Only.  All are owned by former Mixologists and are now the premier places to drink in the city. Long Island’s Dutch Kills is probably the most atavistic and one of my favorite places to go sometimes on the weekend.

PDT, New York
PDT, New York

A bar like Please Don’t Tell happens to be one of the premier bars in the world where one requires reservations weeks in advance to be allowed entry.  Located inside a hot dog joint called Crif Dog, it is as secretive and unique a place as it gets.  At Employees Only bartenders are known for pouring drinks with precision without using any jiggers.  Such accuracy very few bartenders can achieve.  The Pegu Club boasts of bartenders making their own infusions as well as hand squeezing all citruses instantly, while making a drink.  The ambiance of the Pegu Club resembles a movie style

Pegu Club
Pegu Club

nightclub one may see in Hong Kong or Japan, Flatiron Room, located in the famous Flatiron district is another high end spirit parlor having 1100 whisk(e)y from around the globe with an extensive full dinner menu and the best part is a live Jazz performance every night. I learned a lot working with them for last two years, I must say their whisk(e)y school is the best in entire NYC.

There is even a hotel in New York called the Nomad Hotel, which offers not one, but three bars for a classic and aristocratic drinking experience because of its French and British aristocratic style atmosphere. The cocktail program here is one of the best around the world.

In conclusion it’s fair to say New York offers any sort of drinking experience one can imagine.  Whether it’s the type of drink or the establishment itself, chances are you will find something that is on your mind. Am sure the city’s cocktail craze can’t stop, won’t stop with new dens of mixology popping up in every corner of the metropolis like so many new clothing brands appears in the city every second day

By Hemant Pathak

 

Hemant Pathak

Hemant Pathak
Hemant Pathak

Currently, by day Hemant is working as a Mixologist  with India’s very famous chef Vikas Khanna at a high end cocktail Lounge (Patiala Lounge) along with a speciality Michelin Star Indian restaurant named “Junoon” in New York.      Apart from this he works with New York’s no. 1 Whisky bar called Flatiron Room where they have 750 different whiskies across the world.

Cocktail Time – 3 American Whiskey cocktails to beat the summer

Fruit & Mint Julep

Seasonal Fruit & Mint Julep
Seasonal Fruit & Mint Julep

This is for those who definitely want to taste their whiskey along with everything else. A twist on the official mint julep served at the Kentucky Derby, the fresh fruit makes it delightfully refreshing.

Glass: Old Fashioned

Ingredients:

  • 45ml Bourbon or Tennessee
  • 2 slices orange
  • 4 fresh strawberries or 15ml strawberry puree*
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (when using only fresh fruit)
  • 10 mint leaves

Garnish: Mint sprig/fresh seasonal fruit

Method:

  • Muddle sugar in glass to crush
  • Add mint leaves, fruit slices (or puree) and muddle with sugar
  • Fill glass with crushed ice
  • Pour in the whiskey and stir
  • Taste to adjust sweetness
  • Top with more crushed ice
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint

*Change fruits seasonally – use semi ripe mango, peaches, plums, pineapple as they come along in place of strawberry

Fred & Ginger

Such a cool summer refresher this. Very simple yet completely delicious with juicy orange and just a hint of ginger to lift it.

Glass: Long Drink

Fred & Ginger
Fred & Ginger

Ingredients:

  • 45ml Bourbon
  • 100ml orange juice
  • 1 wedge of lime
  • Ginger ale to top

Garnish: slice of orange

Method:

  • Fill glass with ice
  • Pour in the bourbon and orange juice
  • Squeeze in wedge of lime & stir
  • Top with ginger ale
  • Garnish with a slice of orange

Summer Freeze

The perfect way to beat the blistering sun – this beautifully peachy slush spiked with fresh green mint and edgy Bourbon or Tennessee.

Glass: Margarita glass/Bavaria Glass

Ingredients:

Summer Freeze
Summer Freeze
  • 45ml Bourbon or Tennessee
  • 45ml Manama peach-apricot crush
  • 15ml lime juice
  • 3-4 mint leaves

Garnish: mint sprig

Method:

  • Rim half the glass with salt
  • Fill the shaker half with crushed ice
  • Add all the ingredients and blend it until it becomes slushy
  • Pour it into salt rimmed glass
  • Garnish

By Shatbhi Basu

Antara Kini

Antara KiniAntara is a graduate in Biotechnology & an MBA from Bangalore University. She found her passion for wines while working with Tulleeho and has completed her WSET Level 3 Advanced course in Wines and Spirits under Anthony Stockbridge’s tutelage. She runs a wine tasting program for corporate audiences called Nine Hills Wine Aromas and More. She is the lead wine trainer for the Tulleeho Bartending Academy.

Dregs – 4 Drinks we owe to religion – Antara Kini

Benedictine

Benedictine was first consumed as a medicinal elixir and reviving tonic. It was created in 1510 by a Venetian monk called Dom Bernardo Vincelli who lived at the Abbey of Fecamp in Normandy. It’s a rich and intricate blend of 27 plants and spices.  At the end of the late 18th century after the French Revolution, the Abbey of Fécamp was destroyed in 1791 and DOM Bernardo’s precious secret recipe appeared to have been lost forever.

In 1863, a local wine merchant in Fécamp called Alexandre Le Grand discovered a collection of manuscripts saved from the Abbey’s destruction by a distant relative. Within the collection of papers, he discovered a notebook containing what appeared to be a liqueur recipe. Once Alexandre believed he had recreated the recipe as faithfully as he could to Dom Bernardo’s original, he decided to sell the liqueur to the public. In tribute to the creator of the liqueur, the liqueur was named Bénédictine after the monastic order of Dom Bernardo Vincelli and the bottle also features the Latin motto of the Bénédictine order – ‘Deo Optimo Maximo’ meaning ‘to God, the good, the great’ as well as the coat of arms of Fécamp Abbey.

For a classic Benedictine cocktail, try the B&B or the Raffles Singapore Sling

Chartreuse

Chartreuse-640x453A manuscript nicknamed “the elixir of long life” was delivered to a monastery outside Paris in 1605. It contained the instructions to make a pea gree herbal liqueur called Chartreuse. And since 1737 this has been made by Carthusian monks in the La Grande Chartreuse monastery in the Chartreuse mountains north of Grenoble.

The drink is composed of 130 herbs, flowers and plants that are macerated in alcohol and steeped for eight hours into a tonic. Chartreuse soon grew in popularity and was often used for enjoyment rather than as a medicine. Noticing this trend, the monks adapted the recipe in 1764 to make a milder drink now known as Green Chartreuse. Today, the elixir is still made by a pair of monks at La Grande Chartreuse following the ancient recipe.

For a couple of contemporary Chartreuse Cocktails try the Witches Brew or Shamrock

Trappist Beer

medivial-monk-brewing-beerIf you’re a fan of beer, then Trappist beer is a must have. The most well known possibly of the Trappist beer brands is one called Chimay. Try saying Cistercian thrice, very fast! We owe Trappist beer to the Cistercian monastery of La Trappe in France, where the Trappist order originaged. As the order spread from France to other parts of Europe, so did their beer brewing traditions.

In the middle ages, brewing beer fulfilled several purposes for the monasteries. Firstly it added to the monasteries attraction as a place of refuge for with decent food and drink, Secondly it acted as a currency with which to barter and thirdly beer was far more sanitary to drink rather than water, which at that time was largely unsanitary and the drinking of which could lead to certain diseases.

Today, ten Trappist breweries are active— 1 in Austria, 6 in Belgium, 2 in the Netherlands, and 1 in the United States.

Champagne

Dom Perignon
Dom Perignon

It’s popularly believed that a monk named Pierre Perignon discovered the 2nd fermentation in wine, which is what gives Champagne it’s bubbles, while at the Benedictine Abbey of Hautvillers in the Champagne region of France. And in tribute to whom, Moet Hennessy named Dom Perignon. One doesn’t know to what extent this story is true or false, but it’s true that he did make important contributions to the production and quality of Champagne.

There is also a record of a sparkling wine called Blanquette de Limoux which was apparently invented by Benedictine Monks in the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire, near Carcassonne in 1531.

Antara Kini

Dregs – 4 Must have drinks in South Africa – Minakshi Singh

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Amarula!

The climate here is unique due to its subtropical location, moderated by ocean on three sides of the country. The weather and the terrain (or terroir for the wine snobs) make it very suitable to the first MUST TRY in our list –  South African wine.

Wine

South African wine country is most known for the following regions – Contantia Valley, Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek Valley.

A great (and economical) way to do this is through the Hop on Hop Off Bus tour that takes you around the wine country (suitable for Constantia and Stellenbosch routes), but if you are looking into spending a whole day there, then I suggest hiring a cab. Also, all vineyards close tastings at 4pm, hence you have the perfect excuse to start early.

The roots of the South African wine industry can be traced to the exploits of the Dutch East India Company back in 1659, which established a supply station in what is now Cape Town. A Dutch surgeon, Jan van Riebeeck, was given the task of managing the station and planting vineyards to produce wines and grapes intended to ward off scurvy amongst sailors during their voyages along the spice route.

Wine Tasting @ Groot Contantia
Wine Tasting @ Groot Contantia

And so we headed to our first pit stop Groot Contantia, the oldest and most famous vineyard in SA and got on with the tasting. A picturesque vineyard with hundreds of years of history, and some great wines with the mild afternoon sun awaited us. I recommend that you spend at least 2-3 hours exploring the wines, cellar, grounds, and the very scenic surroundings!

With a guided tasting of as many as 6 different wines of our choosing we were all sold on the Pinotage, a unique varietal that is a crossing of the Pinot noir and Cinsaut grapes. Today it is one of the most widely planted red grape varieties in South Africa, and is unique to the region!

AMARULA  

amarula-creamNow to visit South Africa, and not do the Big Five is impossible, and hence we were all set for our African Safari, and what a Safari it was! Apart from sighting the big five many times over, we had some great local cuisine paired with Amarula cream liqueur as the nightcap. Amarula is made with sugar, cream and the fruit of the African marula tree, which is also locally called the Elephant tree. It gets its name from the most common sighting that you shall have of Elephants enjoying the Marula fruit!

And because of the marula tree’s association with elephants, the distiller has made them its symbol and supports elephant conservation efforts, co-funding the Amarula Elephant Research Program. This is an absolute must try, and tastes very close to Baileys Irish cream, with a thinner consistency and nuttier taste.

Rooibos TEA

If you enjoy your tea, then one of the best ways to keep yourself hydrated and refreshed is with this indigenous tea. It is easily available all across SA, and can be picked up from any supermarket store.

Also known as Bush Tea, it is usually grown in the Cederberg, a small mountainous area in the region of the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Red-Rooibos-TeaGenerally, the leaves are oxidized (often termed ‘fermentation’ in common tea processing terminology). This process produces the distinctive reddish-brown color of rooibos and enhances the flavor.

Unoxidized “green” rooibos is also produced, but the more demanding production process for green rooibos (similar to the method by which green tea is produced) makes it more expensive than traditional rooibos. It carries a malty and slightly grassy flavour somewhat different from its red counterpart.

In South Africa, it is common to prepare rooibos tea in the same manner as black tea and add milk and sugar to taste. While we mostly had it straight with hot water and honey. Known for its health benefits, bring this back for the tea loving folks!

BEER IT UP!

Last but not the least, South Africa is home to some great local, and international brews! No meal can go without a chilled, tall glass of a good South African Lager!

Apart from the global giant, South African Breweries (SAB) there are some superb local brews to be tried too!

We of course went through the usual suspects of Castle, Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, though the most notable, and highly awarded (so we heard) of these is the Carling Black Label.

One must absolutely try the Umqombothi (from the Xhosa language),  a traditional beer made from maize (corn), maize malt, sorghum malt, yeast and water. It’s widely available and tastes and smells a bit like Chang, ( strong aroma, low alcohol) and quite sour. Its, thick, creamy and gritty ( from the maize).

Umqombothi
Umqombothi

Now that all you Booze hounds are well prepared to take on this incredible and diverse country, we say book your tickets now!

Minakshi Singh

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minakshi Singh

Minakshi SinghMinakshi Singh has been at various points a bartender, beverage trainer and liquor marketer. She is now a partner in Cocktails and Dreams Speakeasy in Gurgaon, a cocktail bar par excellence. She also loves animals, helps old ladies cross the street and at some point would like to save the world.

Rajesh Swarnakar

Current Position: Certified Freelance WSET Educator, Tutor & Assesor for Levels 1, 2 & 3. Independent Food & Beverage Trainer and Restaurateur

Professional Experience:.

  • Cunard Line (UK) Ltd. – Sommelier, Wine Educator, Trainer
  • P&O Cruises (UK) Ltd.
  • The Hyatt Regency, New Delhi
  • The Park, New Delhi

Professional Development:

  • Lead Auditor Course ISO 9001:2000 on Quality Management and Audit System
  • Attended Workshop and Training on HACCP (Food Safety) ISO 22000
  • Trained Basic Food Hygiene Course
  • Trained in  United States Public Health
  • Completed basic fire fighting
  • Crowd Management Course

Education Qualification:

  • Graduate Diploma in WSET from Wine and Spirit Education Trust, London
  • Approved trainer for WSET Level 1, 2 and 3
  • Diploma in Hotel management, catering technolgy and applied nutrition, IHM Bhopal India

Field Experiences:

  • Visited wineries and vineyards in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa etc.
  • Toured Extensively in Scotland and Ireland visiting Diffrent  Distilleries such as Jamesons, Glenffidich, Coal Ila, Laphraoig,Talisker, Glengoyne, Dewars,Bowmore etc.
  • Attended master class in sherry rasting in XEREZ, Spain with Gonzalez Byass winery
  • Visited Guiness Brewery in Dublin , Ireland for Beer master class tutorials
  • Attended International Wine and Spirit Fair in London

Perfume cocktail trend gathers pace

The Drinks Business: 15th April 2015

Arnd Heissen, creator of the world’s first perfume-inspired cocktail bar, has unveiled a new list of cocktails based on fragrances to keep up with consumer demand. New on the list is the Dia de los Muertos based on the Bulgari scent Amara, made with Don Julio Tequila, mandarin vodka, citrus, patchouli syrup and orange bitters. The quirky cocktail is served in a red tiki head squashed inside a bamboo lantern.

Home Bar – Wild Wild West – Vikrant Nath

IMG-20140801-WA002

I bought my house a couple o’  years ago. One of the criteria I was looking for when house hunting was to have a room other than the regular BHKs to be made into a full fledged bar room. I had been meaning to own a bar ever since I had seen Tom Cruise  twirl those bottles and the Coyotes shake their daddy in those Hollywood movies. Sadly, the commercial economics of opening a bar in the Capital were forbidding, so I had decided to have my own private bar.

There are a whole lot of other advantages, as well, of having your own bar – it’s a place where everybody knows you by name, you get to choose your company, it always plays your kinda music, there are no dry days, it doesn’t close down, just when you are beginning to have fun, and you can never be the designated driver. Having found such a house and identified the room which was gonna be the bar – incidentally, it opens into the living room so is ideally placed, the first question was the theme of the bar??

Should I have it looking like a sports bar with neon signs and sports memorabilia? An automotive theme, perhaps, with hubcaps and bar2steering wheels? Or what about a retro look?  I finally settled for the Wild West look. What was imperative was that the look extend itself into the entire room and not just in odds and ends and that the overall décor of the room should be such that every thing merged into each other and nothing really should be sticking out, screaming for attention. Now that wasn’t really such an easy thing to do, considering all that goes into a bar – the bar counter itself, the seating, the lounge, the backdrops, the paintings, the lighting, etc etc, And then explaining it all to a carpenter – since I’m not from the trade, we didn’t even speak the same language. Having finalised the theme, I started the painstaking process of moving it from my brain – first to a drawing and then on to the 3 dimensions. The flooring was simple enough – had to be wood.

Then came the counter, which was probably the most complicated item on the list. It needed beer kegs, and those are not available in India. So had to show a picture downloaded from the net, to the carpenter and it took 3 attempts before he could get the proportion right. Then came the counter top – all the available options – granite, wood, etc. – were either just too commonplace or didn’t go with the look that I had in my mind. Eventually, while playing darts, one day, that inspiration struck – Cork!! However, it was easier said than done. Where does one find cork?? And is it durable?? And both of them were difficult to answer, since nobody I knew had ever used cork. Nobody was sure of anything. I went through all the markets in all parts of Delhi and was almost giving up on the idea, when I chanced across a sheet of Rubberised Cork, in a shop in Old Delhi. Apparently, its used as insulation and shock absorption in some kinda industrial equipment – and it was cheap – about Rs. 500 for a sheet and I needed just one and a half sheets for my counter top – 750 bucks for a counter!!

The Cork bar counter
The Cork bar counter

Trust me, it doesn’t get any cheaper.  I bought 6 sheets. I had thought that even if it lasted 6 months, it was still worth it and I bought 6 sheets, keeping in mind that I might need to change the top every 6 months or so, I’d still be good for 2 – 3 years. As it’s turned out, it was a wasteful expense – Its been 3 years and the top has taken so much of abuse – spilled booze (including red wine!) and food, stubbed cigarettes, ladies dancing in stilettos – and I’ve not had the need to change the original top. The other 4 ½  sheets are lying unused in the garage.

Then was the upholstery for the bar stools – I wanted genuine horse skin for my stools.

Camel Hide upholstered bar stools
Camel Hide upholstered bar stools

Didn’t work. Just couldn’t find it anywhere – apparently, they stopped flogging dead horses a long while ago. The closest that  I could manage was – Camel Hide. I found it in a market in Sohna – near Gurgaon. There were two problems – camel hide is too pale and too rough. The man in the shop suggested that I dip the hide in a solution of Mustard Oil. I was a bit apprehensive but decided to try it out anyway. It worked!!! One week in mustard oil and the end result was a smooth, dark camel hide. Again, another shot in the dark that hit the bulls eye. Three years later, it still looks good and hasn’t lost its colour. In spite of each seat having supported hundreds of derrieres of all shapes and sizes  for hours at a stretch. And it still fills the room with the musky, earthy odour of leather.

Saddle Stools
Saddle Stools

The saddles for the saddle-stools came from a Polo playing friend of mine. As did the horse shoes for the ashtrays. Incidentally, I gave the ashtrays as return gifts for the house-warming party. The wood for the wall paneling and the rafters were bought from a store in Kotla – it was the cheapest that they had and an interior decorator pal of mine was quite amazed by the fact that it hadn’t warped in three years! The metal bindings, straps and hooks were made to order by one of those nomadic lohars (blacksmiths) who camp outside the Tara Apartments on the Alaknanda – GK2 road.

Next came the paintings. My friend, Shalini, at Creativegarh, introduced me to Sushil, who was probably the only one who understood exactly what I wanted, the first time around. I decided to do the murals myself – seemed simple enough – a cactus and a direction post – and for a change, turned out to be as simple as I’d thought it would be. What was quite remarkable was that the choice of colours that I used was almost identical to what Sushil had used in his paintings – even though we worked completely independent of each other. Obviously we’d read the same books and seen the same movies in our college days!!

The next was the toughest bit. Explaining to the painters why I wanted the perfectly polished doors sand papered and then just Waxpol-ed! Why I wanted the wood panels and rafters just waxpol-ed with a dark brown powder dye! Why I wanted the barstools just stained green. I’d give them specific instructions every morning before leaving for work and they’d show me something completely different when I returned in the evening. This thing went on for three days. The fourth day was a Sunday so I sat on their heads till they got it right. And so it was – after 8 weeks of head banging, that my bar was ready.

It was also the day, when an article I’d written on Single Malts appeared in the city supplement of one of the papers. It was also the day when we had our house warming. AT the end of it all, one of my venerable uncles took me aside and said ” We all know of your fondness for booze. But do you have to advertise the fact to the whole world!!”

Vikrant Nath

Confessions of a Bar Owner – Radhika Dhariwal, PCO

If I wasn’t running a bar, I’d be… An author. Actually, I am an author. So, maybe I’d be a writer for Lonely Planet.

My bar’s name is PCO because … PCO, which is a double entendre. Not only is it a reference to the PCO booths (we have a phone theme running through the bar), it also stands for Pass Code Only, as you need a pass code that keeps changing to enter the place.

I love customers who…Order the lamb burrito

Customers who are drinking too much should be …Cheers’ed to! As long as they don’t get behind the wheel of a car.

Radhika Dhariwal
Radhika Dhariwal

I’d like to have a drink with …Woody Allen

I value a bartender who…Is creative, has confidence and loves speaking to his guests. And, of course loves nothing more than being behind the bar.  

The nightlife in New York is the best in the world because….. between the hours of 8pm and 8 am you can: start your night at a tapas bar, move on to a jazz club for great cocktails, hit up a nightclub or two, go grab a bite to eat, and still find some super secret “after hours” scene you can find, if you’re up for it.

The happiest person in a bar is …man (or woman) who makes the drinks and watches someone else enjoy them

Tulleeho!

Tulleeho Grapevine – The Longest Table, Delhi

The Longest Table
The Longest Table

So here it was “The Longest Reserve Table” that India has ever seen laid down to perfection from one end to the other. As I walked around the room meeting known people and new I stopped at the bar to get myself a glass of bubbly from the house of Jacob’s Creek. It was the Pinot Noir Chardonnay which was being served as an aperitif along with Tomato & Mozzarella crostini.  The mild straw green bubbly with a decent gas bead was citrusy with lemon and lime flavours and a hint of fruity character on the nose. The citrusy flavours dominated at the palate and the acidity for me was pretty high but not at all unpleasant. I thought it was a great wine to start the proceedings and boost my appetite for the much anticipated lunch. But I forgot that it only takes 30 minutes of rain to bring Delhi to a halt and that’s exactly what happened which resulted in late arrivals and delayed the lunch proceedings (but I am not complaining, I was enjoying my bubbly :).

Menu

As we all proceeded for lunch I discovered that interestingly though Bangalore is also having its first “Longest Reserve Table” at the same time as Delhi and some other cities will have them soon too.

The first wine to be served was the Classic Chardonnay paired with Sous Vide chicken. The pale yellow Chardonnay with aromas of fig, melon, subtle spice and a hint of oak was refreshing on the nose. The creamy and buttery notes on the palate were a good match with the chicken but the vegetarians on the table would have enjoyed it better with the Goat cheese and beetroot coulis. While the chit chatting on the table continued we were served the first reserve for the day, which was also a Chardonnay but distinctively different from the classic that we tasted before. While the colour of this one was close to the classic, the aromas had a different story to tell. Coming from the cool Adelaide Hills of Australia this white had pronounced aromas of citrus and stone fruit. The flavours on the palate were richer than the Classic with lemon citrus and a creamy mouth feel (owing to the malolactic fermentation). This one had clearly spent more time ageing in the oak and the crisp acidity of the wine complemented the Asparagus salad it was served with but a few cubes of Feta cheese in the salad might have been better.

Jacob's Creek Pinot Noir Chardonnay
Jacob’s Creek Pinot Noir Chardonnay

While I appreciated the wine and food in the short interval before we were served our main courses I was particularly impressed with the smooth service and how 100 people were being served a dish of their choice all together.

 

Corn Fed Chicken
Corn Fed Chicken

As we moved forward I was excited for my favourite white wine, the red wine! Given the choice of Red Snapper, Corn Fed Chicken or Ravioli, my carnivore instincts took over and playing safe I opted for the Corn Fed Chicken served with cous cous and country style potatoes. This time we were served both the reds together the Jacobs Creek Reserve Shiraz and Shiraz Cabernet.     

 

The Shiraz Cabernet with its light garnet colour and aromas of plum, blackberries, chocolate and black pepper was a wake up call after all those glasses of wine. The flavours on the nose were easily transferred on to the palate with strong but well integrated tannins and long finish. Although the chicken (with some fresh ground pepper) was an excellent choice, a Filet Mignon with Pepper and Mushroom sauce and sautéed spinach would be my dream dish (that’s just me fancying a steak :).

Jacob's Creek Wine Range
Jacob’s Creek Wine Range

The Reserve Shiraz on the other hand seemed a bit muffled to start with but I gave it a few minutes and a couple of swirls to release the dark berry fruits and the pronounced black pepper on the nose. The tannins on this one were softer with flavours from the oak and a long finish. While I thought it was a good Shiraz served at a right temperature from the world famous Barossa region known for this grape varietal some of the mates at the table would have liked the wine a bit cooler.

 

The cherry, lemon and mascarpone tart served with Jacobs Creek Ice cream looked alluring even for someone like me who is not an admirer of desserts. Paired with the bubbly rose I was of the opinion that both the dish and the wine were great on their own but this was the only combination that failed to impress me.

All in all I think Chef Pawan Kumar did a great job to create dishes which complemented some truly great wines coming from the first commercial winery in the Barossa valley. The team at Pernod Ricard and the F&B staff of JW Marriott did exceptionally well to put together the first of its kind Reserve Table ensuring that the guests went back impressed.

Rakshit Khurana

Tulleeho Grapevine – Life without wine…Nah

Off late, I have become a little more biased towards wines, thanks to the wine course that I did a few days back. One sunny afternoon (sunny it is in Mumbai here), I was told by Bossman to write an article on the different usages of wine… And so happened a brunch at my place with friends and family and discussing what are the uses of wines apart from drinking…

Here you go!!

1. Fabric Dye

Am sure everyone of us who drink red wine would have gone through this atleast once in our lifetime, “Spilling red wine on your white clothes” and the stain mark never budges to go away and ultimately we throw away our favourite piece of dress. But now, we no more have to do that. You can use virtually any type of red wine to dye fabric as long as you’re open to experimentation when it comes to the result, which could range from pale pink to deep mauve or even gray. Heat the wine to simmering in a big soup pot on the stove top, add your fabric, stir with a wooden spoon for 10 minutes and allow to cool. Rinse the fabric well.

fabric dye

 2. Skin Softener

We women are obsessed with our beauty regime..This is where a red wine comes into the picture. All of those antioxidants that make red wine a healthy beverage may also provide benefits when applied directly to the skin. Some women recommend using red wine as a toner, which may help smooth and refine skin thanks to the acidity which is similar to that of vinegar. Actress Teri Hatcher apparently pours a glass of red wine into her bath water, and in India, wine has many beauty uses, like softening and brightening the skin in spa facials.

3. Frozen Cubes of Ice

Pour leftover wine into an ice tray so you always have easy-to-use, extra flavour on hand for soup, stew, sauces and other cooking uses.

frozen cubes of ice

 

frozen ice cube

 

 

 

 

 

4. Turn it into Jelly

Take your choice of wine, some sugar and a packet of jelly powder are all of it takes to make a customised flavour of wine jelly. Who wouldn’t like to have some homemade jelly on their toast??

wine jelly

5. Marinade

Use about a cup of red wine, a cup of olive oil and the seasonings of your choice like garlic, parsley and peppercorns and marinate the red meat for about 6 hours or overnight. What you get is an extra flavourful dish.

Steak Marinade Recipe

6. Cooking

Cooking with wine is the most common thing that people have been doing in the West long before. It’s now catching up in Indian households too. I do a simple chicken or pork sausage cooked in red wine reduction. Its very simple and uses tomato paste/puree, shallots, wine and broth.

wine in cooking

These are all easy peasy things to do at home. Do tell me which one you tried and how it worked for you. Till then Ciao!!

Sweta Mohanty

 

Cocktail Time – St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails

thumb_Galway International Oyster Festival1_1024The Irish don’t need an excuse to drink, but St. Patrick’s Day gives them just that. Come March 17th, we’re all Irish (and therefore need to try these drinks!)

Cocktails courtesy – Tulleeho Book of Cocktails

 

 

 


Limerick

St. Paddy's Day Parade - Dublin
St. Paddy’s Day Parade – Dublin

Pineapple and hazelnut? Really? Yes, really! This interesting combination is unexpectedly good – taste for yourself and see.

  • Irish whiskey                  45 ml
  • Hazelnut syrup              10 ml
  • Cointreau                        15 ml
  • Pineapple juice               20 ml
  • Ice                                     to fill shaker
  • Orange peel                     a curl, to garnish

Add all the ingredients to a shaker full of ice. Shake well and strain into the glass. Garnish with the orange peel and serve.

Tulleeho Tip: Try this as a nutty martini by omitting the pineapple juice and serving it in a cocktail glass.

Black Velvet

St. Paddy's Day Parade, Dublin
St. Paddy’s Day Parade, Dublin

This classic cocktail was first created by the bartender at the Brook’s Club of London in 1861, to mourn the passing of Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert. It was supposed to symbolize the black armbands worn by mourners. You no longer need a reason to mourn to enjoy this drink.

  • Guinness stout      1 can
  • Champagne          1 quart

 

Half-fill the glass with the Guinness. Now gently float the champagne over it by sliding it down against the inside of the glass. Serve immediately.

St. Paddy's Day Parade, Dublin
St. Paddy’s Day Parade, Dublin

Irish Coffee

Cocktail legend has it that one Joseph Sheridan, a chef at Foynes Port in Limerick County, Ireland, added a generous dash of Irish whiskey to regular coffee to warm up passengers on their way over to America – and in that moment of brilliance, the classic Irish coffee was born.

 

  • Irish whiskey                                    60 ml
  • Black coffee                                      1 cup, hot
  • Brown sugar                                     1 tbsp
  • Sweetened whipped cream            to top
  • Instant coffee/cocoa powder         to garnish

Pour the coffee into the cup, add the whiskey and brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Float the whipped cream above, sprinkle a little instant coffee/cocoa powder on top and serve immediately.

 

Confessions of a Winemaker – Ajoy Shaw, Sula Vineyards

Name : Ajoy Shaw

Designation : Winemaker

Corporation : Sula Vineyards

 

If I wasn’t making wine, I’d be… :

Experimenting with food in the kitchen

Favourite fruit apart from grapes, I’d like to use to make wine from… :

Apples

Favourite perfume / cologne is… :

Rarely use any perfume, but prefer Old Spice musk

ajoy_shawFavourite wine region in the world is… :

Rhone valley

As a wine maker my number one asset is my… :

Experience, which improves year after year and gives me many more ideas on how to handle the fruit

I’d like to see my wine drunk by… :

Every Indian

Something a wine maker should never do is… :

Complain about the fruit or the vintage. Use your gut feeling and make the best wine.

My wine making mentor is… :

Kerry Damskey. I have learnt so much working with him for the last 15 years.

Behind every successful wine maker is a…:

A good vineyard

My desert island wine is… :

A wonderful old vintage Port wine coming out of a treasure chest!

Confessions of a Winemaker – Karishma Grover, Grover Vineyards

Name : Karishma Grover

Designation : Winemaker

Corporation : Grover Vineyards

 

If I wasn’t making wine, I’d be… :

I don’t know! I think I have found my passion quite early on, and am very grateful for that!

Favourite fruit apart from grapes, I’d like to use to make wine from… :

I don’t really like wine made from other fruit. In any case- the dictionary definition of wine is alcohol produced from grapes.

Favourite perfume / cologne is… :

This changes every year almost! Last year it was CK in2u, and currently it is Miss Dior. Tomorrow, who knows!

Karishma Grover

Favourite wine region in the world is… :

India! California is also very dear to me, as it is where I studied and learned a lot of what I know.

As a wine maker my number one asset is my… :

Passion.

I’d like to see my wine drunk by… :

Everyone. I think wine is an enjoyable drink that often gets lost under all the ceremony.

Something a wine maker should never do is… :

Close their minds to trying new wines- learning. It is a lovely industry to grow in, and one should never reach a point where they know everything.

My wine making mentor is… :

Michel Rolland. He was one of my main influences to even join the industry.

My desert island wine is… :

Champagne! Veuve Cliquot.

Beervana – 3..2..1.. Launch – Bira 91

The name Bira evokes different things to people from different part of India. If you’re from Punjab, then you’ll probably equate it to “big brother” and if you’re from the west of India, then it’s also a slang which you might relate to. What it does however definitely stand for is well crafted beer, imagined in India and made with Belgian beer making prowess. It’s apt therefore that we’re at the residence of the Belgian ambassador to India, Mr. Jan Luykx and his wife, Mrs. Raka Singh (the marriage being another example of a Indo-Belgian partnership that has worked!) to celebrate the launch of Bira in India.

Ankur Jain of Cerana (left) and Mr. Jan Luykx, the Ambassador of Belgium (on right)
Ankur Jain of Cerana (left) and Mr. Jan Luykx, the Ambassador of Belgium (on right)

The full name of the beer is Bira 91, and the 91 signifies the India country code. The logo itself is that of a playful monkey, with the monkey signifying the playful and youthful nature of the brand, as well as personifies the intelligence which you’d associate with monkey’s.

Tulleeho's Rakshit Khurana leads media representatives through a tasting
Tulleeho’s Rakshit Khurana leads media representatives through a tasting

Bira 91 marks Cerana’s evolution from an importer of specialty beer to a brewer. Ankur of Cerana felt that the time was right for Indian consumers to pay a premium for a young Indian brand of beer. It’s been positioned as “the first craft beer with a youthful Indian identity, a brand that is trendy, fun, social, smart and unconventional.”

There are two variants being launched to start with, the White, which is a wheat beer and the Blonde, which is an extra hoppy craft lager.

An IPA is scheduled for release for the summer of 2015. Cerana is brewing these to their specifications in Belgium, and shipping them over to India and Ankur doesn’t rule out local production in time to come.

Bira is (or will shortly be) available both on tap in bars as well as in bottle, in major retail outlets, in NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata.

image1

Cocktail Time – Holi Specials

Holi is a time of unabated merrymaking and needless to say booze forms a big part of the celebrations. The cocktails listed here are simple yet delicious and refreshing daytime drinks that are easy to prepare and don’t need too much of pre-preparation. Most of them have fresh ingredients as a part of the recipe so that there is still some bit health quotient in them! And needless to say, they’re all colourful.

Anarkali

Anarkali
Anarkali

Fans of ginger, rejoice! Warm spice on the nose and palate is balanced out beautifully by sharp orange peel and fresh white grapes in this contemporary Tulleeho special.

Ingredients

  • Gin              60 ml
  • White grapes         8-10
  • Orange peel 1 strip
  • Fresh ginger 1-inch piece
  • Sugar syrup  10 ml
  • Ice              to fill shaker

Preparation

Muddle the grapes, orange peel, fresh ginger and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, add the gin, then shake and double-strain into a chilled rocks glass. Serve immediately.

Spicy Tequila Sour

This potent concoction delivers heady heat right up front. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Ingredients

  • 45 ml Tequila
  • 6 Lime Chunks
  • 2 tsp Castor Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp powdered White Pepper
  • Crushed ice (to fill 3/4th glass)
  • Lime peel spiral (to garnish)

Preparation

Muddle the lime, sugar and pepper in the glass. Add the crushed ice, pour in the tequila and stir. Garnish with the lime peel spiral and serve.

Cucumber Mintini
Cucumber Mintini

Cucumber Mintini

For those who prefer their tipple on the herbaceous side, the Cucumber Mintini is zesty and refreshing.

Ingredients

  • Vodka                  45 ml
  • Cointreau     15 ml
  • Cucumber    ½, peeled, de-seeded and chunked
  • Mint            10-12 fresh sprigs
  • Sugar syrup  5 ml or to taste (optional)
  • Lime juice    5 ml
  • Ice              to fill shaker

Preparation

Muddle the cucumber chunks and mint in a cocktail shaker, reserving a mint sprig for garnish. Add the vodka, Cointreau, sugar syrup, lime juice and ice, and shake well. Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with the remaining mint sprig and serve at once.

All recipes, courtesy, the Tulleeho Book of Cocktails.

Tulleeho Grapevine – Wine and Cheese, a match made in heaven

WC 1If you are reading this chances are that you have tried one of the most classic food and wine combinations of all times and if not already done so, I hope that’s the first thing you’ll do after reading this. Yes, I am talking about wine and cheese.

 

 

 

While travelling across the seven continents I interacted with hundreds of epicureans who would enjoy some cheese with their wine and some who preferred the opposite, but just a handful agreed with me when I said that “pairing wine and cheese isn’t as easy as you think”. After all, how hard can it be to put together two things which taste great on their own, right? Well, Not exactly.

Should always compliment each other

Even though each one of us has a different palate and taste for all things good (wine and cheese), I have put together a basic wine and cheese guide which will help you choose the next time you are sipping on some ‘somras’ to discover your favourite combination.

Just like wine varies in body, structure, acidity, sweetness, so does cheese, which varies in fat content, moisture, texture and flavour. To give you another example wines can be classified as those which are young and ready to be drunk while they are fresh with lively citrus, floral, herbs and other fresh aromas. And then there are those wines which have stood the test of time either in an oak cask or through bottle ageing and develop further and lend flavours and aromas of oak, vanilla, sweet spices, leather, tobacco, etc. to the wine. The cheese world is not very different, as some cheeses which have the potential to age lose their moisture content over time thus concentrating the fat and proteins which makes the cheese more flavourful and rich. That should give you a clue to our first pro tip, “match the flavour intensity” in light of age.

Having said that there are many other factors which need to be evaluated before you recommend a wine and cheese pairing for your guests (like a pro!). Let’s make it easy by dividing the cheese into the following categories: Hard and aged, Semi hard and medium aged and soft and fresh.

Hard & Aged Cheese:

Remember the last time your server recommended a nice juicy steak with a wc2high tannin red wine? That was because the tannins in the wine bind very well with the protein and fat to give a balanced taste, only in this case it will be an aged cheese. Cheeses like aged cheddar, aged gouda, aged gruyere, Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano pair well with high tannic wines like Californian Cabernets, Italian Barolos and Barbaresco, Malbec or a red blend from the Rhone valley. But having them with young cheese lacking the protein and fat, the same wine will give you a metallic aftertaste. If you are a fan of white wines you can consider a full bodied white like a Californian oaked chardonnay, aged whites from Burgundy or even a high quality Viognier.

 

A Vintage Champagne or a Blanc de Blanc shall make up for an excellent aperitif to get things started. If you are serving these cheeses post dinner reach out for the likes of Sauternes, Oloroso Sherry or a Port.

Semi Hard Cheese:

This category of cheese includes Edam, Emmenthal, Gruyere, Cheddar (young) and Monterey Jack, to name a few. These cheeses still have a firm texture and medium strong flavours. White wine lovers can sip on an off dry Riesling, Gewürztraminer, un oaked chardonnays and Viognier with these cheeses. For lovers of bubbly a Prosecco shall do the trick if you don’t want to splurge on Champagne. Fruity red wines with medium body and well integrated tannins are a perfect match with this category. Merlots, Pinot Noir, Reds from Burgundy or in some cases a good Beaujolais make up for a worthy accompaniment with these cheeses.

Before we go on to our next style of cheese it’s time for pro tip no. 2 Compliment or Contrast”

When pairing wine and cheese think about the texture of cheese and the wine you are pairing it with. You can either choose a wine which compliments the cheese texture (Soft Brie with a buttery oaked chardonnay) or it can be a contrast (Camembert and Champagne, a classic!)

Champagne and Camembert
Champagne and Camembert

Soft & Fresh:

These are young cheeses that prefer similar wines which are crisp, acidic and fresh with flavours of citrus, tropical and stone fruit. Avoid going for high tannin reds with this genre (unless you like the taste of chalk).

Some typical examples of this variety include Feta, Brie, Camembert, Mozarella and Ricotta. For white wine lovers there is a whole range of wines that can be paired with these cheeses such as Riesling, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliner or even a dry rose to name a few. If you are a fan of reds like me cin-cin to a glass of Beaujolais or a Frizzante Lambrusco. You can never keep a bubbly out of action, whereas Champagne is a no brainer you can also toast to a Cava with some of those mentioned above.

While the above mentioned are some basic principles to help you get started, just remember “never be ruled out by rules” (pro tip no. 3) and the only way to increase your WQ (Wine Quotient) is to continue trying different wines.

Also find below a cheat sheet for easy wine and cheese pairing

Tulleeho!

Rakshit Khurana

Cheat Sheet

Cheddar, aged gouda, aged gruyere, Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano Californian Cabernets, Italian Barolos and Barbaresco, Malbec, Californian oaked chardonnay, Chablis, a high quality Viognier
Edam, Emmenthal, Gruyere, Cheddar(young) and Monterey Jack Off dry Riesling, Gewürztraminer, un oaked chardonnays, Viognier, Prosecco, Champagne, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais
Feta, Brie, Camembert, Mozarella and Ricotta Riesling, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, a dry rose, Beaujolais, Lambrusco, Cava, Champagne

 

Bruno Yvon – MD, Moet Hennessy India and Indian sub-continent

Name : Bruno Yvon

Designation : Managing Director, India and Indian sub-continent

Corporation : Moet Hennessy

I’m sitting with Bruno at the Moet Hennessy office in Lower Parel, Mumbai

One thing you’d like to change about the Indian market:

Very high duties

Who (or what) do you think sets drinking trends in India?

Driven by what is available. So it’s very supply driven. In the South, it’s brandy, and in the North, whisky, which are the most popular beverages.

Bruno Yvon
Bruno Yvon

What according to you is the most overrated drinking fad / drink in India at the moment?

Binge Drinking. One should drink less and drink better quality products.

What’s the next big thing for India?

Wine is going to be very big. You can see that more and more nowadays. It’s reached a point now, wherein the quality of what is available and the size of the audience have both increased. The other big trend is trading up, people are spending more and more on better quality beverages.

Which is your favourite beverage brand ad campaign?

The Moet and Chandon campaign featuring Scarlett Johansson.

scarlett-johansson-moet-chandon-2011-ad-campaign-01

Which is your favourite Bar in India and why?

I like sky bars, and  Aer and Asilo in Mumbai as well as Skyy in Bangalore are great examples. I also like PCO and Social in Delhi.

If you were stranded alone on a deserted island, what’s the one drink that you’d long for?

Dom Perignon ’86

Ami Shroff – Confessions of a Bartender

Where does she work: She” works at various outlets- freelances wherever the requirement may be. From backyard pool parties, corporate events, special club nights to the grandest of weddings- I join the bar as a guest bartender & performing artist for the occasion.
My favorite cocktail (and why): Cointreaulicious because it is my latest best discovery/creation. Favourite beverage is chai.

What kind of a cocktail program do you have: Where ever I bartend, I customise drinks to the preference of the guest. I almost never use sugar in my bar and find better alternatives like jaggery, honey, jams etc. Using mostly fresh ingredients and being as innovative as I could. All served with a touch of flair.

Ami Shroff
Ami Shroff

Craziest thing a customer’s ever done: A good crazy is when people let go and dance and give a good energy.
But Alcohol can lead to a various kinds of crazy. Excessive alcohol can lead to a bad crazy becoming something very appalling. The loud obnoxious violent sides or the make a fool of yourself side is a bad crazy to get.

Best tip I’ve got: I don’t take tips, but I will take a lesson. And many people have taught me lots along the way.

If a customer offers to buy me a drink, I’ll….Decide accordingly as per the request. And my favourite drink is chai.

My favorite bar tool is Perhaps the wiping cloth. Or the shaker tin.

The best cure for a hangover is Time, water & fresh air. Some food & a shower may help too.

Best drink to order if someone’s on a date is A cocktail you have never tried or your personal favourite beverage. Could work as a nice conversation starter.

Current Achievements

Winner La Maison Cointreau India 2014

Ashuli Saini – Confessions of a Bartender

Where does she work: The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts Ashuli Saini

My favorite cocktail (and why): ‘The Bathtub’ this cocktail is my take on the prohibition era of cocktails, this creation also gave me the opportunity to win the cocktail competition at The Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development. The intention behind naming it something unusual was the fact that when prohibition struck, alcohol enthusiasts were making spirits illegally, and ‘gin’ was mysteriously made in bathtubs, I certainly cannot vouch for the quality though. The cocktail has Herb Spiced Gin, Cointreau/ Grand Marnier, Framboise, white of egg and lemon juice the serving ritual has homemade bitter caramel candy and oranges with brandy snaps.

Craziest thing a customer’s ever done: One incident that will not fade away any time soon, was last year whilst I was training at The Oberoi, Amarvilas, Agra, where the Bar overlooks the spectacular panorama of Taj Mahal making any experience a memorable one. Though this guest was with his fiancée celebrating Valentine’s Day with the perfect setting of the monument of love in the background, he was pleased with the service I gave behind the bar, also had an amazing conversation with the adorable couple, I was satisfied that my guests were in good spirits but to my surprise the couple mysteriously stepped out brought a beautiful gift from the souvenir shop in the hotel, and presented as a Valentines gift for the bartender that made their trip to India extraordinary, it was beyond expressing how special they made me feel.

Best tip I’ve got: I can recall the time I was on Industrial training in Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, A Russian event had taken place, I remember getting gratuity worth 1500 AED by a lady who was more than tipsy, shockingly it wasn’t for the drink I fixed for her, but she announced the tip was for the smile I gave her.

If a customer offers to buy me a drink, I’ll….ask for ginger ale, it really helps during busy operation hours. On a serious note, I decline the offer in most cases.

My favorite bar tool is The recently acquired three piece cocktail shaker, which is pink in colour, and works wonders for any occasion from house parties to hotel events.

The best cure for a hangover is I affirm that tomato juice with freshly squeezed lemon, dash of Tabasco and pepper with carbs can cure any hangover, for summer months the orthodox fresh lime water works with no flaws.

I’d love to have a drink with – Jeremiah Thomas, famously known as Jerry Thomas, the father of American Mixology, the bartender who started it all.

Best drink to order if someone’s on a date is it’s the drink which was created by my favorite Indian Bartender, Mr. Devender Sehgal. It’s called The Optimist, the cocktail is opulent and minimal at the same time. Bacardi white with hints of ginger, honey and basil resulting in a glistening emerald elixir served in a champagne coupe. Its always essential to commence and finish a date on an ‘Optimistic’ note.

Confessions of a Mixologist – Claire Smith

“Excellent Choice, Mr. Bond”, this line from the promotional machinery of Moet Hennessy, the world’s premier luxury wines and spirits company, marks the move to Belvedere vodka, as the spirit of choice for Bond, James, for Spectre. To coincide with this coup, Claire is on her first trip to India to tell us why Bond’s choice in vodka is the right one, and how to enjoy the perfect Martini.

Claire is the head of spirit creation and mixology for Belvedere Vodka, a brand owned by Moet Hennessy. I never realised however that I’d end up discussing the laws of thermodynamics with this elegant blonde, who looked more at a home in a country manor, than in the rough and tumble of a night club bar.

Claire Smith
Claire Smith

 

Tulleeho – Bond has expressed a preference for his vodka martini, Shaken not Stirred. Does the technique make a difference to the intensity of the drink? Does shaking lessen the intensity of the drink, and hence is Bond a wussy?

Claire – No actually the 2nd rule of thermodynamics states that there can be no change once all the components of the liquid reach the same temperature. So once you’re shaking the Martini, the ingredients reach equilibrium very quickly and nothing else changes, so there’s no further dilution. You can shake a cocktail for 3-4 minutes, and you’ll have the same level of dilution. The difference is that when you stir a Martini, you’ll take much longer to reach that temperature. So it can take upto 90 seconds to get a cocktail down to -5 or -7 degrees, whereas it can take 3 to 5 seconds when you’re shaking. It’s really about the contact the ingredients have with ice, and you’re maximising the surface area when you’re shaking rather than stirring. So it’s not more dilute, it’s more aerated, it feels lighter, and it’s colder.

Tulleeho – Heineken reportedly paid USD 45 million, and got a hit and a miss in Skyfall. Can you control the level and type of exposure you get in Spectre?

Claire – We’re very excited to see how the brand is portrayed or animated in the movie. We’ve had lots of conversations with the production team. We’ve done a lot of internal training on the Martini, to make sure our message is communicated, and I can’t say any more than that at the moment.

 

Tulleeho – You also have a responsibility for helping develop Belvedere’s flavor portfolio. Any favourites here?

Claire – For Belvedere’s flavours, we use natural and fresh ingredients and are always Belvedere-Bloody-Mary---bottleexperimenting. Last year we launched Mango and Passion fruit, which was the first time we’ve launched something tropical, so that’s very fruit forward and is also a response to the very sweet style of flavours which are popular in the US. The Belvedere Bloody Mary is also a genuine innovation with us taking all the ingredients in a Belvedere Bloody Mary and infusing them into our vodka. The Pink Grapefruit is also an annual bestseller, as people like the innovation, but they also like something they can appreciate and use regularly.

Tulleeho – Bond’s had a long association with Smirnoff, so this is the first time that he’s upgraded his vodka. Why do you think he’s done that?

Claire – Thank you for saying that, I can’t speak about his association with Smirnoff, but it’s very exciting that we’re partners. In Dr No, he asks for Russian or Polish vodka, so we know that he’s a fan of both styles and it’s great to see that he’s selecting a Polish authentic vodka. We know that Bond is a big fan of vodka, so it’s only natural that in 2015 Bond – is picking a luxury vodka. “Excellent choice Mr. Bond”

TulleehoBelvedere is made from rye, as opposed to a lot of vodkas, which use wheat as a base. Rye v/s Wheat, what’s the difference?

Claire – Rye is probably a little more complex a grain than wheat. If you look at rye bread v/s white bread you’ll immediately see the difference. Wheat is a very delicate, light grain, When you distill it, you tend to create more of a neutral style of vodka, with possibly some hints of citrus, rye on the other hand has more of a broad palate, more complexity when you distil it, black pepper, white pepper, spices, to caramel, toffee, etc. somewhere in the middle between indulgent flavours and spice.

This can also depend on how and where it’s distilled. Wheat vodka in Russia can taste very different from wheat vodka in America. We’re using the distillation to liberate the lovely character of our grain. We’re using a lovely grain as well.

TulleehoAre you going to be in the movie?

Claire laughs – “I’m waiting for the call, I’m very busy, and I have to make some time, but for Daniel Craig, I’ll make some exceptions and move some stuff around.”

Tulleeho – What’s your Desert Island drink?

31dover-belvedere_pink_grapefruit-shadow320x1000_1_
Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Vodka

Claire – Belvedere Pink Grapefruit vodka goes with everything (and coconut water) and I love coconut water!

Cocktail Time – Mardi Gras Cocktails Special

Mardi Gras, which literally means Fat Tuesday, is the last day for Catholics to celebrate, before Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent. It’s also the opportunity for a massive party in New Orleans (NOLA), a city which also has a special place in cocktail history. To help you celebrate Mardi Gras on the 17th of February, we have for you some special cocktails.

Hurricane

Hurricane
Hurricane

A staple on NOLA’s cocktail scene, today, even the glass itself is a souvenir of New Orleans, and servers at Pat O’Brien’s, where the drink was first made will helpfully box yours to go when you’re finished.

Ingredients

  • 45 ml Light Rum
  • 30 ml Dark rum
  • 30 ml Orange Juice fresh
  • 30 ml Pineapple Juice fresh
  • 15 ml Lime Juice
  • 10 ml Passion Fruit syrup
  • Splash of Grenadine

Preparation

Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a hurricane glass.

Daiquiri

Daiquiri
Daiquiri

One of the most famous cocktails on Bourbon Street, NOLA. Additional fame came to the humble daiquiri when President John F. Kennedy proclaimed it his favorite pre-dinner drink.

Ingredients

  • 45 ml Light Rum
  • 20 ml Lime Juice
  • 15 ml Sugar Syrup

Preparation

Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Ramos Gin Fizz

Ramos Gin Fizz
Ramos Gin Fizz

Invented by a New Orleans barkeep, this gin drink tastes like a floral bouquet, thanks to the addition of orange flower water.

Ingredients

  • 60 ml Gin
  • 15 ml Lime Juice
  • 15 ml Sugar Syrup 2:1
  • 30 ml Fresh Cream
  • dash of Egg white pasteurized
  • 3 drops Vanilla Essence
  • few dashes of Orange flower water
  • top up with Soda

Preparation

Add all ingredients, except soda, in a shaker and hard shake. Strain into glass and top with soda.

Sumedh Singh Mandla – CEO, Grover Zampa Vineyards

Name : Sumedh Singh Mandla

Designation : CEO

Corporation : Grover Zampa Vineyards

I’m sitting with Sumedh at the Grover Zampa office in Mumbai’s Nariman Point.

One thing you’d like to change about the Indian market:

There are many things I’d like to change. Taxation for sure. Next we have 29 states run as 29 different markets and the cost of entering each market is huge. I come from a background of selling imported wines and spirits, and in my previous organization we always thought that domestic wine had many advantages relating to market access over imported wine, but I think it’s the other way around. Cost of doing business is almost the same for both. I hope that the government considers wine as an industry which benefits other supplementary industries like tourism, and which helps in rural employment generation.

Who do you think sets drinking trends in India?

I think the trend is part of culture. India is very diverse. Every state and city has it’s own trend. Bangalore was always known for pub culture, Delhi for whisky culture, and Mumbai for clubbing. If you talk especially about wine, then international travellers, Indians who go abroad, they pick up a lot of trends. The hotels and modern trade outlets, who pick up practices happening overseas and try to replicate them. Media plays a big role.

Sumedh Singh Mandla
Sumedh Singh Mandla

What according to you is the most overrated drinking fad / drink in India at the moment?

Un natural way of drinking, with lot of pre-dinner spirits consumption. More an exercise in getting drunk, rather than enjoying the evening and the company.

What’s the next big thing for India?

Premium segment. Higher disposable income is helping. Wine which currently is at 10 ml per capita consumption is for sure going to grow. In beer we have seen that craft beer is growing. In spirits, single malts have grown, and certain white spirits which are more closely linked to cocktail mixing.

Which is your favourite beverage brand ad campaign?

I admire the Absolut campaign and the Johnnie Walker Keep Walking campaign.

Which is your favourite Bar in India and why?

Aer at the Four Seasons. Dome at the Intercon Marine

One fictional character that you’d like to share a drink with?

Always liked The legend of Bruce Lee. Would have loved to share a glass of wine with him.

If you were stranded alone on a deserted island, what’s the one drink that you’d long for?

Water and Sparkling Wine.  Zampa Soiree Brut or any good champagne. GZ_Zampa_soiree_gold

Tulleeho Grapevine – Following the ‘Reserves’ of India

India is fast evolving as a wine consuming market. While some may not agree with the word ‘fast’, however, change in the wine consumption pattern from the past few years does suggests so. Consumers have moved to appreciating wines and celebrating it at their drink of choice, in an unprecedented manner. What’s further commendable is the spill over of consumption at hotels and restaurants to create a positive sale in the retail sector as well.

While this growing consumption has been beneficial for the imported section, our domestic producers have a steadily growing share in the pie too, commendably at various price points. It was long-due and is now justifying the high price tag given their produces’ quality.

Recently, my research and work opened an opportunity to interact directly with the denizens behind Indian wineries. Though we may not have any concrete regulations commanding wine-production templates yet, this may have worked well for our local winemakers and viticulturists. Working alongside global wine consultants, the experience gained has certainly helped our domestic production evolve.

A new fashion was noticed along the winemaking spectrum, from bigger wineries to the boutique producers – developing barrel-ageing programs. This is backed up by the constantly increasing production of the ‘Reserve’ collection (ideally suggesting wines using oak barrels) in their portfolios.

The subject of oak barrels is much broader than just adding oak aromas or rectifying wine making faults. They assist the wine’s characteristics reach its full potential. Barrel-aging soften the wine’s tannins, bringing a well-rounded mouth-feel. Being porous, it allows controlled amount of oxygen to seep through over a long period of time, which interacts with the chemical components of the wine, developing new aromas and flavours, as well as helps preserve the wine. Elegant tannins present provide roundness and structure. All in all, barrel-aging adds richness and complexity to the wines.

Quality attracts recognition, and this is one way through which our domestic wines are achieving great heights, not just in the Indian market but internationally too. Winning more and more accolades at international wine tastings is a clear sign of the growing quality.

Following are some of the wines listed below that are aged in oak barrels. The duration of ageing is subject to the philosophy of the winery but red wines in India are usually aged from 4 to 18 months.

1. Charosa Reserve Tempranillo 2012

 

Charosa Reserve Tempranillo 2012

Taming an international grape for the first time is a great achievement and that is precisely what Charosa’s winemaker, Ashok Patil has done. Adapting and producing a good quality Tempranillo in the Indian terrior that usually flourishes in Spain is a great accomplishment. A medium bodied wine with a concentration of ripe red fruits such as strawberry and plums as well as notes of leather, tobacco leaves, fresh vegetal characteristics. The use of one year old oak barrels for a period of 12 months provides the wine with perfect integration of fruit characteristics that is not over powered by the oak compounds. A must try!

2. York Arros

 

York Arros

The word ‘reserve’ might not be printed on the label but do not get mistaken! This wine is a blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon which goes through both, French and American oak barrel ageing for a period of 12 – 14 months. One of the few wineries that keeps the wine in bottles for almost a year before releasing it in the market to give that extra roundness to this beautiful aromatic full bodied wine. Ripe red fruits with hints of dark chocolate and coffee aromas with well integrated juicy ripe tannins are some of the key characteristics of the well balanced wine.

3. KRSMA Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

 

KRSMA Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Like the much talked about KRSMA Sangiovese, this too has very good integration of ripe fruit tannins with the subtle spiciness of oak. A bouquet of cassis, nutmeg, dark chocolate and ripe dark fruits supplemented by the roundness of the body on the palate makes you want to go for another glass. And then another! The wines are aged for 12 months in French oak barrels before being bottled.

 

4. Grover – Zampa Chéne Grand Reserve

 

Grover – Zampa Chéne Grand Reserve

Chéne literally means oak and as the name suggests this wine sees French oak barrel ageing for a minimum of 15 months. A full bodied wine made from a blend of Shiraz and Tempranillo that keeps evolving even when decanted. Notes spread across juicy blackcurrant, plum, liquorice, dark chocolate, vanilla, sweet spice coffee and cinnamon accompanied with a well balance structure of tannins, acidity and finish.

 

5. Fratelli Sette

 

Fratelli Sette

Sette is the top end wine produced by Fratelli. Only those grapes are used that are selected by their Italian winemaker Piero Masi from the 250+ acres that are managed by them. A full bodied wine that is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese which sees oak ageing in French barrels for a period of 14 months.

 

 

6. Vallone Cabernet Sauvignon Classique

 

Vallone Cabernet Sauvignon Classique

A concentration of ripe black fruits such as blackberry and blackcurrant dominate the aromatic characteristics of this wine. The palate is well supported by the ripe tannins and good acidity levels integrated by ageing this wine in French oak barrels. The finish has hints of leather and green pepper.

 

 

7. SDU Syrah Reserve

 

SDU Shiraz

This medium bodied vibrant and rich wine is made from hand-picked grapes of the highest quality under the supervision of their Italian winemaker Andrea Valentinuzzi. Aged in French oak barrels, this wine shows great complexity. Well balanced wine showcasing fruity aromas which are integrated and held together with the spicy notes and smooth tannins.

 

8. Sula Rasa

 

Sula Rasa

Rasa is the flagship wine by Sula. It was introduced as the wine that would be made only in best vintage year. A full bodied wine that goes through a barrel ageing program showcasing strong fruity characteristics accompanied by sweet spices and integrated sandy tannins.

 

 

 

This article is contributed by Arjun Sachar.

Arjun Sachar

Arjun Sachar (4)Arjun Sachar is the Country Representative, India for Tonnellerie Demptos. Demptos is one of the best-regarded makers of oak barrels in the world. Having a history as coopers for nearly two centuries, their clients include the entire range of the Bordeaux First Growth and some of the most famous names such as Domaine Romanée Conti, Opus One, Dominus, Mauro, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, Tenuta San Guido – Sassicaia and Marchesi de’Frescobaldi to name a few. They have cooperages in Bordeaux, France; Napa, California; Hungary as well as assembly units in other parts of the world including Spain and China.

Cocktail Time – V-Day Cocktails Special

While we firmly believe that one doesn’t need a dedicated day to celebrate love, nonetheless why not celebrate the day with some concoctions that are brilliantly aromatic and pleasing on the palate… slightly sweet and colourful – much like your better half! While they might take a bit of perfection to make, they are worth the effort, sip after sip!

Cocktails courtesy – Tulleeho Book of Cocktails

Anarita
Anarita

Anarita

Ruby-red pomegranate gives this drink a brilliant hue and a lovely flavour. Try it as a fresh twist on the traditional Margarita.

Ingredients

Tequila                 45 ml
Cointreau              15 ml
Pomegranate juice          60 ml
Pomegranate seeds        2 tbsp
Lime juice             5 ml
Ice                       to fill shaker

 

Preparation

Muddle the pomegranate seeds in the shaker, saving a few as garnish. Add the remaining ingredients along with the ice, shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the remaining pomegranate seeds and serve.

Pinky

Definitely one for the ladies! This gorgeous-looking drink is a sure favourite for that special ladies’ lunch or a girls’ night out.

Pinky
Pinky

Ingredients

Vodka                           45 ml
Peach Schnapps     15ml
Strawberry             5-6, fresh
Lime wedge           1
Sugar syrup           10 ml
Crushed ice           to top glass

Preparation

Save one whole strawberry for the garnish. De-stem and roughly chop the remaining strawberries and muddle them in the glass with the lime wedge. Add the vodka, peach schnapps and sugar syrup. Top with crushed ice and stir. Slit the remaining strawberry partways vertically, perch it on the rim of the glass and serve.

Lolita

This Tulleeho original is perfect for the grown-up little girl in you. The cassis-and-pineapple combination is delicious, with a beautiful colour.

Ingredients

London dry gin      45 ml
Crème de cassis    15 ml (If you don’t have crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur), use 15 ml of blackcurrant syrup instead, and increase the gin measure to 60 ml.
Pineapple juice      90 ml
Ice                       to fill shaker
Fresh pineapple     wedge, to garnish

Preparation

Lolita
Lolita

 

Add all the liquid ingredients to a shaker full of ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Make a pineapple ‘flag’ by spearing the pineapple wedge onto a cocktail stirrer, garnish the drink and serve.

Tulleeho Grapevine – Kebabs and Wine – A match made in heaven

Pairing wine with Indian food is not as complex as it is made to be.
The realm of delicious matches is only limited to your imagination. There
is some widespread debate on how well Indian cuisine pairs with wine. I
personally, am optimistic on that rationale. The basic qualities that hold
wine and food in perfect harmony is the flavour, body, proteins and spices,
which is found in the extensive, varied and elaborate preparations of

Indian food categorized into Kebabs, Curries & Biryani. The traditional
conventional methods about pairing food with whites and reds does not hold
true in Indian cuisine for example a heavy creamy and spicy lamb curry or
beef korma will pair well with whites and flavorful seafood dish can go
well with lighter reds.

Indian  food is a mix of all the aspects. The kebabs cooked on
‘Tawa’, ‘Angeethi’, the ‘Tandoor’; with the right kind of cut marinated in
magical spices to be paired with wine is a prized combination. Livelier,
tangy Sauvignon Blancs, crispy Chardonnay and aromatic & flowery Chenin
Blanc are recommended ones. Though the Viogniers & Rieslings are always on my top list with Spicier versions of Kebabs. The Qorma, Qaliyan & Salan become the
perfect match to the full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec & Shiraz.
The fruitier new world wines from New Zealand and Australia are great picks
with the Indian Curries.

With Indian cuisine you’re unlikely to find that red wines with a lot
of heavy tannin are very food-friendly, and the same is true of both reds
and whites that have been heavily oaked, especially with lots of new oak.
The spice will tend to over-accentuate the tannic, oaky character of these
wines and in turn will overpower the food itself. However, a lightly-oaked
white, even a Chardonnay, particularly one aged with the slightly creamier,
vanilla and coconut character of American oak, can be a healthy pairing
with a dish that has coconut milk as part of its base.

Karanbir Singh Gulati,
Banquets Manager
WelcomHotel, Dwarka

Letter from Edinburgh – The Scottish Bar

The Scottish Bar – A  Welcome Return

After 12 years living in SE Asia, I have returned to Scotland and it’s capital city Edinburgh. There were many things I missed while overseas and one of them was the good old fashioned Scottish “Free House”  bar.  When I left it seemed they were in decline but it looks as though they are back with vengeance!

Beer or ale has been produced and consumed in Scotland for thousands of years. As for Whisky, it isn’t known when exactly the art of  distilling arrived but it was certainly being produced for the royalty in the 15th century – whisky is in fact the offspring of beer!  Initially whisky was distilled by the religious men (for medicinal purposes) in their monasteries  but it eventually moved  out to the farmlands where there was a plentiful supply of barley for beer and hence whisky.

My job is marketing and selling Scotch Whisky throughout the world and I love a dram of whisky but I  don’t think a bar is complete unless it has a good range of beers to compliment a  selection of whiskies!

The Traditional Scottish Bar / Free House

A “Free House” is a bar that is not owned and dictated to by a brewery and establishments were “Inns” where travelers could not only have a drink but stay the night  or a “Tavern” in the towns and cities offering food and drink and where many societies and clubs got together. Both these outlets
would have stocked a range of local brews and whiskies.

In England they are famous for their “Public Houses”, both in their cities and countryside. While in Scotland our establishments have been known as Bars” rather than “Public Houses”, mainly due to the fact that it was seen as a place where drinks were offered as a service over a counter. Another big difference is in Scotland there was always a likeness for Spirits (especially whisky) as well as beers and our outlets reflected this.

When I left Scotland in the early 2000’s, many traditional bars had been or were being taken over by the large breweries.  The stock reflected these huge companies portfolios and hence the experience of going to a bar and spending a good evening sampling a range of beers and finishing off with a dram almost disappeared. Although a good few bars stayed loyal “Free Houses”  the majority were going down the generic brewery owned and “themed” route.

So it was a pleasant surprise to arrive back in Scotland and find so many bars now stocking a great range of beers and whiskies. I am really not sure whether it is the fact that hundreds of micro-breweries are cropping up that bars are listing these beers or whether these brewers are opening up due to the demand. But there is  quite  clearly a big market for proper beer and whisky now and that can only be good for the consumer and long may it continue.

Another interesting development was that recently one of the local micro-breweries has invested in a still to allow them to make whisky – back to the traditional  farm yard distillery?

So it looks like we have gone the full circle and I welcome the return of the traditional Scottish bar. In celebration of that I will have the old Scottish drinking mans favourite “a hauf and a hauf”  – a half pint of
beer and a whisky chaser!

Slainte Mhath (Cheers and good health)

Andrew Skene

Andrew Skene

Andrew SkenHailing from Aberdeen on the doorstep of Speyside – Scotland’s whisky
producing heartland, he grew up with a love of Scotch Whisky. Setting off
to Singapore in 2003 to  bring his passion  for Scotland’s national drink
to Asia, he has created various  whisky concepts and run  numerous tasting
and training sessions  over the last decade.  Now based back in Edinburgh,
Scotland he is back at the source  ensuring only the finest spirit is sent
overseas.

Drinking Out – The Good Wife, Mumbai

There’s a pair of women’s legs hanging on the wall at one end of the bar, and the speculation around our table is if the legs are crossed or open, as it’s not immediately obvious. Given that the bar is called The Good Wife, the decision could swing either way, depending on which side of your cheek your tongue is in.

It’s not women’s legs we’ve come to see though at The Good Wife, though, but to sample their cocktails which are getting quite buzzy at the moment in Mumbai, as is the whole outlet, situated as it is in BKC. With a cocktail menu designed by Dimi Lezinska (former global brand ambassador for Grey Goose Vodka and host of TV show, The Cocktail Kings), we were expecting good things. The late arrival of a colleague however led to us starting off our evening with a pint of Dunkel from the Gateway Brewing Company, and I messaged Navin Mittal, the co-founder of Gateway to let him know we were giving him some custom!

Awaiting the arrival of the Dunkel, gave us time to look around. We were sitting in the bar area, which comprised a a series of long tables in front of the bar, as also some lounge seating at one end. The restaurant area has clusters of tables, with booths on one side for those wanting a little more privacy.

Sweta’s arrival prompts us to take a closer look at the Cocktail menu, and our first order is off, 50 Shades of Green, the Wolf of BKC and Mrs Robinson are our first orders, all priced at between INR 450 and INR 600, so the pricing isn’t extortionate, but probably a 100 bucks more than what I’d ideally like to see in a cocktail bar. Most of the cocktails are quirkily named, and unfortunately seem to have a surfeit of ingredients. The Mrs Robinson for example has citrus vodka, orange liqueur, citrus, lavender syrup, orange flower water, orange bitters, egg white and a lavender spray.

It’s not easy for all these ingredients to jostle around in a cocktail, with each holding it’s own, but we still decided to take the plunge.A portion of Pork sliders and Chicken Tostadas rounded up our order.


The cocktails were swift to reach us, The Wolf of BKC and Mrs Robinson (a lady who’s always been close to my heart, and possibly a source of inspiration for the name The Good Wife!) are in old fashioned glasses and 50 shades in a Pilsner glass. The drinks presentation is nice, but not exceptional I’d say. Each drink also comes accompanied by it’s own spray, so our 3 glasses have 3 misters by the side, and these are duly deployed on our drinks by the waiter. I think I’d prefer it if the mister was used as a special touch on one / possibly two cocktails in the menu, but to have it in every drink, seemed like overkill. DD and I both however enjoyed our cocktails, the Wolf and Mrs R, while Sweta was disappointed with 50 shades.., saying that she wasn’t able to distinguish individual flavours in the drink. The snacks were however very good.
Y Tu Mamá También (and your mother too)
Y Tu Mamá También (and your mother too)

As we polished of our first round of cocktails, a surprise was on it’s way to us. A tray bearing 3 glasses of the Gateway Hefeweizen, courtesy Rahul from the Gateway Brewing Company. Let it never be said that we turned down a free drink, and we gratefully chugged the pint down. The next cocktails were also ordered, Y Tu Mama Tambien for Sweta and 3 Shades North (I think!) for DD. As also, another assortment of appetisers, some tuna and some prawns. The place was filling up gradually, about par for a Wednesday evening I guess. The music was buzzy, and the vibe was good. Unfortunately for the outlet however, we seemed to be the only bunch drinking cocktails, and Kingfisher draught appeared to be the most common drink on the table. For an outlet which appears to have invested heavily in it’s cocktails, that’s sad, and I’d expect that the management took some more proactive steps to build cocktail culture, rather than just leaving it to the guests!

Confessions of a Bar Owner – Yangdup Lama, Cocktails and Dreams Speakeasy, Gurgaon

If I wasn’t running a bar, I’d be… a monk on a retreat in a cave somewhere in the Himalayas

My bar’s name is Cocktails and Dreams—— because…because I am a bartender first followed by a dream

I love customers who… sit in the corner stool at the bar counter

Customers who are drinking too much should be…given a special preference for they are our savior. They know how much money we have invested in setting up the bar.

I’d like to have a drink with… His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Yangdup Lama

I value a bartender who… maintains a good beverage cost, makes fine drinks, strikes a good conversation, works smart when busy and keeps his guest happy all the time

The nightlife in Delhi is the best in the world because…if the bar shuts you still know where to get your booze and party for the rest of the night.

The happiest person in a bar is…  The man behind the bar

Tulleeho!

Dregs – Crazy about Rum – Sanjit Singh

zaya_large_boxed
A beauty from Trinidad

Martinique is an island in the lesser Antilles in the Caribbean sea, crowned by a volcano called Mont Pelee which wiped out the city of St. Pierre in 1902. A place of great beauty, it wasn’t the volcano however which captivated Sanjit, but a bottle of rum from that island, which when he first had it 10 odd years ago, had him spellbound. Until then as he says, he had only drunk the usual suspects of Old Monk, Bacardi and Captain Morgan. This particular rum was however made in the style of Rum Agricole, which is made from sugarcane juice, unlike the bulk of rums the world over, which are made from molasses and are known as Rum Industrielle. Agricole rums are smooth as silk, and enjoyed with ice and water, very much as you might a glass of Single Malt. And the first drink we enjoy in his house is Rum Zaya, from the island of Trinidad, and an excellent example of a Rum Agricole. Since then, he’s stayed loyal to rum, and as he says, has never “graduated to drinking whisky”. “I tried it”, he says, “but it didn’t do anything for me”.

At current point Sanjit has over 50 rums from around the world, and as we sip the Rum Zaya, he starts bringing out some of the choicer rums from his collection, and we discuss the obsession that collecting rum has become for him. Collecting rum hasn’t been easy, and it helps that he travels frequently, as also passes on requests to friends. He doesn’t really believe in collecting really expensive rums, and there are some rums he says which are known as “shipwrecked rums”, which as the name suggests may have been salvaged from shipwrecks and can quite often sell for a few 1000 pounds. Most of the rum he collects is dark rum. He doesn’t like white rum. Some of the gold rums (anejos) are ok, he says while spiced rums are a hit and miss, though some can be good.

Unfortunately in India, says Sanjit rum as a drink has got short shrift, which is sad in a country, where there is a significant consumption of rum and where you will find rum made across multiple states. It’s a fall out of Old Monk’s popularity says Sanjit and the fact that you get a hugely accepted product at 300 rupees. It’s a fantastic benchmark, so no one really sees value in buying a product which is 4 or 5 times the price. As Sanjit goes on to say, the fact that rum is made in so many places around the world means that it has more variety than say Scotch whisky, which adds to the allure of the spirit. The popularity of rum has also increased the world over, and 15 years if you went to a liquor shop in the US you’d barely find 10 to 15 rums. Now you’ll find 50 different kinds of rum. The increase in immigration into the US from the Caribbean has also definitely helped boost the cause of rum in the US.

He’s hopeful though for the future of rum in India. As a few years ago, it was seen as a little cheap to be collecting rum or have rum in your bar, but that’s no longer the case. As Sanjit says, who would have thought 15 years ago, that wine would get so popular in India. Another issue that rum faces is that it’s perceived as a seasonal drink, to be drunk in the winters.

It’s the paradox of rum, that even at the swishest of parties in India, or even 5 star hotel bars, you will find a bottle of Old Monk, but it’s these same customers who even though they love rum, will baulk at paying a few thousand rupees for a bottle of rum.

The Man from Martinique
The Man from Martinique

After the Zaya, we move on to Rhum Clement, another Agricole style rum, from Martinique. I ask him how he normally drinks his rum, and he says, “it’s normally half tonic, half soda, with a dash of lemon, instead of cola. Cola is too sweet”. Rum cocktails he dismisses as a waste of time.

Samaroli
Samaroli

He brings out some of the stars of his collection, an Appleton estate 25 yo and a Samaroli. The Samaroli is made by an Italian  who blends rums, and makes them in small batches of 300-400 bottles of each. Rums of the Caribbean or Rums of Africa for example, all bottled in Scotland. “when will you open it?”, I ask him, “a special day”, “It will be one, when I open it”, he replies.

Anchal Kaushal

AnchalAnchal Kaushal is a whisky mentor by profession, she spent eleven years in the corporate world, of which seven years were dedicated towards the alcoholic beverage industry brand marketing.
This change in career was born out of the love for whisky and the desire to dedicate herself to the passion of seeking a deeper knowledge into this water of life !
She now runs a fabric called LIQUID SUNSHINE, with tastings and appreciations to help you discover and refine your palate. She believes in enjoying the evocative, sensorial journey of whisky discovery and having some great conversations along the way ! anchal@liquidsunshine.in

Drinking out in Hyderabad

I’m in Hyderabad for the second time this year and this time I decided to venture out and visit a few of the famous bars here.

Wednesdays – The best day to go out in the middle of the week and binge on a few drinks with friends, and I did just that. Met up with my friend and a few of her work colleagues at Air Café Lounge on Road No. 36, Jubilee Hills. The seating at the entrance was quite nice and seemed very relaxed – open air with a lot of tables, this section was full but I couldn’t find my friend. I proceeded to the inside only to be greeted by a bartender Sai, whom I knew from a training I had conducted at Over the Moon, he just shifted jobs here recently. The bar back had 3 large TV screens playing the same channel; it was bright and right in my face, I couldn’t tell what was on the display. There was quite a big dance floor right beside the bar with a DJ.

Adriana and our Hookah

I went on to the other side of the outdoor section, which wasn’t open air and spotted my friend there. I needed a drink! Ordered myself an Adriana cocktail (Light rum, rosemary, apple), which was suggested by Sai. I didn’t like it too much, tasted like an over sweet Daiquiri, and had rosemary sprinkled on the top. Sai replaced it immediately and I didn’t like the second one either, so I exchanged my cocktail with my friend’s beer – sorted! My friend and her colleagues were there for the Hookah – with a flavor called Paan Rasna & Mint. I’m from Bangalore and you won’t find even one place that serves Hookah!

For my second drink, I decided to play it safe and ordered myself a Captain & Cola, since there wasn’t any of my favourite monk. There was a terrace section that seemed interesting so my friend and I took a look around. A large screen that was playing a football game, there were very few tables occupied. I would have liked to sit here but we were told that the top section was full (no it wasn’t!), but that’s fine. Apparently Air gets crazy during the weekend and is a must visit.

It was a work night and everyone had an early morning so we called it a night, but I didn’t! I headed straight to my favorite place in Hyderabad – Over the Moon, which was a five-minute walk away. I pretty much know everyone here, since I’ve conducted training for their staff, and worked on a new cocktail menu for them, which is due to launch in January, can’t wait to see the response to the new menu! Said my hellos to everyone and stuck to my Captain and Cola. OTM is all about a great ambiance, good music, great service and a great outdoor drinking experience.

Throwback Thursdays, they say, a day to explore the city! A short walk from my hotel is Coco’s Bar & Kitchen, and it’s drizzling, wasn’t too bad though. It’s got this Goan shack kind of feeling, located on the second floor and is partly open air. This place hosts solo or duo artists on a daily basis! I don’t think I’ve seen or heard of any place that plays live music every day. The place was full, so I headed straight to the bar and ordered the usual. As soon as I receive my order, Arpit, with his guitar and harmonica, plays “Have you ever seen the rain”, seemed fitting. And he continues to play other classics like –

Arpit at Coco's
Arpit at Coco’s

Tequila Sunrise, Yellow, Wonderwall and Fools Rush in, among other hits. I also ordered a Thai Fried Chicken which was really good and quite spicy.

As soon as I was about to order my second drink, I get a call from another friend asking to me hit Heart Cup Café, which is THE place to be on a Thursday – Karaoke night. I call myself a cab and head straight there. From a distance I could hear the crowd cheering, and singing along to “Rolling in the deep”, the place was packed! One famous tune after the other, the crowd would sing along, and oh well, so did I. It was fun. We ordered ourselves a Budweiser bucket of 6 beers. There were songs like Nickelback’s Rockstar, Shakira’s Wherever Whenever, and System of a Down’s Chopsuey. But the best of them all was when a few regulars of heart cup took over the stage for the last song by Eminem’s “Love the way you lie” featuring Rihanna, who sang the rap parts like pros!

As soon as the karaoke ended we went right next door to F Café, the party was on! Sipping on beers and grooving to the music on the dance floor, the DJ was on a higher level where everybody could see him, the crowd went pretty wild!

And that was Hyderabad – such a great time.

Hemant Mundkur

Letter from London – Shreyas Patel

After opening Bootlegger, I further developed interest in mixology and vintage cocktails. Because of this I started to read, study and travel a lot looking for techniques, presentation and even the history of spirits and cocktails. After extensive reading and experimenting at home I first travelled to the US, where I visited bars and speakeasies like The Dead Rabbit, PDT, Employees Only, etc. It was at these bars I realised there was no looking back and I was very keen on bringing the cocktail culture home.

My next journey took me to Europe where I was able to study different drinking and cocktail cultures. I saw, that every bit was important- right from sourcing the ingredients, to the different spirits they use and the final presentation. I learnt a lot from the mixologists and bartenders who had extensive knowledge and experience, and have no intention of stopping until they achieved perfection. I visited bars like Tales & Spirits and Door 74 in Amsterdam, The Hemmingway, Bugsy’s and Black Angel’s Bar in Prague, Le Lion Bar de Paris in Hamburg, Barfly’s Club in Vienna, etc. It was amazing to see how spirits and other elements, when mixed to perfection, can create a perfect balance of senses – the sound of the shaker, the sight of colours and garnish, the aroma and finally the taste of the cocktails. All this contributes to the fact that every cocktail is indeed a story.

While in Europe, I made many friends and contacts in the industry because of which I was lucky and elated to receive an invite to the London Cocktail Week and The World’s Best Bar Awards! The London Cocktail Week is an event where almost 300 bars come together to promote cocktails. Simultaneously, there are many workshops and seminars taking place all over London educating professionals in the business about new products, spirits, techniques, technologies and trends.

In London, I visited about thirty-five bars from the list. At these bars I met some of the best mixologists of the world namely Alex Kratena, Augostino Perrone, Simone Caporale, Ondrej Posphical, Troels Knudson, Marian Beke etc. London truly kept up to its reputation of being the cocktail capital of the world. The bars left me speechless. Every detail was amazing- the bar design, the interiors, work stations, working styles, glassware, bar techniques, equipment and perfect guest service.

Few things I found interesting are:

Hierarchy– This was almost non-existent. Unlike most bars in India, you will see the seniors perform all jobs at their workstations – right from cleaning the area, washing the glassware to helping their juniors out on busy nights. In fact, when we went out to another bar one night, one of my newly made mixologist friends jumped right behind the bar because it got extremely busy, and helped the bartenders out. Apparently, this is very common practice and the mixologists and bartenders have a strong community. This is something I would love to see in India too.

Detailing – Every element of service and presentation is equally important to these bars. It goes beyond making the perfect cocktail. Every perfect mixologist or bartender has a strong personality- he will make good eye contact with his guests, strike up an interesting conversation mostly about the cocktail he’s making, have the perfect methodology, use interesting mixing and garnish techniques. Everyone working at the bar ensures that the guest doesn’t just have a cocktail, but an experience that will last and make them want to visit the bar over and over again.

With Augostino Perrone (Connaught Bar)
With Augostino Perrone (Connaught Bar)

One of my best experiences was at the The Connaught in Mayfair where I had the privilege of having a Bloody Mary with celery foam made by master-mixologist Augustino Perrone. Not only did he make this cocktail, he also spent time giving me ideas and knowledge on bar techniques and mixology.

 

 

 

Another unforgettable experience was my visit to The Artesian at the Langham Hotel- which also won the Best Bar Award 2014. Here, I met Alex Kratena, who made five of their best cocktails for me from their recently launched Butterfly Menu. These were probably the best-presented cocktails I have ever seen. This bar truly takes sensory perception to a new level.

The highlight of my travel was the award’s night where I met the best people in the industry from bartenders to bar owners. The most memorable moment was when I had the chance to meet David Wondrich- an authoritative in the history of spirits who is widely known to start a revolution in craft cocktails.

With David Wondrich
With David Wondrich

Coming back to my keenness to bring this culture to India, we are a country where incense, spices and other interesting ingredients are freely available. At The Artesian, they used sandalwood incense in one of the most famous cocktails, The Camouflage, which not only added character to the cocktail but also took me by surprise!

Finally, I hope to see and experience lots more drinking and cocktail cultures around the globe, and maybe see our very own Cocktail Revolution!

Shreyas Patel

Shreyas Patel

With Ian Buxton and Joel HarrisonWhile most people know me as a car enthusiast as I spent most of my twenties modifying engines and making cars go faster, I’m also a co-founder of Bootlegger– a pub on Vittal Mallya Road, Bangalore. I’m Shreyas Patel, a whiskey and mixology enthusiast. I spend the first few hours of the day in my workshop working with cars and then you will usually find me behind the bar at Bootlegger experimenting with different spirits and flavours.

Pernod Ricard closing sales gap with USL

Business Standard: 5th December, 2014

maker is closing in on bigger rival Ltd (USL) in sales, thanks to an uncertainty at the latter.

Pernod, the maker of the Royal Stag and Imperial Blue whiskies, has mostly been a profitable company in India but was considered small in terms. That is changing now, gradually.

In the financial year ended March, Pernod Ricard registered gross turnover of Rs 8,614.5 crore, 19.37 per cent higher than the previous year’s Rs 7,216.4 crore, according to data sourced from analysts tracking the liquor industry and closely following Pernod Ricard.

Cocktail Time – 3 Cocktails for Christmas

The cocktails listed here incorporate the quintessential Christmas flavours and are rather easy to make. Rest assured no matter how cold it gets, they will warm you up!

Cocktails courtesy – Tulleeho Book of Cocktails

Brandy Alexander

brandy_alexander
Brandy Alexander

A variation of the original Alexander (which used gin), this rich Christmassy cocktail is perfect in cold weather and for festive gatherings.

Ingredients

Brandy 45-60 ml
Fresh Cream 30 ml
Creme de cacao 15 ml (if  you don’t have crème de cacao, use 30 ml of chocolate syrup and increase the brandy measure to 60 ml.)
Ice to fill shaker
Nutmeg powder – a sprinkling

Preparation

Fill a shaker with ice, pour in all the liquid ingredients, shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sprinkle the powdered nutmeg on top and serve.

Black Russian

Black Russian
Black Russian

The Black Russian is an example of a ‘nail drink’, a drink which has equal portions of a spirit and a liqueur. It makes for a good apéritif or after-dinner drink.

Ingredients

Vodka 30  ml
Kahlua 30  ml
Ice to fill glass
Coffee beans – A few, to garnish (optional)

Preparation

Add ice to the glass then build the drink starting with the vodka followed by the Kahlua. Garnish with coffee beans and serve.

Dream Cream

Dream Cream
Dream Cream

 

This one’s nice, easy, and the perfect way to get your after-dinner spirit, coffee and dessert all in one glass. Full paisa vasool!

Ingredients

Dark rum 30 ml
Kahlua 30 ml
Condensed Milk 30 ml
Instant Coffee powder 1/4 tsp and a sprinkling to garnish
Vanilla essence 1-2 drops
Ice to fill glass

Preparation

Blend all the ingredients (except ice) in a blender. Fill the glass with ice and pour the drink over it. Garnish with a sprinkling of coffee powder and serve.

On the Rocks – Single Malt Passion – Rahul Singh

rahul-singh-beer-cafe
Rahul Singh

Rahul Singh started of an unbeliever, and in his own words, “had never found whisky to be a great product and stuck with beer”. This lasted until a business trip to the USA, where his collaborator asked him to join him in a glass of whisky. “I don’t like whisky”, replied Rahul. “But this isn’t whisky, it’s Single Malt” said his associate triumphantly. And so began Rahul’s whisky voyage, funnily enough with an Irish whisky, a Bushmills 10 yo, triple distilled and light on the palate. On his next visit, he tried a Talisker, from the Isle of Skye in Scotland, which had a much “peatier” taste profile.

Rahul was well and truly hooked now, so much so that in 2006-07, he went on a Scotch whisky trail, figured out the four major regions of Scotland (and the differences between them), how to pronounce these difficult Gaelic names, and even went as far afield as the Isle of Jura (located north west of the island of Islay).

Whisky, more particularly Single Malt has become an obsession with Rahul now. He has about 150 whiskies, and his collection keeps growing. He prefers Highland whiskies, which are easier on the palate, with the Macallan 18 a favourite as is the Balvenie Double Wood. The most expensive Malt he probably owns is the Balvenie 30, which was a whisky he really wanted, as was the Glenfiddich 25.

The flip side of collecting whisky is that however,

“no one likes to gift me whisky, as they’re scared I may already have it”!

Once a month, Rahul calls a bunch of Malt loving friends and they open up 7 to 8 whiskies, and do a tasting.

Nikka's Pure Malt
Nikka’s Pure Malt
SONY DSC
Monkey Shoulder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not only Scotch which Rahul collects, he has a few Japanese whiskies, which are all the rage nowadays, a couple of Irish whiskies and a few from the Amrut selection. A particular whisky he had his eye out for was one called Monkey Shoulder, which has an interesting story behind the brand name (A monkey shoulder is the term given to an injury suffered by workers who are carrying sacks of barley!). He finally found that in the USA.

The whisky shop at Terminal 3 in New Delhi has made Rahul’s job much easier now, as it has a wide range of whiskies, and he doesn’t have to bring a lot in now from overseas.

Rahul is primarily self-taught when it comes to whisky, and relies mostly on the Internet for his research. He hasn’t really found anyone in India who can help guide him on his quest, and has relied purely on his passion and curiosity to pursue this unique hobby. So can you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tequila®* – ‘Made in India’???

NOT!            (*see note at the end of this article)

BUT… world-class premium Agave spirits are very much ‘Made in India’, as of 2004 in experimental form, and 2011 in a market-released (Goa), bottled and branded avatar.

Tequila®* and Mezcal®* are Agave spirits made in Mexico with the trade names owned by the Mexican Government. But what’s in a name?

I am pleased to write this blog for Swizzle/Tulleeho readers. It’s a great opportunity to share a wee bit of the 14 year (till-date) ‘India pride’ brand story of the genesis and progression of India’s first official microdistillery, Agave spirit and sugarcane spirit manufacturer, Agave India, and its (close to) 4 year old master brand, DesmondJi®.

 

Visual 1
Agave India craft distillery in southern AP

I am frequently asked about the origin of my ideas and ‘birth’ of DesmondJi, so I will start from the beginning!

I had a reputation for making cocktails-with-a-twist while based in the US. When I moved base to my birth place, Bombay, in late 1999, several friends asked me to revive my interest in the art of cocktail making. So I found myself searching liquor stores for the ingredients of popular cocktails, including the Margarita. At that time, even ‘middle-shelf’ Tequila®s* were extremely hard to find, and when available, were exorbitantly priced.

A random question was triggered off in my mind: why is Tequila®*, a globally known alcoholic beverage, made in only one country (Mexico), whereas almost any other equally well-known alcoholic beverage (whisky, vodka, rum, gin, champagne, wine, beer) has multiple producers in multiple countries?

Researching this, I saw photos of the blue Agave used in Mexico and had an ‘aha’ moment – I was sure I had seen similar blue-green Agave plants growing in India during my childhood. I immediately looked up a map of the world and traced the latitude lines for the Agave growing regions in Mexico (Jalisco & Oaxaca) across to India. They crossed right through the Deccan plateau! Several other key geo-climatic (‘terroir’) parameters, i.e. soil, rainfall, temperature, altitude, necessary for the possible migration of Agave species, were startlingly close matches as well. I concluded that I must have seen these plants while travelling through the Deccan on trains in my youth!

I continued my research for the next few years and collected enough information to develop a process for making Agave spirits from the blue-green Agave, if only I could find it in India! Shortly after moving to Goa, in 2003, and after connecting with the ‘right’ collaborators in Goa who could help me find the plants and experiment, and armed with all my data files, we set off on a road trip into the Deccan, in search of the blue-green Agave – lo and behold, we found some within a day!

Visual 2
Deccan blue-green Agave used to make DesmondJi Agave spirits

That moment marked the ‘accidental birth’ of Agave spirits in India – the result of a conjunction of historical events:

  • Geology and climate: a ~65 million years ago earth-shaking, mass extinction event, followed by continental drift, created the perfect growing conditions for Agave on the Deccan plateau;
  • Culture: migration of Agave species from the New World to the Old World via the Columbian Exchange;
  • Personal: my returning to India in the year 2000 (as opposed to ten years earlier or later).

But more on these interesting antecedents in a later blog, if readers are really interested…

A few words about our smile-generating brand name, ‘DesmondJi’…

Desmond‘ is the first name of Agave India’s main founder (yours truly) and speaks to a ‘truth’ behind the brand.

I came up with the original idea in the year 2000; personally did the R&D for spirits and liqueurs over nearly fourteen years; personally raised the funds from an international group of angel investors; handled India’s notorious bureaucratic process first-hand; front-ended the search for the micro-distillery site in rural AP; the selection and handling of the architect, contractors and the construction of buildings; worked very closely with the custom designers of equipment, bottles and labels; personally hired and trained all the technical staff and serve as official ‘master distiller’ and ‘master blender’, among other things.

The ‘Ji‘ part reflects both the purely Indian source of raw materials and Indian technical ingenuity (no foreign experts were involved), while simultaneously making the concatenation ‘light and easy’ and fun to play with. That’s ‘what’s in a name’!

Visual 4
With our team in AP, working our huge pot-stills

 

Agave India is the only artisanal producer of small batch, international quality, ‘field-to-bottle’ Agave spirits in Eurasia. DesmondJi is the proud flag-bearer of global and regional firsts in several categories… innovation and entrepreneurial chutzpah at its best! Against all odds and totally in-house we have pulled off world class innovation that most Asians would proudly relate to.

Agave India goes further and makes artisanal cane spirit (à la Brazilian cachaça) used in caipirinhas, mojitos, etc., much loved orange liqueurs using the Nagpur orange, and alcoholic margarita blends – all under the master brand, DesmondJi. Our 8 products sell in Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Pondicherry and Daman.

Chillin’ in Goa with the DesmondJi range
Chillin’ in Goa with the DesmondJi range

We invite the tipplers and booze connoisseurs in India to check out DesmondJi products (btw, they make much-appreciated gifts) and share our ‘India pride’ offerings around the world!

Till the next time… Cheers, saúde and salud!!!

Desmond Nazareth

* Trademarks referenced in this article are the property of their respective owners.

Letter from Berlin – Berlin Rumfest and the Bar Convent Berlin

Berlin… Just the name conjures up a huge amount of visual images: The good ol’ Trabant, the wall, the war etc.… However, in spite of its long history, the city feels young and is bursting with energy and boasts some of the best bars I have ever been to. Not so much because of the often simple, well crafted drink lists but because there is a fundamental understanding that the quality of a bar goes well beyond its cocktail list, indeed, Berlin operators understand that a great bar is greater than the sum of all its elements: The theme, the bartenders, the drinks, the surroundings, all of them must match and be coherent with one another… It is an attention to details that many emerging cocktail capitals should emulate.

What better place then, than for two of the most impressive trade show I have ever visited: The Berlin Rumfest and the Bar Covent Berlin.

The Berlin Rumfest was started by one of Europe’s rum visionary, Dirk Becker. The show takes place before the UK Rum fest and B.C.B. early October. A great news for travellers and show goers, as they can kill three birds with one stone in a short period of time. The Berlin Rumfest is its 2nd year and has rapidly grown to be THE rum show for continental Europe… it has enough rums on offer to repeal “black tot day”!

While I pride myself being an educated drinker, I must admit that I am forever amazed by the varieties of rums that are available to us! From the dry, clear over-proofed rums from Nine-Leaves made in Japan, to the complex, creamy and outstanding rums from Gold of Mauritius (Definitely one to watch!) and the more esoteric Frankonian rums of Germany to the big brand names; all are there to be sipped, tasted, discussed and learned about! Another great feature of this show is that you are usually in direct contact with the person who makes the rum, rather than a bored salesperson who drew the short straw! The educational seminars are usually well done, and as commercially minded as expected. Lastly, the blind tastings are all conducted by some of the biggest contemporary names in today’s Rum industry… A pleasure to witness! These are two brilliant days not to be missed if you are a lover of rum and its sub-culture! The show even has its very own panama shop!

One would think that two days of rum drinking and catching up with some old friends would satisfy my thirst; you would be sorely mistaken! After just a day of recovery, starts the ENORMOUS Bar Covent Berlin… When I say enormous, I mean enormous! Enormous in size, enormous in numbers of visitors, enormous in the sheer amount of seminars… An enormous amount of everything!

At the start of the show, you would be forgiven to think you accidentally got into the queue of some yuppie pop star’s concert! One, because the queue was like everything about the show, enormous! (It is really quite amazing that our industry attracts so many people from all walks of life and from every corner of the world). And two -and this is a personal peeve- THE AMOUNT OF WAXED YUPPIE MOUSTACHE IS REALLY NOT OK!!! I understand that we are embracing a whole new culture of cocktail making focusing on the bygone era of classic drinks, but please… It is really not ok to have a waxed moustache when you are barely over the legal drinking age, and calling yourself a “mixologist” when you cannot have possibly been legally drinking for more than 18month! It REALLYREALLYREALLY is NOT ok! –Peeve is over now, back to the show!

Bar-Convent-Berlin-im-Postbahnhof_full_projectThe redeeming features about the queue are the many G&T bars scattered along the way, ensuring that the waiting is somewhat pleasant –even under the rain. What could be better than tasting various gins and their tonic counterparts at 11AM?

Once inside this international drinking paradise, you are bound to find your fill! All of the bartenders you have been reading about… They are here. All of these new spirits you wanted to taste… They are here. These new bar toys you have seen on youtube… You can buy them here. That book you’ve been wanting to read for a while… Which language? There is something for absolutely everyone… Cocktail geeks, flair bartenders, beer connoisseurs and bar-toys lovers are all catered for, inside the show and in the evening gatherings. There is EVEN a Jägermeister mixology stand -which struck me as being a little peculiar, if not completely counter-intuitive.

While I spent two fabulous days sipping Negroni’s, catching up with some old friends and mingling with some new ones, there was one theme that became somewhat apparent relatively early in the show: Gin! Gin was, without a shadow of a doubt THE star of the event… If anyone was unsure about this so-called gin revival, I can assure you that it has well and truly arrived. The numbers of new gins on display was astounding! Smoked gins, aged gins, sweetened gins (granted, not so new…) colorful gins, preposterous gins, gins with a HUUUUUUUUUGE amount of botanicals, gins with only a couple botanicals -I tasted a cardamom gin which, was quite fab! The list was endless, but not all of them were good.

All and all, it was an awe-inspiring trade show, very much gear at all serious industry professional. The seminars, the brands, the gear and the contacts that are possible at the BCB made this show one of the fundamental ones in Europe. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to dig deeper in the industry and be exposed to international drinking trends and witnessing the very clean German bartending style. Four days that really left an impact, and four days that I will certainly repeat next year…

 Ulric Nijs

 

Drinking Out – F1 Fan Club at Pebble Street

“Is this a pub or a tyre delearship ?” This was a casual comment made by a random visitor to Pebble Street on seeing a mock tyre wall at the entrance one Sunday evening – probably more than a decade back. Obviously, the one making this comment was not someone who knew much about how Schumacher made his millions or cared either. This particular Sunday evening, this gentleman was in a minority. Seated inside, were a bunch of some of the most vociferous and die-hard fans of F1, following their favourite sport on large format projection screens, rooting for their favourite teams and drivers. The pub was buzzing with   a deafening roar of those mean F1 engines – pure music for the F1 aficionado.

Described above is a regular Sunday evening at Pebble Street, every time a live F1 race is on.

Rewind back to the year 2002. Watching sports at pubs was still not popular. Projection screens costed a bomb and pulling in a packed house for a game was unheard of. Commentary was a strict no-no and considered blasphemous for a restaurant. Even if live sport was being shown, the experience was probably watered down by Eric Clapton singing “Yes, you look wonderful tonight”. Except that she would have looked even more wonderful had there been live commentary to enjoy the sport in all its glory. At least that’s what I thought. I wasn’t too sure if others thought the same way too. I was soon to find out.

Not wanting to give up on this thought, we decided to try and brand Pebble Street as the hub for F1 lovers. Our vision was simple. Create the best F1 watching experience in the city. We were not interested in frivolity around the sport. Our pitch was to the die-hard F1 fan. This entailed providing the best audio-visual experience and ambience (replete with tyre walls, flags etc) to avid F1 fans – we were still not sure whether that many existed in Delhi. As much as it was an honest attempt at providing Delhi-ites with a new experience, to be utterly truthful, it was also borne out, in some measure, by the fact that my wife hated the sound of F1 engines every Sunday evening at home. So I shipped myself out, clad in my scarlet Ferrari T-shirt, plonked myself on a bar-stool at Pebble Street, ready to guzzle those beers as fast as Schumacher negotiated those tricky chicanes.

Come Race Sunday, the projectors were powered up, the music was turned down, and the speakers belted out the roar of those 800 BHP engines. For a change, Eric Clapton lost out. From then on, a new genre of music took over Pebble Street every Sunday the race was on.

The creation of the F1 Fan Club was aimed at achieving two objectives :

  1. To provide F1 lovers with a hub for enjoying the sport in its purest form
  2. To provide Pebble Street with an opportunity to fill in crowds during the lean times. Normally races started at 5:30 pm and ended well before dinner time. It was a classic case of monetizing unsold inventory.

Challenges were aplenty in doing it the right way. The first few races saw only a handful of F1 lovers. While they enjoyed every bit of the experience, there were the regular diners who started to opt out owing to the loud ambience. The conflict was pretty evident – go back the traditional way and play Eric Clapton (thereby lose out on creating anything new) or create a new community who love life at 18000 rpm. We chose the latter.

There was no Facebook to create events, and Twitter was still just an idea. Thus, marketing such a niche sport was not as easy. We focused on word-of-mouth publicity and a targeted e-mail and sms campaign for visibility. In doing so, our guiding principle was to create an experience that F1 lovers would come back to. Once the experience was addressed, finding true fans was just a matter of time. From humble beginnings in 2002, our fan base grew to over 500 active members by 2003. Most races started drawing in a packed house. Schumacher being at his best, further fuelled the surge. F1 in Delhi was well on its way. Pebble Street soon became synonymous with F1 in the city.

Strategic promotional tie-ups with brands such as Red Bull, Fosters, Kingfisher, Shell and Malaysian Tourism, Auto Magazines and the like helped develop this nascent idea into a win-win for both – Pebble Street and the consumer.

Our success at marketing a niche idea made our competition jump on the band-wagon. Thankfully, most of them focused on creating frivolity around the sport by hosting Celeb screenings and soon died out. So while our competition was cosying up to Page 3, we played host to Narain Karthikeyan (India’s 1st F1 Driver), Karun Chandhok (India’s 2nd F1 Driver) and Armaan Ebrahim (a budding racer). To top it all, it was a proud moment when the Sahara India F1 Drivers – Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta paid us a visit in 2013.

In the process, we managed to convert very many gentlemen and ladies who mistook the Pebble Street entry for a tyre shop some years back, into F1 lovers who prefer F1 commentary over Eric Clapton on some Sundays. As for me, I continue to perch myself on that bar stool every Race Day Sunday, guzzle my beer and sometimes get into heated discussions with fellow F1 fans over why Ferrari is better than Mclaren.

Ashish Ahuja

An alumnus of St. Columba’s School and Shri Ram College of Commerce

Divides time between watching sport, guzzling the finest brews. running the occasional Half Marathon and overseeing operations at Pebble Street, Moksha and Cream of the Crop.

 

 

 

 

 

Ashish Ahuja

Ashish

Ashish Ahuja is an alumnus of St. Columba’s School and Shri Ram College of Commerce

Divides time between watching sport, guzzling the finest brews. running the occasional Half Marathon and overseeing operations at Pebble Street, Moksha and Cream of the Crop.

Navin Mittal – Co-partner, Gateway Brewing Company

Name : Navin Mittal

Designation : Co-partner

Corporation : Gateway Brewing Company

I’m sitting with Navin at the Starbucks located right behind the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai.

One thing you’d like to change about the Indian market:

From a consumer perspective, at least the import duty structure, so that a lot more varieties and brands can be imported. Obviously that will come at at cost to the local industry, so we need to weigh benefits and disadvantages. The benefits are of course, that the consumer will have more choice. If the consumer has more choice, there’s also more competition for the local producers, and we can expect more variety of beers which are flavourful and have character. The duties especially in Maharashtra are very very high. I wish that would change. From a micro brewer or small brewer perspective, I wish the policy was such that it would encourage people like us to set up small units. We are an SSI (small scale industry), but our cost structures are high and disparate compared to those for a large brewery.  Also, we can only sell in kegs and not in bottles. Whether we make money or whether we survive after 2 to 3 years, is all up in the air. If the government is preaching Make in India then they should help us make good beer also.

Who do you think sets drinking trends in India?

Most of the large commercial breweries set the trends. Say UB (United Breweries) with an Oktoberfest, will pull crowds and get mind share. Specialised whisky, wine or beer players operate in a very small segment, they are not in any position to set trends.

Navin Mittal
Navin Mittal

What according to you is the most overrated drinking fad / drink in India at the moment?

I don’t think there is anything which is over rated. It’s how you perceive things at a particular point in time. You might even think that wine, craft beer, single malt are all fads at different points of time.

I do think that what should not happen is that people guzzle on cheap booze, and get drunk and fall down. Instead of that, the message should focus on responsible drinking. “Drink something which tastes better. ” Because of internet there is increased exposure towards craft beer, good wine, good whisky and a lot more people are getting exposed.

What’s the next big thing for India?

Make in India – Indians can make great beverages – why should we think that something which is overseas is the best. Look at the Japanese and the whisky they are making. Look at IPA, a beer made for India, which India has forgotten.

Which is your favourite beverage brand ad campaign?

There are some beer ads I like, although I don’t remember which brands. I also like what Sam Adams does online in terms of  its content.

Which is your favourite Bar in India and why?

Woodside Inn in Colaba is a great bar for a beer drinker and the Harbour Bar at the Taj Mahal hotel is a great bar for the occasional visit.

One fictional character that you’d like to share a drink with?

Iron Man! – I’m a superhero fan. I’d love to sit down with him and drink some concoction which possibly gets some Adamantium into my body. I’d love to sit down with the Avengers and have a drink with them

If you were stranded alone on a deserted island, what’s the one drink that you’d long for?

Any lager which is not watered down, or an ale, which is light but flavourful. For the evening a cocktail like the White Russian, but made with coconut milk not cream.

Beervana – Craft beer in Mumbai

Gateway at Bonobo

2nd Floor, Kenilworth Mall, Phase 2,
Off Linking Road, 33rd Road, Bandra West,
Mumbai
022 2605 5050

Don’t go by appearances. The roads dug up and a mess, the hawkers are teeming around, and next to the Bonobo sign on the rooftop is the outline of a water tank and a satellite dish. Certainly not the best omens for a rocking bar to visit. 2 flights up, however the situation is transformed, and you get an open, buzzing rooftop, with a long bar down one side, and seating scattered around under the stars, with a “party hard” soundtrack on. Bonobo has been around for a while, and its good to see a bar sustain. They must be doing something right.

And one of the things they’re doing right is the reason we’re here, to taste Gateway’s craft beer. Navin Mittal, the beer geek and co-founder of Gateway Brewing Company, pointed us in the direction of Bonobo, when we asked him for good places in the neighbourhood to buy his beer.

The Gateway 3 headed tap is a prominent fixture on Bonobo’s bar counter, and we see quite a few people with brimming beer glasses in front of them. A taster sized portion of the Doppelgänger, the White Zen and the West Coast IPA (India Pale Ale), help us decide our starting order. A pint of the Doppelganger for me to start with and the White Zen for Sweta, with some bite sized snacks to accompany.

I love the full bodied taste of the Doppelgänger, which is inspired from a classic German dunkelweizen (dark wheat) and this is definitely a beer which I could have 2 to 3 of in the course of an evening. The White Zen is a play on the German word Hefeweizen, which is their classic style of wheat beer. Regular wheat beer and dark wheat beer have worked very well as styles for imported bottle beers and are a smart choice for Gateway’s first brews. Gateway’s third beer is a West Coast IPA (India Pale Ale), a rare category of beer which owes it’s parentage to India.

Back in the days, when Great Britain held sway over India, the Britishers in India needed their beer, and regular beer shipped over from the UK, lost its zing on the 12,000 mile sea journey over. So the then beer geeks came up with the India Pale Ale, which was brewed with higher gravities and hops content (Hops are plants whose cones add aroma and flavour to beer; and in the case of IPA, protect it from infection.). In fact a Britisher called Pete Brown, recreated the sea journey taken by the original IPA and compared it with a batch which was flown over to see if the sea beer passed muster.

Back to the West Coast IPA, which owes its origins to the USA where the West Coast IPA is a well recognized style. I find the beer a little on the bitter side, but I’m willing to give it another chance the next time I’m back. I recommend it to a visiting friend from Delhi, who loves his IPA, and he pronounced it as “the highlight of his Mumbai trip”.

My colleague, Sweta on the other hand loves her White Zen, and follows it up with a Doppelgänger.

In conversation the next day with Navin, he reveals that they plan to introduce 1 to 2 new styles shortly, so a Porter or Stout could be on the way, and it would replace one of the 3 beers on tap. Loyal fans of the displaced beer will have to wait till it’s back on tap, and in the craft beer industry, sometime creating this scarcity, is a great marketing ploy for brands.

Marketing ploys are however the last thing on our mind, as the last sip of my IPA goes down my grateful gullet. Gateway has forged a difficult path on its way to being India’s first microbrewery, which doesn’t have it’s own bar, but instead supplies it on tap to bars across Mumbai. Search them out when next in Mumbai, you won’t be disappointed.

Gateway Co-founders
Gateway’s co-founders, from left to right, Rahul Mehra, Krishan Naik and Navin Mittal

Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal

Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal is a corporate food consultant, food writer, food stylist and author with more than 12 years of experience in the Indian food industry. She began her food career in 2004, as one of India’s pioneering food bloggers. Today she heads A Perfect Bite® Consulting, a premier food consulting firm and India’s first home cooking studio – the APB Cook Studio®. Her first book, A Pinch of This, A Handful of That, released in December 2013. Rushina

Cocktail Time – Cheat Sheet: Original Ladakhi Substitutes

OLS (OUR LADAKH SUBSTITUTES) RECIPES (patent pending :-))

Sitting in the remote outpost of Ladakh, we had a lot of time DSC03056on our hands and not enough exotic liqueurs..Our quest for the best bar in the Himalayas made us experiment with locally available ingredients to develop our own substitutes for these liqueurs / cocktail mixes.

Some of them were made by our team and few were the result of helpful suggestions from our guests …Here are the recipes of OLS used in the above cocktails (there are a whole lotta others shud you ever want them):

ANGOSTURA BITTERS: This Bitter cocktail mixture originates in Bolivia and was perfected by a German doc to combat stomach ailments endemic to South America (pretty much like tonic water in India).

Here goes: One quinine tablet (so its a cure for Malaria as well), a few cloves, pepper corns and nutmeg. Pulverise these into a powder. Mix this in 100 ml of vodka. Caramelise one spoon of sugar and add to the mixture. Seal it tightly in a bottle and let it stand for a month before using it.

Some more of a Cheat’s version of otherwise famous recipes!

 Bailey’s: Ok use this one when you are in desperate need for a substitute of the iconic Irish drink! Please remember that we won’t be responsible if you cant seem to float this desi home made Bailey’s right or create the perfect chocolatini out of this!

  •  A cup of condensed milk.
  • 1/4th cup milk
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • A few drops of vanilla essence
  • 90 ml Irish whiskey (or a simple desi one that isn’t to Scottish!)

Mix all the ingredients together by gently whisking it. Best used within 24 hrs when kept refrigerated.

Kahlua Coffee Liqueur: Again one of desi stalwarts pitted against the original…

  • Strong Black coffee – 1 cup
  • 1 Tbsp Caramelised / brown sugar
  • 90 ml dark rum

Gently stir the ingredients together and let it come to room temperature. Alternatively you can infuse a cup of coffee beans in a bottle of dark rum for upto a week and sweeten with ½ cup of caramelized / brown sugar.

Curacao / Orange Liqueur: This a fairly easy one…you might already be a cheat at this!

  •  Half a bottle of vodka.
  • Cup full of Californian orange peels
  • ½ cup sugar

Infuse the Orange peels in the Vodka for about a week and then sweeten with the sugar.

by Vikrant Nath

 

Dregs – 7 years of Bad Sex: Saying Cheers in Europe

As an old legend goes, not looking into someones eye when you raise a toast, might get you 7 years of bad sex. While travelling through Europe, it’s important you don’t run this risk and make sure you get your toasts right depending on which country you’re in. So here’s a quick primer to the continent’s toasts.

If in Ireland, it’s Slainte you should be saying, when you’re raising up that glass of Guinness, Irish Whiskey or cream liqueur. It literally means “health” and can also be used in Scotland. You should pronounce it thus, “slawn-cha wy”, and you might just get a pretty Irish lass or lad hooked.

irish-drinking Many moons ago, a consultant friend of mine, visited Norway for his Consultant boot camp training. As a part of one of their team dinners, consultants from all around the world, were asked to raise a toast as per their native lands customs. This being pre Tulleeho days :), my friend said what he thought was the closest approximation, which was the Hindi word “Chadao” (literally meaning to raise high). He raised his glass high, and stone drunk, collapsed on the table!

In Scandinavia, they say Skal for Cheers, a word which actually means “bowl” and goes back to a more community driven time, when everyone gathered around one big bowl to drink. From Scandinavia, lets hop across to practical Germany, where the Germans while downing those large steins of beer, say Prost, which keeping the practical Germans in mind, means, “may it be beneficial to you”! In Poland, you may be drinking their justly famous vodka and in the Czech republic some fine Pilsner beer, but it’s Na zdrowie ! which binds them together (pronounced Naz-dro-vyeh).

If at a loss in Italy as you sip on a sundowner of Campari and Soda, it’s Salute, you should be saying, In Spain they have a similar ring with Salud being what you should ring out, as you noisily down glasses of Sherry and wolf down plates of Tapas. Funnily enough Salud is also what you say when someone sneezes. Go figure!

And while on the subject of sex, good or otherwise, lets finish our continental journey in France, where A Votre Sante, meaning To your health is what the French say 🙂 French drinking

Jim Beam to launch variants in India

Mint: 23rd October 2014

New Delhi/Bangalore: American liquor company Beam Suntory Inc.’s Indian arm is expanding its range of Jim Beam bourbon with new launches to counter a drop in the market share of its flagship whisky brand Teacher’s. In next 12-18 months, the company will push new variants of Jim Beam into the market to diversify its portfolio, close to 80% of which is dependent on Teacher’s, varieites of which retail for between Rs.1,200 and Rs.27,000 per bottle.

Letter from London – Books and Blogs – Ben Reed

Ben ReedI take cocktail literature pretty seriously as a tool to better myself behind the stick and have put together a fairly tidy library of books that often predate prohibition in America. I thought I’d give you a heads up on some of the most inspiring books in my collection for both bartenders and home cocktail makers alike.

Let’s start with Gary Regan’s “Joy of Mixology”, this is an absolute bible for cocktails both classic and current and their variations. You really get the impression with Gary that he has tried each drink 20 different ways and in this book he lets you into his findings.

 

Charles H Baker’s “Jigger Beaker and Glass” is written a bit like a journal as Charles travels round the world at the start of the 20th century consuming random, often lesser known cocktails and describing them, the setting and the people he is drinking them with using most elegant prose. Robert Hess’s “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails” is an absolute must have for all the cocktail anoraks out there who simple must know all those grand beverages from bygone eras if only to impress their pals!

My other go-to author is David Wondrich, David writes a light hearted piece, monthly, for the Esquire magazine on cocktails but also has a higher brow take on drinks with his historical tome on the history of Punches (called imaginatively, “Punches”) and a classic reworking of Jerry Thomas’s bartenders guide called “Imbibe

I’d encourage any aspiring cocktail geek to pick these books (all available online) up as a great starting point to their collection.

Another of the services that I thought like to provide for you good folk is to hook you up with some of my favourite alcohol bloggers.

Two ex journalists, both well respected in the drinks biz, Tom Sandham and Ben Mcfarland set up their website/blogspace about 4 years ago. www.dwink.com offers an often irreverent look at bars, cocktails, personalities and their great passion, beer. Definitely worth a look!

I was reading my old mate Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s blog the other day and thought I’d share with you his latest post. Jeffrey takes all things drink related quite seriously (he’s an American!) and his latest post should be of huge interest to anyone looking at setting up their own bar

A similarly highbrow blog is written by the improbably named Camper English, another American based in San Fran who enjoys the geeky side of bartending, check out this blog on his take on ice making at home; too much free time? Not for the perfect ice cube it seems!

The internet has transformed the bartending profession as much as it has the rest of our lives. If you need to know how they make their Manhattans at PDT in New York, you can simply go online. If you want to know the exact methods of distillation for some rare Japanese whisky; just Google it. The exact recipe for a Satan’s Whiskers or a great bar in a new city? There’ll be a website for it of course!

If you are sitting at your desk and want to kill a couple of hours, the old world wide web is the place for you. Below are a couple of my favourite bartender related, viral time killers. So if you’re clock watching and the hour hand just wont move fast enough, sit back and enjoy these gems. Just don’t tell your boss that I encouraged you.

The bartender hates you

Philip Duff’s “Bartender walks into a bar

42 Below virals

Ben Reed

Ben Reed is a host for the Absolut Akademi in Sweden and also travels widely for Absolut Vodka. After stints in bars in Hong Kong and Cape Town, Ben began his London career working with Sir Terence Conran to become head bartender for the prestigious downstairs bar at Mezzo. His career really broke during an enormously successful three-year stint as bar manager of London’s premier private members club, the Met bar.

Ben has trained bartenders from all around the world including global hotel chains the Marriott and the Intercontinental, the Soho house group, Dogma, and the Hard Rock café. At the last estimate Ben has trained over 2000 bartenders in 15 countries. He is also the author of several books including Hollywood Cocktails, Cool Cocktails, The Cocktail hour, The Martini, The Margarita and other Tequila Cocktails.

 

Ajit Balgi

Current Position: Independent Beverage Consultant

Previous: Sr. Manager Sales and Marketing – Hungrywungry, Senior Manager, Tulleeho

Formal Training Received:

  • MBA (Marketing) S P Jain institute of management and research, Mumbai.
  • Post-graduate in hospitality from Hammersmith and West London College, London.
  • Hospitality graduate from IHM Mumbai.
  • Wines and Spirits: WSET Level 3 from WSET, London.
  • Training Skills:
    •  WSET Educator Certification Course, London to conduct level 1 and 2 courses in wines.
    • Certified trainer from Carlton Advanced management, USA

Projects involved in:

Beverage Clients

  • WSET: Over 200 pax trained in level 1 and 2 wine and spirit programs
  • Pernod Ricard: Glenlivet brand training for premium On trade
  • United spirits: Black Dog brand training for Sales representatives in the West
  • Beam Global: Makers Mark training for premium on trade
  • Remy Cointreau: Cointreau cocktail training for the premium on trade
  • UB group: Conducting wine appreciation programs for consumers/hotel professionals
  • Sopexa (French body): Conducting wine training in key 5 star properties for staff and consumer sessions in Mumbai.( 175 pax trained)
  • SAB Miller: Beer trainings for the HORECA segment in Mumbai.( 220 pax trained)
  • British beer and pub association: Conducting beer trainings at hotels( 175 pax trained)
  • Renowned importer in India: Part of the research team on Single malt consumption in the hospitality sector
  • Was speaker at the Chefs Connect 2013, Taste 2011,   Indspirit 2010 and other regional wine fests

 

Hospitality and corporate Clients

  • ITC Hotels – Basic and Intermediate wine courses for F&B service staff of ITC Hotel’s luxury properties
  • Hops and Grains: Part of a consulting team for the same – a Greenfield brewpub
  • An FMCG major:  Conducted a dipstick research on Tea and coffee consumption in the HORECA segment
  • Hindustan Unilever limited: Conducting tea appreciation workshops for corporates
  • Hindustan Unilever limited: Consulted for Bru café, their pilot at the head office
  • Beverage workshops for corporates like HSBC, Euro RSCG, Travelocity, Turner, BBH, Zapak, Encompass, Apollo tyres, Grey etc

Vikram Achanta

IMG_0093

Vikram is the co-founder and CEO of Tulleeho, a drinks training and consulting firm and www.tulleeho.com, a drinks website. A first generation entrepreneur, he enjoys writing about beverages and is a regular columnist for a number of magazines and newspapers including Outlook, Outlook Business, The Man, Hospitality Biz India and Man’s World.

Vishpala Hundekari

Vishpala HundekariVishpala is an Architect and Furniture Designer (NID). For the last 14 years she has designed homes that are contemporary, classy and uniquely Indian. Her furniture blends functionality and form with the space to create a unique lifestyle experience. Her signature style is most visible in home bars and children’s rooms. She is passionate about traditional Indian arts and crafts and as a founder of Ekibeki works with artisans across the country to create contemporary lifestyle accessories and home furniture and interiors while improving the livelihoods of the artisans. She lives in Mumbai with her husband and 3 kids.

Ulric Nijs

Ulric is a Belgian national who’s been holed up in the UAE from time immemorial representing some of the world’s top brands as a brand ambassador. In the early part of his career, he worked in a series of bars in Hong Kong and London, during which time he picked up a slew of awards, both for himself and for the bars he worked with.

Rohan Jelkie

Rohan is a beverage trainer for the wines & spirits trade in India and has had experience in running training projects in SE Asia. An ardent fan of the craft of the cocktail, you can be sure to run into him at a bar near by cloaked in his alter ego, the thirsty tippler.

Rajjat Gulati

Rajjat GulatiRajjat fell in love with Coffee 10 years ago and now spends all his free time taking in the wide gamut of experiences the magic bean has to offer. He has run his own cafes – which often involved tasting a 100 different espresso shots a day. He is now down to a safe 5-cups-a-day and enjoys them in the company of his wife and his 4 pets – Crema, Mocha, Java and Piccolo. He consults for coffee projects on the side and the method of coffee preparation he currently favours is the Aeropress.

Hemant Mundkur

Based in Bangalore, Hemant looks after Tulleeho’s operations in South India. He’s a lead cocktails and spirits trainer for us, and also works on a number of cocktail menu development projects for beverage and hospitality clients.

Prior to Tulleeho, he worked in the bar at the JW Marriott, Mumbai.

Ben Reed

Ben ReedBen Reed is a host for the Absolut Akademi in Sweden and also travels widely for Absolut Vodka. After stints in bars in Hong Kong and Cape Town, Ben began his London career working with Sir Terence Conran to become head bartender for the prestigious downstairs bar at Mezzo. His career really broke during an enormously successful three-year stint as bar manager of London’s premier private members club, the Met bar.

Ben has trained bartenders from all around the world including global hotel chains the Marriott and the Intercontinental, the Soho house group, Dogma, and the Hard Rock café. At the last estimate Ben has trained over 2000 bartenders in 15 countries. He is also the author of several books including Hollywood Cocktails, Cool Cocktails, The Cocktail hour, The Martini, The Margarita and other Tequila Cocktails.

Ashish Jasuja

Ashish JasujaAshish Jasuja is a yet inconsequential freelance beer writer who straddles between his living-out-of –the-suitcase corporate job and his other side. When not on the job he can be found in his laid back clad-in-shorts avatar recessing on a hammock listening to new-age 80’s electronica while dreaming of a back packing trip around South America. Besides being a spooky character match to his personality, beer (especially when consumed in hopelessly generous quantities) also provides a perfect escape from life’s existential dilemmas and other impertinent questions.

Anand Chintamani

Anand ChintamaniAnand is a trained Malter, and has conducted and attended international forums on whisky appreciation and tasting. A keen golfer and malt whisky collector, he has visited, trained and been a part of the master distiller training sessions at over 10 distilleries across Scotland, Ireland and US, such as; Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Kininvie, Strathisla, Oban, Macallan, Cardhu, Bowmore, Lagavulin, Glen elgin, John Dewar & Sons.

Tulleeho Grapevine – Turning Point Sangria Launch

On a rainy evening last week in Mumbai, Turning Point Wines launched their new label at Terttulia in Shivaji Park – Turning Point Sangria. Two varieties were launched Nashik Mule, the white Sangria and Metropolitan, the Red Sangria.

My colleague had attended the launch party and was quite impressed with the whole idea of “Sangria in a bottle”. And it was sweet of him to bring 2 bottles for me to taste, as I had not been able to make it for the launch. Awwww I love having colleagues like him around me all the time 🙂

As luck would have it I was visiting my dear friend and Celebrity Chef Rushina M Ghildiyal at her Apb Studio (A Perfect Bite) so, I decided to share the Sangria with her and get her opinion too.

DSC_0253
Rushina (left) and Sweta (right) at the APB Studio

We started with the Nashik Mule, the White Sangria. Ashwin Deo, the CEO of Turning Point, indicates that this has Orange and Ginger Ale. Rushina felt the appearance was colourless, although I found it to be a very light yellow. It tasted like drinking a ginger ale but an over tangy version. We were not quite impressed with the taste. Though I love their packaging. The packaging is so nice that I have decided to retain the bottles and reuse it by putting a money plant in it J

At first taste, not being so impressed with the white, we moved on to the Metropolitan, which was the Red Sangria. The aroma it gave off was that of bacon / strong leather, and it put us off immediately. We understand this has cranberry and orange in it, but we found the taste too sour. Of the two, the Nashik Mule was better. Rushina was of the opinion that, when you think of Sangria, you think of fresh cut fruits in the drink, which was lacking here.

The label on the bottle says, “you can drink it straight or pour it in a glass with chopped fruits”. I personally feel with an attractive bottle like this how many people will pour it in a glass with chopped fruits.

With half a bottle left, I carried it back home to make my hubby try it to. It’s always nice to have few willing people around you for your trials J

So, we tasted it again and was I drunk?? No, this time the Sangria’s tasted completed different. The Nashik Mule had a sweet aroma to it and you could get the freshness of Ginger Ale in it though still no signs of Orange. And the Metropolitan tasted of dark berry fruit, which we assume is the Cranberry though again no signs of Orange. Our verdict here was again the Nashik Mule was better.

All trials done, I feel if they are left open for some time, the wine opens up slightly and that could be the reason for the change of aroma and taste. However, it’s yet to be seen how the young crowd takes to it. Turning Point definitely has an advantage of “attractive packaging”.

Next time I am going to try it by adding some Cointreau and Vodka with some fresh cut fruits and leave it overnight. Till then you enjoy your drink!!

Sweta Mohanty

An MBA, Sweta followed her love for beverages to Tulleeho, where she is now based in our Mumbai office, acting as a lead wines and cocktail trainer for Tulleeho in the west of India.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Restaurant Cocktails That Aim Too High

New York Times: October 7th, 2014

All mixed drinks can be divided into two categories: good and not good. A cocktail that you finish involuntarily, that moves to your lips again and again without requiring you to decide to raise your arm, is a good one. A cocktail that you finish because you hate to waste alcohol, or one that you don’t finish at all, is not good. This is the binary theory of cocktail criticism.

Lately, an awful lot of the cocktails I’ve had in restaurants have landed with a splat in the “not good” category.

Cocktail Time – Diwali Cocktails Special

Lights, fireworks, bright clothes, mouth-watering sweets and endless card parties…are scenes that play out in most Indian homes during this festive season. The list of cocktails here are extremely simple to make and go very well with the spirit of the occasion!

Cocktails courtesy – Tulleeho Book of Cocktails

Green Devil GreenDevil

This emerald-hued cocktail is as stunning on the eye as it is on the palate. If you have white (clear-coloured) crème de menthe instead of the green version, add a drop or two of green food colouring to the mix.

Ingredients

London dry gin 45 ml
Crème de menthe (green) 15 ml
Lime juice 5 ml
Ice to fill shaker
Lime peel a spiral, to garnish
Fresh mint a sprig, to garnish

Preparation

Take a shaker full of ice and add the gin, crème de menthe and lime juice. Stir well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Decorate with the lime peel and mint, and serve.

Nutty Rummy

Sweet, spicy, nutty, rummy, yummy! The warm spices in the rum are beautifully brought out by the hazelnut – serve this during the holiday season or whenever you feel like a treat.

Ingredients

Spiced rum 60 ml
Hazelnut syrup 15 ml
Ice to fill shaker
Almond/hazelnut flakes to garnish

Preparation

Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the almond or hazelnut flakes and serve.

Godfather Godfather

Mafia and Marlon Brando references aside, this quick-and-easy classic is great for parties and Scotch-lovers.

Ingredients

Scotch whisky 30 ml
Amaretto 30 ml
Ice to fill glass
Almond flakes to garnish

Preparation

Fill the glass with ice and pour the whisky and Amaretto over it. Garnish with a pinch of almond flakes and serve.

Diageo announces Haig Club global launch

Drinks International: 6th October 2014

Diageo has announced the worldwide launch of its single grain scotch whisky Haig Club.

Haig Club, which is a collaboration between Diageo, David Beckham and Simon Fuller, will now be available in bars, restaurants and retail stores in the UK.

The whisky will roll out in China, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the US in the next few weeks and be available in duty free shops globally following the exclusive release period in the UK.

Glenmorangie unveils crowd-sourced whisky

Drinks International: 26th September 2014

Glenmorangie has unveiled ‘the world’s first’ crowd-sourced whisky Taghta. 

12,000 bottles of Taghta – Scots Gaelic for The Chosen One- will be released globally exclusively to people registered as Cask Masters.

The Cask Masters programme was launched in March 2013 to invite fans to participate in all elements of developing a new whisky from the liquid to the design and packing.

SABMiller India launches Miller ACE

India Hospitality Review: 17th September 2014

SABMiller India, the Indian arm of the global brewing giant SABMiller plc., has launched Miller ACE above its milder variant Miller High Life. Miller ACE comes with a bolder taste and a higher ABV (alcohol by volume). With this launch SABMiller India forays further into the fast growing premium beer segment and will address the increasing consumer demand for world class quality premium beers in India.

William Grant & Sons acquires Drambuie

Drinks International: September 8th 2014

William Grant & Sons has announced the acquisition of the Drambuie Liqueur Company.

The family-owned company says Drambuie – a blend of aged scotch whisky, spices and heather honey – is a natural addition to its portfolio of premium brands including Glenfiddich and The Balvenie single malt scotch whiskies.

William Grant & Sons’ chief executive, Stella David said: “We have a passion and a reputation for nurturing and building brands. Drambuie has a very rich history and a great story to tell and we are delighted to be in a position to start to re-engage with existing drinkers and to connect the brand with an entirely new generation of consumers.”