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Revisiting The Local Alcoholic Drinks In The World

Here’s a quick food for thought as you set out to explore the world…

A journey remains incomplete if you haven’t soaked in the vibe of the place, tasted the local delicacies and drank the local alcobev.

As you go out and about globe-trotting, don’t forget to indulge your senses with the local-way.

To give your travel tales that extra punch, with this article we bring you a list of six must-try local alcobevs from around the world. So, fasten your seatbelts because here we go…

Siam Sunray – Thailand

This dreamy-named signature drink was created in 2009 to promote tourism in Thailand. It’s a unique vodka-based cocktail which offers a blast of flavours of coconut liqueur, lemongrass, chilli pepper & kaffir lime.

Don’t forget to sip on this light & refreshing tropical wonder on your next trip to this exotic land.

Konyagi – Tanzania

This local alcobev from Tanzania should be on your list of ‘must-try’. Made from sugarcane/molasses, the versatility of this clear drink delights the taste buds and wins you over with its distinct taste.

Pastis -France

The delightful anise-flavoured apéritif is something you must try while visiting the fascinating French lands.

With 40-45% ABV, it is one of the bold yet one of the favourite drinks in France. It makes the summers even more beautiful with its slightly sweet taste. As you sip on this yellow-coloured drink leaves a sweet taste like a fond memory, like the typically irresistible French charm!

Slivovitz – Serbia, Czech Republic, Poland & Bulgaria

Slivovitz is a heady plum brandy primarily produced in central & eastern Europe. Known for the distinctive bitter taste & the superkick with 50-70% ABV, it has rightly earned a reputation for itself.

Baijiu – China

This funky and complex drink is considered to be the national drink of China and its roots can be traced to the provinces of Sichuan & Guizhou.

Baijiu is white or clear alcobev which is usually distilled from fermented sorghum. However, other grains such as wheat, barley, maize are also commonly used in its production in southern China.

While most Baijiu is about 50% ABV, some are above 60% ABV as well. Since it is high in ABV content, the people who are unaccustomed to its taste, often take time to develop a taste for Baijiu.

There are four varieties of Baijiu which are produced, classified by the aroma –

Strong fragrance;
Light fragrance;

Rice fragrance; and

Sauce fragrance.

Soju – South Korea

The quintessential Korean wonder is one of the most widely consumed drinks around the world by volume. It is popularly believed that an average adult Korean drinks about 90 bottles of Soju a year.

Its alcohol content varies from 16.8% to 53% ABV, and even though it looks like vodka and gin, this distilled, rice-based clear alcobev tastes sweeter. Thanks to its distinctive sharp taste, it is quite easy on the palette, and the subtle flavours it can be consumed with a variety of foods.

Traditionally consumed chilled & neat in a shot glass, Soju is also used as a base spirit in cocktails these days.

Hoping that this list has given you a little encouragement to add a few more stories to your valuable travel adventures, we wish you a bagful of enchanting experiences and glassful of local drinks to take your mind for a spin!

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Difference Between Digestifs & Apéritifs

If sipping on sherry or dry vermouth before a meal, without getting in an inebriated state is your thing, you already are familiar with apéritifs.

‘But is there any difference between digestifs & apéritif, it almost always seems like a confusing puzzle!’

Does this statement sound like you?

We are here to break down this puzzle, so, without further ado let’s get started.

Beginning With The Basics

Both apéritifs and digestifs are typically alcobevs, served before and after a meal.

Apéritif, derived from the Medieval Latin ‘aperire’ which literally means “to open”. This light alcobev is believed to stimulate the appetite.

Since they are served before a meal, they are typically very dry, which indicates they are very low in sugar, because well, you wouldn’t want to be in the inebriated state through the dinner.

Simply put, this well-kept secret of Europe is quickly catching up as a part of day drinking culture too.
Dry champagne, sherry, vermouth, ouzo are commonly consumed types of apéritifs. It is the bitter category which takes the cake by being a popular choice, leaving the taste buds fired up.

Digestifs, on the other hand, as the name suggests are served after a meal to aid in digestion.

They are consumed neat and are generally high on alcohol content as compared to the pre-meal counterpart.

The types of drinks served post-dinner vary according to cultures and countries.

Fortified wines, brandy (Cognac & Armagnac) and liqueurs (both bitter & sweet) qualify in the list of apéritifs. Bitter digestifs contain carminative herbs such as anise, peppermint, fennel, cinnamon etc which aid in digestion.

In European culture both the drinks play a major role to unwind and put the brakes on for an entertaining and wholesome dining experience.

History

Originally apéritifs were used for medicinal purposes early in the 16th century when the liquor based portions were infused with a blend of additives such as herbs, roots and spices. It was introduced in France in 1846 as bitter medicine, however, the ‘preventive bitter medicine’, gradually became a commonly consumed pre-meal drink.

By the 19th century, apéritifs became widely popular in Italy, and by 1900 they were commonly served in America.

Digestifs

Much like their pre-meal counterpart, digestifs too have a history which goes back to centuries. With the carminative herbs to aid in the release of digestive juices, digestifs popularly found a way to the dinner tables during the 18th century.

How Are They Made?

Both apéritifs and digestifs have been commercially made for about two centuries across Europe. There is no fixed general production method or a secret recipe for making these alcobevs, the processes differ according to diverse cultures and countries.

How Do You Drink Them?

Most apéritifs are consumed straight up.

While bitter liqueurs & dry vermouth are served on the rocks, fortified wines are best served chilled. Ouzo & pastis are intensely anise flavoured which makes it best to pair these with water.

While most digestifs are served chilled or at room temperature, cognac & wine are sipped and some like limoncello can also be taken as shots.

Let’s conclude by saying that both alcobevs serve the delicious purpose as pre and post meal drinks, however, it is advised to not beat the purpose by getting carried away, and getting drunk on them!

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Difference Between Liquor & Liqueur

The words liquor and liqueur may seemingly be confusing for newbie consumers and bartenders alike. The chances of mistakenly interchanging one for the other as bar ingredient are higher for those uninitiated.

So before you end up making one disastrous cocktail using these crucial bar ingredients, let’s step in to simplify the matters for you.

Liquor or ‘spirit’ is basically any distilled alcoholic beverage. It is produced by distillation of fermented grains, fruits or vegetables.

They are used as base ingredients in many cocktails.

The word liquor is derived from the Latin verb ‘liquere, which means “to be fluid”. The first usage of the liquid for drinking dates back to the 14th century.

Liqueur, on the other hand, is an alcoholic drink which is sweetened by infusing fruits, herbs, spices, nuts, flowers to the base liquor. Historically liqueurs were used for medicinal purposes, however, over the centuries the production and consumption has expanded across the world.
The word liqueur has Latin roots in ‘liquifacere’, which means ‘to dissolve’. They are commonly served straight up, in cocktails, coffee, with ice, and some liqueurs are also used in cooking.

Methods of Production

The liqueur has been around for centuries now and the sweet-tasting alcobev still remains relevant because it has evolved with time. The versatility of liqueurs makes them key ingredients in many cocktails.

The steps of production are as follows.

Step one involves the selection of alcohol, wherein neutral base alcohol is selected. Rum, gin, vodka are the preferred types of neutral alcohol used.
The other raw materials used are fruits, herbs, spices etc which contain the natural flavouring agents within seeds, zest, petals, roots, pulps etc.

Step two includes extraction by infusion; maceration; percolation; distillation.

Step three involves blending, ageing, filtering and bottling. Generally, sugar is the last ingredient which is incorporated to make a perfectly delicious liqueur.

The infusion of flavours and sweetness in liqueurs is a primary factor which makes them distinct from liquors.

The ageing process can be anywhere from a period ranging from a few months to a few years in oak casks or barrels. Bold enough to be consumed as a stand-alone drink or used in cocktails, its strength varies from 15- 55% with at least 100 gms of sugar content.
Some of the types of liqueurs are crème Liqueurs, chocolate liqueurs, coffee liqueurs, fruit-based liqueurs, schnapps, spiced liqueurs, herb-based liqueurs, nut-flavoured, whiskey-based liqueurs etc.

Liquors are considered to be the backbone of any cocktail, and unlike liqueurs, they are not sweet. They made by the process of distillation of the fermented grain mash which purifies the liquid, thus removing diluting components like water. The extraction process gives liquors a relatively high concentration of alcohol content.

Even though alcobevs like beer, wine, sake, mead and cider are fermented, they do not fall under the category because they are not distilled.

Whisky, brandy, rum, vodka, gin, tequila, baijiu are the common types of liquors.

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