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Jan 2019

Is There A Difference Between Cognac & Armagnac?

Posted by / in Responsible Drinking /

Let’s begin with the basics here to keep things simple.

So, what kind of liquor is Cognac and what about Armagnac?

In a lay language, cognac and Armagnac are like first cousins, they are similar yet different! They both are French brandies distilled from wine, but they differ vastly in terms of variety of grapes used & distillation process.

Moving on to cognac and brandy, it wouldn’t be incorrect to say that all cognacs are brandy but not all brandy is Cognac. To explain it further, brandy is a liquor which is made by distillation of grapes whereas, cognac has to fulfil a certain set of strict parameters for it to be called so. Cognac is a particular form of brandy which is produced specifically in Cognac town of south-western France and it requires to .follow certain stringent legal criterion vis-à-vis naming and production method. In this way, it reminds us to share a similar example of Champagne and sparkling wine, you can read about it here.

Variety of Grapes

Cognac uses 97% of  Ugni Blah grapes which are high in acidity content. Armagnac in addition to Ugni Blah grape variety (55%)also uses three additional varieties of grapes, namely Folle Blanche (5%), of Colombard (5%) and Baco Blanc (35%) grape varieties.

Baco Blanc in Armagnac is a hybrid variety of American Noa & Folle Blanche grape varieties, which is absent in Cognac.

The white wine from which Cognac is made is highly acidic, making it almost undrinkable. However, the produced wine in Armagnac tastes pleasant.


Climate, temperature & soil variety play a significant role in deciding the grape varieties which grow in a particular region.

The climate in both regions of Cognac and Armagnac differ significantly. By and large, Armagnac experiences moderate-continental climate with dry summers & comparatively harsher winters.


The difference in the distillation process significantly affects the end product.

While Armagnac goes through a single distillation in continuous Armagnac pot still (or column still), Cognac goes through double distillation in pot stills (Charentais pot still).


Following the distillation process, these brandies are then left to age in the barrels. The minimum aging process of Cognac is two years whereas Armagnac can be aged for a minimum period of one year.

As per Cognac regulations, only French oak barrels are permitted for the aging process. Armagnac is left to age in 400-litres oak barrels mostly from the forests of Gascony or Limousin.

To conclude, although the average production of Armagnac is lesser than that of Cognac, the superiority of one brandy over the other cannot be established. While Armagnac is more robust than Cognac, both the brandies are bold spirits with great aromatic richness,  and these are served at room temperature. While Cognac is the vivacious globe-trotting brandy, Armagnac remains low-key!

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Dec 2018

Must-Try Traditional Christmas Cocktails

Posted by / in Responsible Drinking /

As refreshing Autumn gives way to freezing winters, it’s time to get in the festive groove yet again because Christmas is just around the corner. One of the charms of this chilly season is to curl up in bed all cosy and sipping on your favourite drink as your senses soak in the beauty all around. Keeping up with the wintery and Christmas theme, in this article we bring you a curated list of Christmas cocktails you might want to try as you revel in the festivities.

*For more information about the recipes, please follow the mentioned links.


Bombardino – Italy

Image Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/food-and-drink/2015/12/16/drinkitaly_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqcFbVwrldgDqLr44SrdFj-pjiYJg1F3Rk-pkgTvIwLgs.jpg?imwidth=450

Recipe Source:http://honestcooking.com/bombardino-christmas-holiday-or-apres-ski-cheer-from-italy/

The legend has it that this drink was created by a young man from Genova, who then moved to leave his life by the sea to live in the Italian Alps. He served in the mountain infantry and later on opened a ski lodge wher he created this drink to keep few skiers warm in the blizzard. The skier upon taking a sip exclaimed that the drink was like a bomb, and hence the name came into being. Years later, the recipe was improvised & perfected to attain the modern creamy egg & liqueur, stirred in brandy and finished with whipped cream along with cinnamon.

With the story so fascinating, Bombardino tastes divine!



  • 1 part rum or brandy
  • 1 part homemade Advocaat or Egg Nog or Vov
  • Sweetened whipped cream


  • 1 part rum or brandy
  • 1 part homemade Advocaat or Egg Nog or Vov
  • 1 part espresso
  • Sweetened whipped cream

Advocaat or Egg Nog or Vov

  • 4 egg yolks
  • ⅓ cup (65g) sugar, plus 1 tablespoon (12g)
  • 2 cups (.5l) whole milk
  • 1 cup (.25l) heavy cream
  • 6 ounces (.175l) brandy
  • 4 egg whites



  1. Heat the Advocaat and rum or brandy in a small saucepan. If you have a cappuccino machine, you can use the steamer to heat.
  2. Top with sweetened whipped cream. Serve.


  1. Heat the Advocaat, rum or brandy, and espresso in a small saucepan. Again, you can also heat using your cappuccino machine.
  2. Top with sweetened whipped cream. Serve.

Advocaat or Egg Nog or Vov

  1. Using a mixer, beat the egg yolks until they are light in color.
  2. Gradually add the ⅓ cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved.
  3. Add the milk, cream, and brandy. Transfer to another bowl.
  4. Place the egg whites in the bowl of the mixer and beat to soft peaks.
  5. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
  7. This can be stored for up to a week in your refrigerator.


Sorrel Punch – Jamaica

Image Source: https://jamaicans.com/wp-content/uploads/2004/03/Jamaican-Sorrel-Drink-Recipe.jpg

Recipe Source: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/jamaican-sorrel-rum-punch-200629

 It goes like this, that in Jamaica wherever Christmas follow, sorrel punch also follows. Christmas celebrations are incomplete without the traditional rum-based sorrel punch. It is cold brewed & made from sorrel flowers (hibiscus) and spiced with star anise, cinnamon, other spices along with ginger.


  • 2 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) dried sorrel calyxes (also called jamaica or hibiscus)
  • Two 1-inch cubes of peeled fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 5 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups amber rum
  • 2 cups ice cubes, or to taste
  • Lime and orange slices for garnish


In a heatproof bowl combine the sorrel, the ginger and the cloves. In a saucepan bring 5 cups of the water to a boil, pour it over the sorrel mixture, and let the mixture steep for 4 hours or overnight. While the mixture is steeping, in a small saucepan bring the remaining 3/4 cup water and the sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and let the syrup cool. Strain the sorrel liquid into a pitcher, discarding the solids, stir in the sugar syrup, the rum and the ice cubes, and garnish the punch with the lime and orange slices.


Feuerzangenbowle – Germany

Image Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/Feuerzangenbowle_044-3.jpg

Recipe Source: https://www.epicurus.com/beverages/feuerzangenbowle/7517/

This zesty, lemony-orangy, fiery drink most definitely is not for the faint-hearted! In the literal terms, it’s a classic German ‘fire punch’ much-loved by the world over. Why is it fiery you might wonder? Well, it is because the Sugarloaf is soaked in rum and then set afire which drips into mulled wine.


  • 2 organic oranges
  • 2 organic lemons
  • 3 bottles dry red wine (2 to 3 litres total)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 pinch ginger (ground)
  • 1 pinch cardamom
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1 sugar cone
  • 2 cups brown rum (at least 54% alcohol)


  1. Wash oranges and lemons thoroughly, pat dry and cut into slices or wedges.
  2. In a large pot combine red wine, gently squeezed oranges and lemons, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, allspice and ginger. Heat slowly making sure it does not come to a boil. Remove pot from heat and place on a heat source (such as from a Fondue set).
  3. Place sugar cone into metal holder (“Feuerzange”). A metal rack or mesh strainer will do, as long as it doesn’t sink into the wine – don’t use aluminium.
  4. Soak sugar cone with rum and carefully light it. The sugar will melt and drip into the wine.
  5. Little by little start adding more rum to the sugar cone using a long-handled ladle.
  6. Once the sugar cone and rum have completely burned off, gently stir the concoction and serve in mugs or heatproof glasses.
  7. Important note on safety: This recipe requires handling alcohol and open flames. Be extremely careful and proceed with caution.


Wassail – England

Image Source: https://cf.ltkcdn.net/cooking/images/std/187105-325×217-Christmas-Wassail.jpg

Recipe Source: https://www.farmflavor.com/recipe/type/appetizers/traditional-wassail/

Typically served on Christmas Eve, Wassail is a traditional drink from medieval England. With cider, cinnamon, cloves & brandy, Wassail is served warm in the cups & makes for a perfect Christmas-y drink. It keeps you warm as you enjoy the festivities.


  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • ½ cup brandy, optional


  1. Mix juices, sugar and seasonings together. Add the brandy at this point to make the alcoholic wassail.
  2. Slowly bring to a boil in a large saucepan or pot. Boil for 1 minute.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with sliced oranges floating in the punch bowl.


Glögg – Sweden

Image Source: https://blog.etsy.com/en/files/2015/12/glogg-header.jpg

Recipe Source: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/180453/old-fashioned-swedish-glogg/

 This sweetly aromatic warm boozy wonder is a true Swedish delight. Scandinavians consider this mulled wine as an important traditional drink for the holiday season. This feisty drink keeps you warm & fuzzy and adds to the flavours of the festive season.


  • 5 (750 milliliter) bottles port wine
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle 100 proof bourbon whiskey
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle white rum
  • 3 whole cardamom pods, cracked
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 (3 inch) strip of orange peel
  • 1 (8 inch) square of cheesecloth
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) package dark raisins
  • 1 (6 ounce) package blanched slivered almonds


  1. Heat the port wine over medium heat until just below the simmer point in a large stockpot with a lid. Add bourbon and rum, and bring back to just below simmering. Save the bottles and their caps for storing leftover glogg.
  2. While the wine and liquors are heating, place the cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves, and orange peel onto the centre of the square of cheesecloth. Gather together the edges of the cheesecloth, and tie with kitchen twine to secure.
  3. When the mixture is very hot but not boiling, carefully light it with a long-handled match. Wearing a heatproof cooking mitt, carefully pour the sugar into the flames, and let the mixture burn for 1 minute. Put the lid on the stockpot to extinguish the flames, and turn off the heat. Let the mixture cool, covered, for about 10 minutes; add the cheesecloth bundle of spices and the raisins and almonds to the warm wine mixture and let it cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

As the spirit of Christmas knocks on your door, make sure to celebrate it with these traditional festive drinks from around the world!

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Dec 2018

Interesting Facts About Alcohol You Didn’t Know About

Posted by / in Responsible Drinking /

Alcohol remains one of the most consumed beverages in the world. But do you know all that you need to know about alcohol? Let’s take you through a quick list of interesting facts about alcohol you probably didn’t know about.

Alcohol takes about six minutes to reach the brain

Yes, that is the time alcohol takes to reach your brain cells. According to the researchers, the link between alcohol consumption and rapid changes in the brain cells was established!

Etymology of alcohol

The origin of the word ‘alcohol’ was first traced to mid 16th century when it initially meant a ‘fine powder from distillation’. The word has its roots in Arabic word ‘al-kuḥl’ and ‘alcool’ in French.

What does the world like to drink?

More than 45% of alcohol consumed is in the form of spirits, next comes beer at nearly 36%. Consumption of wine in Europe is the highest in the world and alcohol is illegal in the Middle East.

Highest consumption

This one might come as a bit of a shocker but the Czech Republic is the highest beer consuming nation, leaving the Germans far behind!

Moldova and Belarus are the countries with the highest alcohol consumption in the world.

Per capita consumption of alcohol in Moldova is 17.4 litres closely followed by Belarus at 17.1 litres.

Which is the strongest?

Bottled at 95%ABV, Spirytus Rektyfikowany which is the rectified spirit from Poland remains the strongest spirit in the world. It is recommended to not be consumed neat and mostly used as base alcohol for liqueurs.

‘Snake Venom’ by Scottish brewery Brewmeister is the world’s strongest beer with 67.5% ABV.

Earliest consumption

The earliest consumption of fermented beverages is recorded to have developed around Neolithic Age about 1000 years ago.

How many grapes make a wine bottle?

It takes about 600-800 grapes to make that bottle of wine.

Bubbles in a bubbly

There are about one million bubbles in a champagne flute.

Pressure in a bottle

There is three times more air pressure in your champagne than in your car tyre, quite literally and interestingly!

Alcohol and body temperature

Alcohol does not warm your body, it dilates the blood vessels under your skin which makes the blood flow shunt closer to the periphery.

Alcohol and manometer

Alcohol is used in manometers because it has a low vapour pressure which more accuracy can be maintained in pressure difference.

Mercury vs alcohol

The earliest glass thermometer used during the 1600s contained alcohol instead of mercury!

Human body produces alcohol

Surprised? Yes, it’s true and it is called ‘Auto-Brewery Syndrome’. It is a condition in which a certain bacteria present in the gut produces yeast which is similar to ‘Saccharomyces’ or ‘brewer’s yeast’.

Alcohol cannot be digested

Alcohol can’t be digested because it gets directly passed on to the bloodstream.

Alcohol cravings

Dipsomania is a term which describes the excessive cravings for alcohol.

Alcohol for sustenance

So the fact goes like this, a human body requires thirteen essential minerals to sustain and guess what, all thirteen can be found in alcohol!

Muscular means less drunk

And this holds true as well! The more muscle mass a person has, the higher the tolerance for alcohol as compared with a person with more body fats. Muscle has more water hence the alcohol gets diluted.

One beer or one vodka shot?

One beer is equal to one vodka shot and one glass of wine.

Milkshake and alcohol

During 1885, the word ‘milkshake’ implied eggnog-like beverage which was originally made from whisky and over the centuries, the meaning obviously changed.

Alcohol is a disinfectant

Alcohol kills bacteria which is why it can be used as disinfectant and sterilizer.

Alcohol ban for Russian women

COnsumption of alcohol was banned for Russian women under the reign of Empress Catherine, the men, however, could drink!

Hope you had an enjoyable time reading about these interesting facts!

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Dec 2018

History Of Alcohol (Contd.)

Posted by / in Responsible Drinking /

It is already established that alcohol has a rather long steady relationship with humankind and that, it still remains to be a popular beverage choice for all reasons and seasons. So, without much further ado and continuing with the trivia of alcohol, let us walk down the paths of history to trace and know more about the origin of different types of alcohol.


 According to a study conducted, the history of distillation process is rooted in the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia & Babylon. The available evidence indicates that the distillation process originated in Mesopotamia dating far back as 2000 BC, however, it originally involved perfumes.

Over the years and centuries, this knowledge gradually passed on from Greeks to Arabs to Europe.

It reached Ireland & Scotland around 15th century primarily for medicinal purposes. It gradually found a strong foothold in the Scottish and Irish history and culture, and the earliest Scottish history of the production of whisky dates back to the year 1494. With King James’ fondness for Scotch whisky, its production saw tremendous increase which also led to the monopolization. Through the years, the taste of whisky also evolved. Old Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland acquired the license in 1608 and is said to be the oldest licensed distillery in the world.

Whisky reached the lands of America around 1600 onwards with the arrival of European mercenaries and colonizers.

In India, the first distillery was built by Edward Dyer of British East India company in the 1820s.


The history of Vodka has for long been debatable and over the centuries many versions of the alcoholic beverage used for initially for the medicinal purposes.

Polish vodka has been used beginning as early as 1405, with the recorded court documents from Palatinate of Sandomierz in Poland and gradually gained popularity. Vodka production in Poland gained momentum towards the end of the 16th century and by the end of the 18th century, it was the beginning of real industrial production wherein it went on to become a mass product.

The methods used in the production of vodka saw various changes over the centuries.

The ‘water of life’ (Voda) or Vodka reached the Russian lands towards the end of the 14th century when the Italian ambassadors presented it to Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy.

As the legend goes, around the year 1430 a monk from Chudov Monastery created a secret recipe of Russian vodka in Moscow Kremlin.

Vodka found its way to the official Russian documents for the first time in 1751.


The first production of tequila was in the 16th century in the erstwhile city of Tequila In pre-Columbian Mexico saw the production and consumption of a fermented and distilled alcoholic beverage derived from the agave plant.

The mass production of tequila began around 1600 under Don Pedro Sánchez de Tagle, the Marquis of Altamira and the first factory was established in Jalisco.

Tequila was first reached the American shores around 1884-1885 when it was first exported.

Over the centuries the family-owned tequila brands continued to exist, however with the emergence of multinational corporations in modern times, the production and ownership have extended.

The popularity of these alcoholic beverages has increased over the centuries and so have the methods of production. So, next time you hold a glass of fine wine or take a sip of vodka, take a moment to mull over the fact that these spirits have perhaps been passed on to us from the likes of royal courts and exotic faraway lands!

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Nov 2018

7 Cocktails To Try This Fall

Posted by / in Responsible Drinking /

The bright-chirpy summers and fresh monsoons have bid adieu and the crisp fall finally comes knocking at the door. As we see a noticeable change with the beautiful autumnal season setting in, it brings along a change in food and drinks habits & preferences too. Talking of fall reminds us of enjoying the partly misty and chilly evenings over a perfect drink and endless conversations with a great company.

So, brace up because here we are, all set and ready with a crisp list of delightful cocktails which you must try this season.

Old Irish Cure

With a nip in the weather we must trust the Irish for this amazing drink,for  it certainly the cures all the ales…oops…we mean ails!

Note: Image and Recipe Source https://cdn-image.foodandwine.com/sites/default/files/2010-r-cocktail-irish-cure.jpg


  • Ice
  • 1 1/3 ounces Irish whiskey, preferably Jameson
  • 1/3 ounce dark rum
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Calvados
  • 1/3 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce cane syrup or Rich Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey mixed with 1/2 teaspoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Ginger Juice
  • Dash of Angostura bitters
  • 1 thin apple slice, for garnish


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the apple slice garnish and shake well. Strain the drink into a chilled coupe and garnish with the apple slice.


Hot Apple Pie Cider

The liqueur based cocktail is a sureshot delight which will make drinking on a fall evening pleasurable.

Note: Image and Recipe Source https://www.thespruceeats.com/hot-applie-pie-cocktail-759690


  • 2 ounces Tuaca (Liqueur)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider (hot)
  • Garnish: whipped cream
  • Garnish: stick of cinnamon


Pour Tuaca in a glass, add apple cider and top it with whipped cream. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.


Hunter’s Cocktail

With a name so spunky, this cocktail is a great hit, especially during the Autumn season.

Note: Image and Recipe Source https://www.thespruceeats.com/hunters-cocktail-recipe-761450


  • 1 1/2 ounces whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce cherry brandy
  • Garnish: Maraschino cherry


Pour the whiskey and cherry brandy into an old-fashioned glass with ice. Stir well and garnish with a maraschino cherry.



This vodka-based cocktail is perfect for any fall soirée.

Note: Image and Recipe Source https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/amberjack-cocktails-2008


  • Ice
  • 1 ounce apple vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Macallan Amber (Scotch-based maple-flavored liqueur)
  • 1/2 ounce Calvados
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces chilled apple lambic
  • 1 thin green apple slice


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, Macallan Amber, Calvados and lime juice; shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass, stir in the lambic and garnish with the apple slice.


Pear Naked Sailor

For the name as wild as this one, you are sure to have a wild time drinking this cocktail!

Image Source: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/0e/fd/ac/0efdac1ce9508ffde1dd3dae7c7904a0.jpg

Recipe Source: https://www.thespruceeats.com/pear-naked-sailor-cocktail-recipe-759229


  • 1 1/2 oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • 1 1/2 oz Bosc Pear Puree
  • 1 1/4 oz pure ginger nectar
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Few ounces ginger ale to float
  • Garnish: pear slice
  • Garnish: nutmeg


  • Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  • Shake well.
  • Strain over fresh ice in a collins glass.
  • Float the ginger ale on top.
  • Garnish with half a pear slice and a dusting of nutmeg.

For Ginger Nectar :

  • Using fresh ginger, peel thoroughly then slice into 1-inch chunks.
  • Spread on a sheet and bake in oven at 350 for 15 minutes.
  • Place ginger pieces into a storage container and add 4x its volume of hot water.
  • Let steep overnight.
  • Next day, scoop the ginger pieces into a blender along with some of the gingered water.
  • Blend at a high setting until the ginger has been broken down and liquefied as much as possible.
  • Fine strain multiple times using a muddler to press every last drop of liquid from the ginger.
  • Add more of the gingered water to taste, in order to regulate the level of spice.


Mama Juan

A classic cocktail with Dominican roots, all set to soothe your fall blues!

Note:  Image and Recipe Source https://www.departures.com/travel/restaurants/best-fall-cocktails#last-rites-san-francisco


  • 5 oz Real McCoy Rum
  • 1 oz lime
  • .75 oz Cocchi Americano
  • .75 oz spiced honey
  • .25 oz Punt e Mes
  • .25 oz Nocino
  • .25 oz ginger beer


Shake ingredients together, strain into glass. Serve up with an orange peel and scored lime wedge for garnish.


Pumpkin Pie Martini

Timeless martini with a smooth and creamy twist to suit the season of fall.

Note: Image and Recipe Source https://www.nospoonnecessary.com/pumpkin-pie-martini/


  • 2 ounces Pumpkin Spice Vodka
  • 1 ounces Dark Rum
  • ½ ounces Half and Half
  • 2 TBS Pumpkin Puree (canned or homemade)
  • 1 ounces Maple Syrup
  • ¼ tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Ice Cubes
  • Rim:
  • Maple Syrup
  • 1 Graham Cracker
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 TBS Granulated Sugar
  • Garnish:
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon Stick


  • For the Garnish: Crush graham cracker in a Ziploc bag, or food processor, or food processor until it resembles sand. Stir in the cinnamon and sugar. Line the rim of a martini glass with maple syrup (I used a thick napkin to apply syrup). Dip/roll in the cracker mix. Set aside.
  • For the Martini: In a cocktail shaker, combine the ice and remaining cocktail ingredients. Shake vigorously until shaker chilled to the touch.
  • Strain and pour cocktail into the prepared martini glass. Garnish with cinnamon stick and nutmeg. Enjoy!

As the weather gets cooler by the day, let’s spread some cheer and celebrate the spirit of Autumn!

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Nov 2018

The Types Of Rums

Posted by / in Responsible Drinking /

No matter whatever the reason, rum is for all seasons, wouldn’t you agree? It is perhaps one of the most well-liked alcohols around the world. The history of rum dates far back to the colonial era when it was considered to be a trade necessity.

In today’s times, it is preferred not only as a stand-alone drink but, as an ingredient in cocktails too! So let us briefly brush up the ‘grammar’ of rum. As common knowledge goes, rum is a fermented & distilled alcoholic drink made from sugarcane & its by-products such as molasses, sugarcane juice, sugarcane syrup etc., and then aged in wooden or stainless steel casks.

Rums are generally categorized by colour, the process of distillation, and the period of ageing based on regional variations such as varying rules & laws of the rum-producing countries.

While the colour of rum is determined by the ageing process, the taste and aroma depend upon the yeast, which is added during the process of fermentation. The longer the rum is left to age, the darker it is. However, it also depends upon the molasses which are used in the rum-making process. Dark rums are commonly preferred for consuming neat or straight up, and the lighter rums are mostly used in cocktails.

So, let’s quickly take you through a short list of the types of rums –

Dark Rum

Most dark rums are made from caramelized sugar or molasses and go through the process of double distillation. The third distillation leads to a darker, full-bodied black rum with rich and intense flavours. Rum is left in the casks to age for longer which gives a bolder and dense flavour in comparison to gold or light rums and are commonly used in cooking.

Gold Rum

Gold rums are medium-bodied, they have a smoother taste in comparison with dark rums and a stronger richer taste than white or light rums.

White Rum

White rums are also called ‘light’ or ‘silver’ rums and age for a much lesser duration in comparison with gold or dark rums. White rum is left to age in stainless steel casks and often filtered during the process to reduce the colour. Light rums have a slightly sweeter and milder taste which makes them the preferred choice in cocktails.

 Spiced Rum

Spiced rums are golden or darker in colour and made from molasses or sugarcane syrup. Once the clear spirit is left to age in oak barrels and a certain golden tint attained, the rum is then infused with herbs and spices. These spices include rosemary, anise, black pepper, cinnamon etc. Added herbs and spices give a unique flavour to the rum.

Fruit-Flavoured Rum

This rum is a unique blend of rum infused with fruit flavours such as pineapple, banana, mango, etc., which amplifies the sweetness of rum and, gives it a distinct and complex flavour. Much like spiced rum, this infusion of fruit flavours occurs after the process of fermentation and distillation. These types of rums are a popular choice as a cocktail ingredient.

Premium Rums

These are left to age in oak barrels for a long duration which gives a very rich character and flavour. Premium rums are mostly produced and sold by boutique brands.

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Nov 2018

The History of Alcohol

Posted by / in Responsible Drinking /

Humankind is known to have enjoyed the bliss of drinking booze since time immemorial.

Whether it’s enjoying a chilled beer in summers, savouring the finest scotch on a cold winter night or upping the game with a daring game of tequila shots, alcohol finds a way in our lives for all reasons and seasons.

But do you know how old is your favourite spirit & which part of the world does it come from? By old we mean ‘ancient’, not merely the ‘ageing process’ of alcohol, but when did it originate?

Today, let’s take you through a trivia timeline of the history and origin of alcohol.


As the ‘wiki’ listing goes, beer is one of the oldest alcoholic drink produced by humans. Its origin can be traced to as far back as the 5th millennium BC in mountain regions of Zargos, Iran. The tests of various pottery jars discovered have strongly suggested that beer production was a part of Iranian culture tracing back to about 7000 years ago.

Beer also finds a place in Mesopotamian and Egyptian history which was duly recorded.

It was also a major alcoholic beverage in the Babylonian era. In fact, according to researchers, beer and wine were two alcoholic beverages which the Babylonians gave as offerings to their deities and gods.

According to the most recent survey, the first and the oldest brewery discovered was in a prehistoric cave in Israel. The oldest beer traces which have been discovered during this survey can be traced to about 13000 years ago!


The wine has been produced for thousands of years and until about a year ago, the earliest evidence of wine production known to the researchers dated back to about 7000 years ago in Iran. The evidence of 7000 years old fermentation of grape-based fermented wine was traced in China. The scientists also discovered the first winery with its roots in Armenia, dating back to 6100 years BC. With the spread of trade in the subsequent years and centuries, the wine culture also reached the western shores.

It is also interesting to note that the earliest literary references to wine were common around 7th-8th century BC in the compositions of Homer and Alkman.

Bachhus is considered as the god of wine in Roman mythology and Dionysus is his Greek counterpart.

According to the newest studies conducted, the scientists believe that the 8000-year-old fragments of pottery which have been discovered strongly show the earliest evidence of winemaking.


The historical account of Middle Ages has linked the production of rum to Persia, Cyprus in the Middle East. And later, in a comparatively modern world, rum has found strong roots in the colonial history of America. The origin of rum was traced to the Caribbean, where the plantation slaves discovered the use of molasses in rum-making.

Commercial rum is believed to have originated in the 1630s in Barbados, however, the quality of rum produced there was not considered of fine quality. The increase of colonial impact on the world also witnessed an increased rum production in other parts of the world.


(Do watch out this space for more trivia on the history of different types of alcohol)

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Sep 2018

Types of Alcohol Glassware

Posted by / in Responsible Drinking /

Are you planning to invite your friends over a weekend party? Whether you’re serving scotch straight up or serving wine to someone, it is important to serve drinks in the right kind of glasses is as vital as stocking your bar well and deciding the right menu while hosting a get-together.

So, just in case if you have hit a slight bump on the road in that direction, we’re here to crack the code for you about alcohol glassware.

Different types of alcohol require different serving glasses. For example, it is unsuitable to serve beer in a wine glass, or rum in tequila shot glass, or even whisky in a champagne flute for that matter…do you get the drift?

As long as you intend to get mighty tipsy, it doesn’t really matter what kind of shape or size of glass you drink from. However, there is a scientific reasoning behind the different shapes and sizes of alcohol glassware, as they affect the aroma, flavour and the temperature of drinks.


Beer Glass

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 There is not one but a wide variety of beer glassware. Beer glasses come in many shapes and sizes which affects the aroma and flavour. For example, a wide rimmed glass encourages gurgling to register the bitterness at the back of the tongue, whereas, the narrow-mouthed rims make the tongue feel the sweetness and acidity of the beer.

Pilsners, pint glasses, snifters, stout glasses, tasters.

The shape and size of beer glasses also reflect the national traditions, for example, stout glasses, stein glasses, Weizen glasses, beer boots, etc.


Martini Glass

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 Martini glass is a wide-mouthed and V-shaped stemmed glass, meant for serving martinis. The drinks are mixed with ice, shaken and then strained into these glasses, so the wide rim helps to inhale the aroma of cocktail ingredients. The cone-shaped glass helps in maintaining the temperature of the straight-up drink. One of the popular cocktails served in this type of glass is Manhattan.


Champagne Flute Glass

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 The champagne flute is a long stemmed and tapered slender glass used to serve champagne. The long stem of this glass enables the person to hold the glass without affecting the temperature of the bubbly, and the slender design retains the bubbles in flute glasses for longer. This glass is also used for sparkling wine and the flute can hold a drink of up to 6 to 10 oz fl in capacity.


Champagne Coupe Glass

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 Originally champagne was served in the champagne coupe, which is also known as a champagne saucer. It is a stemmed glass with a broad and shallow bowl to hold the drink. Over the years, champagne flutes have become a popular choice for champagne lovers. It has a serving capacity of 4 to 8 oz fl of drink.


Highball Glass


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 The highball glass is a tall tumbler glass with a serving capacity of 10 to 12 oz fl. It is used to serve the tall cocktails with fizzy bubbles.


Lowball Glass

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A lowball glass is a short and wide rimmed glass which is used to serve flat drinks without additional liquids. With the serving capacity of 4-6 oz fl, a classic drink served in lowball glass scotch on the rocks.


Old-Fashioned/Rocks Glass

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Like lowball glass, an old-fashioned or rock glass is a short tumbler glass used to serve flat drinks like the classic ‘whisky on the rocks’ or old-fashioned bourbon blends. These glasses have a thick base and are wide rimmed with a serving capacity of 6–10 oz fl. The glasses with tapered base is commonly considered as ‘old-fashioned glass’.


Collins Glass

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 Collins glass is a glass tumbler with a serving capacity of 10-14 oz fl and is used for serving mixed cocktails. It is slightly taller and narrower than a highball glass.


Wine Glass

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 Like beer glasses, there are many variations in shapes when it comes to wine glasses as well. A wine glass is essentially a stemmed glass with a different shape to enhance the aroma and flavour of the wine. For example, red wines are bolder wines and hence, the glasses for red wines are stemmed with wider and rounder-shaped bowl which increases the oxidation rate of wine. The slower oxidation eventually alters the complex flavour and aromas of the wine.

White wine is typically served in glasses which have a comparatively smaller rim and smaller bowl which helps in maintaining a cooler temperature, preserves and enhances the aromas and acidity.


Shot Glass

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A shot glass is a small glass which is used to measure the quantity of liquor to be mixed in a cocktail. It is also used to drink straight up and quickly from the glass in one go. A shot or small dose of liquor is gulped down or consumed in the form of ‘bottoms-up’, as it is commonly called. Vodka and tequila shots are very popular among the party-goers.


A parting note: The list mentioned here is short as there are numerous other types of drinking glasses under the sun! As we mentioned earlier, if you want to get tipsy, the size or shape of a glass becomes irrelevant. However, there are correct tools and glassware for a bar which provide a better drinking experience. So make the most of this knowledge and have an enjoyable drinking experience.

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Sep 2018

Sparkling Wine Vs Champagne – Is There A Difference?

Posted by / in Responsible Drinking /

The debate on ‘Champagne vs Sparkling Wine’ remains popular with many people getting confused about the bubbles and the famously dramatic popping sound of their bottles.

This brings us to the confusing question- is champagne a kind of wine and if so, how is it different from sparkling wine? The answer is ‘yes’ to both, and to say that ‘all champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne’ wouldn’t be wrong at all.

To explain it further in simple terms, both are wines, but sparkling wine can only be called ‘champagne’ if it is fermented and bottled exclusively in the Champagne region of France. Sparkling wine can be produced anywhere in the world, but champagne bears an exclusive geographical tag.

Furthermore, both champagne and sparkling wines, are made from a combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes. But the distinctiveness of champagne also depends upon the unique flavour of the grapes used in the production process. Also, the distinguished flavour of the grapes can be attributed to the mild climes and the mineral-rich soils in which they are grown, only a handful of grape variety is used in making the cuvée. The Appellation d’Origine Controlée (AOC) stringently controls the process of making champagne.

Champagne can be categorized as vintage and non-vintage based on the fact, whether the grape variety used is of one year’s harvest or a mixed variety from different years. The flavours of sparkling wines and champagne range from dry to very sweet and classified as brut, extra dry or extra sec, sec, demi-sec and doux. The taste of ageing champagne is nutty and toasty, whereas sparkling wine tastes fresh and fruity but not necessarily sweet.


A brief overview of where do the famous bubbles come from-

There are three main wine-making processes, namely the tank method which is also known as the Charmat method, carbonated method and the traditional method which is also known as “Methode Champenoise”. Champagne is made by using the ‘Methode Champenoise’. It is through the initiation of the secondary fermentation process of any base wine which gives it the crispness and tartness.

When the wine is fermented in closed and sealed containers, it prevents the gas or CO2 from escaping, thus resulting in releasing in the form of tiny bubbles.

Additionally, the high acidity content of the grapes either white or red is also a determining factor of the crispness. The process of carbonation makes the trademark dancing bubbles and the smaller bubbles are a hallmark of the fine sparkling wine or champagne.


So, the next when you pop open the versatile bubbly and splurge on the divine golden drink to celebrate the special occasions, remember it’s more than about the bubbles, and do not let the labels fool you!


May 2018

Exotic Local Alcoholic Drinks In India

Posted by / in Responsible Drinking / No comments yet

As it turns out, tasting the finest alcohol in the world is not enough, you haven’t tasted the best until you have tried the local alcoholic drinks of India. Based on how adventurous you are and whether you are an alcohol enthusiast or not, you must try the exotic drinks found across the length and breadth of our country. We bring you a short list of the exotic intoxicating wonders found here.

Lugdi- Manali

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Lugdi is a local crude beer made from the fermented rice or barley, popular among the locals and tourists in Manali, Himachal Pradesh.


Chhang- Sikkim, Ladakh

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Another local alcoholic beverage of the Himalayan region is ‘Chhang’ which is a sweet-sour frothy beer made from distilled barley, millets or rice grains. Chhang is a favoured drink in Ladakh and Sikkim, it is said to have warming properties and considered good to fight against the biting cold of the mighty Himalayas. It is also a popular drink in Nepal.

Chulli and Angoori- Kinnaur

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 Chulli is a light drink and quite popular among the locals of Kinnaur region of the mystical Himalayas. This sublime fruity drink is brewed from apples and dried wild apricots, and clear in appearance like vodka.

Angoori is a potent wine made from fermented red and green grapes from Ribba region of Kinnaur. It offers a great cure for the cold-related ailments. The red grapes angoori (5.10% v/v) has a higher alcohol content than the green grapes angoori (3.44% v/v).

Apong- Assam

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Apong is a rich fermented rice beer and the ‘heritage’ drink of Assam. It is made in nearly every household of Mising and Adi people of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Zawlaidi- Mizoram

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This grape wine is bubbly and sweet in taste. Often termed as the magic ‘love potion’ of Mizoram, Zawlaidi is perhaps one of the best wines brewed in India.

Coconut Toddy- Kerala

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 This mild wine is made from the fermented sap, which is collected from the coconut palms. The longer the fermentation process, the stronger and the headier the toddy tastes. It is said that this drink tastes best when it is stored in mud vessels.

Feni- Goa

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Feni is a popular local drink of Goa, and being a classified country liquor it cannot be sold outside the state. Based on the base ingredient there are two types of Feni, cashew feni and toddy palm feni. Cashew feni is a triple-distilled liquor and is made from only the tree-ripened cashew apples. Coconut feni is made from distilled fermented toddy from the coconut palms and it is consumed in the southern parts of Goa.

Zutho- Nagaland


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 Made from fermented rice grains, Zutho is a traditional mild beer found in Kohima, Nagaland. It is a popular alcoholic beverage among Angami Nagas or the tribes on Nagaland. It is our Indian version of Japanese Sake with approximately 5.5% v/v of ethanol.

Zutho is also believed to have medicinal and therapeutic properties.

Royal Mawalin- Rajasthan

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This fine wine from the land of the royals is made with 39 ingredients, which include dates and dry fruits. This aromatic drink tastes bitter with a rich texture and is consumed throughout the year. It is believed to have medicinal properties and owing to its inherent warm properties, it is consumed in small quantities to treat the common cold and mild aches. In winters it is usually consumed with warm water whereas, in summers, it is served with ice.

Drinking the local way offers a different kind of high altogether as it makes for a memorable experience. So, remember to add the above-mentioned names to your bucket list. Try these distinctly flavoured local drinks as you pack your bags for your next soulful voyage.

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