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12

Sep 2018

Sparkling Wine Vs Champagne – Is There A Difference?

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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!

28

May 2018

Exotic Local Alcoholic Drinks In India

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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

Image Source https://www.picbon.com/media/1742116161455492210_738063108

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

Image Source https://www.scoopwhoop.com/inothernews/local-indian-alcohols/#.nlxcqxzbu

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

Image Source https://topyaps.com/facts-about-land-of-kinnaur

 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

Image Source https://thenortheasttoday.com/here-are-northeast-indias-best-locally-brewed-wine-across-the-country/

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

Image Source https://thenortheasttoday.com/here-are-northeast-indias-best-locally-brewed-wine-across-the-country/

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

Image Source https://steemit.com/india/@earningsmugglers/24-country-liquors-and-homemade-alcohols

 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

Image Source https://www.ozy.com/good-sht/79-wtf-is-feni-the-tropical-indian-liquor-you-need-to-try/80412

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

 

Image Source https://imgur.com/gallery/o7oUn

 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

Image Source https://www.ohmyrajasthan.com/royal-liquor-of-rajasthan/amp

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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28

May 2018

Summer Cocktail Recipes

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It’s that time of the year again when the scorching sun makes you want to grab that chilled bottle of beer after work. Just so you know, we meant that it’s the inescapable blazing summer season, because there is no preferred season for beer lovers. Moving on from beer and speaking of summers reminds us of breezy cocktails. You would agree that a refreshing cocktail never hurt anyone, and there’s nothing better than a little experimentation with your favourite cocktail every now and then, to beat the heat.

Now if you’d allow us, we’d like to share with you five cocktail recipes to beat the heat, summer cocktails with a twist.

 

Tomato Mojito

Give your classic Mojito a flavourful twist of tomato and tequila.

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 grape tomatoes (yellow and red)
  • 6 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • pint of salt
  • 2 tablespoons simple syrup or agave nectar
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1/2 cup club soda or sparkling water

Directions

  • In a cocktail shaker, muddle together the tomatoes, mint leaves, juice of half a lime, juice of half a lemon, and salt.
  • Pour in the simple syrup (or agave nectar) and tequila. Add ice and shake vigorously. Divide between two short glasses filled with lots of ice. Top off with club soda or sparkling water. Garnish with mint leaves, and a few grape tomatoes on a toothpick. Enjoy!

Note: Image and recipe source https://thechicsite.com/2014/06/19/tomato-mojito/

 

Lavender Sangria

Be sure to try out this cocktail recipe of the heavenly flavours of lavender with heady white wine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (750mL) bottle pinot grigio
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup grand marnier
  • 2 cups club soda, whatever flavor you’d like
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup lavender syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 pint of strawberries, sliced
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag frozen peaches

For Lavender simple syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
  • 2 sprigs fresh lavender

Directions:

Add the strawberries and frozen peaches to the bottom of a pitcher. Pour your wine, brandy, grand marnier, lavender syrup (start with 1/3 cup, taste and add more if you want) and club soda over top and stir. This tastes great when it sits in the fridge and “marinates” for a bit. But you can also serve it right away!

lavender simple syrup

Place the sugar, water and lavender in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until the sugar dissolves, bringing the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and set the saucepan aside. Let it cool completely. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the lavender. Store in a sealed container in the fridge!

Note: Image and recipe source https://www.howsweeteats.com/2018/05/lavender-white-wine-sangria/

 

Blueberry Mint Juleps

This delicious bourbon recipe is surely going to win your heart!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce mint simple syrup
  • 1 ounce mint blueberry puree
  • crushed ice
  • fresh mint leaves

For Mint Simple Syrup

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 bunch of mint leaves

For Blueberry Mint Puree 

  • 2/3 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons mint simple syrup

Directions:

Combine bourbon, mint simple syrup and mint blueberry puree together and shake or stir well. Pour over crushed ice and serve with extra mint leaves.

Mint simple syrup

Combine sugar, mint and water together in a small saucepan and heat over high heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook for another minute or so, then set aside to cool completely. Remove mint before using. You can do this ahead of time and store it in the fridge!

Blueberry mint puree

In a mini food processor or blender, combine blueberries and mint simple syrup until pureed.

Note: Image and recipe source https://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/04/blueberry-mint-juleps/

 

Mermaid Lemonade

Beat the heat with this refreshing curacao, rum and  lemonade cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Ice
  • 1/4 c. Blue Curacao
  • 1 c. White rum
  • 2 c. lemonade
  • 4 Lemon Slices, for garnish
  • 8 Maraschino cherries, for garnish
  • 4 paper umbrellas

Directions:

  • To four glasses, add ice. Add blue curacao, rum, and lemonade to each glass. Stir to combine. (If you prefer a lot of ice, stir together mixture first, then pour over ice.)
  • Skewer a lemon slice and two maraschino cherries on each paper umbrella and garnish lemonade.

 Note: Image and recipe source https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a53044/mermaid-lemonade-recipe/

 

Mango Raspberry Mimosa

Sink in the fruity and refreshing effervescence of this Mango-Raspberry liqueur cocktail.

Author: Cheyanne Bany

Ingredients:

  • Champagne , chilled
  • Chambord or Raspberry Liqueur
  • Fresh Raspberries
  • Mango Puree (yield ¾ cups):
  • 1 ripe Mango – peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 1-2 TBS Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice

Instructions:

  • Make the Mango Puree: Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to use.
  • For Each Mimosa: Pour 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) mango puree into each champagne flute. Slowly pour in champagne, until ¾ full. Add in ¼- ½ ounce Chambord and top with raspberries. Serve.

Recipe Notes

*For Mango Puree – start with 1 tablespoon of sugar, taste and adjust for sweetness by adding more sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired sweetness is achieved.

*Mango Puree will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days.

*If you add the Chambord to the flute last it will sink to the bottom to create the two layers of colors.

Note: Image and recipe source https://www.nospoonnecessary.com/mango-raspberry-mimosa/

This summer, keep your beer aside and try out these simple-breezy cocktail recipes to wow your guests at house parties, or for your weekend solo revelry. Here’s saying cheers to summers!

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