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28

May 2018

Five Wine Destinations in the World You Didn’t Know About

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What do Tuscany, Napa, Hunter Valley and Alentejo have in common? They are notable wine destinations in the world. Speaking of wine tourism, for the wine lovers who are bitten by the bug of wanderlust, there is always a new reason to travel and a new destination which calls out to them. A visit to vineyard offers a wonderful opportunity not only to taste different wines but also, to know about the process of winemaking and the local wine industry.

Wine tourism ‘enotourism’ is like a fairytale coming true for the wine lovers who love to travel since it offers a perfect opportunity in the grand scheme of things. As the world has witnessed the increase in wine tourism over the last decade, there has also been a rise in the newer destinations which have sprung up.

Here’s a list of five new wine destinations you probably didn’t know about.

United Kingdom

Often cited as one of the major consumers of wine, the UK is now sprouting up as one of the most appealing wine destinations in the world. The stunning view of the vineyards of Great Britain is like the soothing balm for the soul. Over the years, the English wine industry has flourished, and there has been a substantial increase in the number of vineyards in the UK since 2010. White wine produced in the region of Hampshire is one of the finest English wines.

Mount Etna, Italy

The Italians love wine so much, maybe that explains the thriving vineyards even in the volcanic region! Mount Etna which remains the most active volcano in Europe is a rapidly expanding wine region in Italy. Apparently, the high altitude and mineral-rich volcanic soils give the wine a distinct flavour. It must also be noted that most of the vineyards are located on the slopes of Etna.

Who knew Mount Etna would be a hidden treasure trove as a wine destination.

Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania doesn’t fail to impress with its mild summers and cool climes which are particularly favourable for the making of cool-climate wines, such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It has earned the global recognition as a leading producer of premium Aussie wines. Afterall, it isn’t termed as one of the hottest wine destinations in Australia for nothing!

Telemark, Norway

In the recent years, Norway has emerged as the perfect wine destination for wine tourism. We bet you never thought this name could pop up on the list of the possible destinations for wine tourism. In fact, Lerkekåsa Vineyards are the northernmost commercial vineyards in the world. The melted water from the glaciers at Hardangervidda provide rich minerals for the soil which are suited for the vineyards. And for the curious travellers, the nearly magical landscape is a perfect getaway to gratify the longing wanderer and the oenophile in you.

Penedes, Spain

Located in the southwest of Barcelona and at a few hours away from Costa Brava, Penedes in Spain has emerged as one of the prominent wine destinations in the world. This lesser-known destination is a treasure trove for the sparkling wines and rosé Cava. The wine regions in Penedes are divided into three sub-regions based on the topography, low, central and high. Here’s an impressive fact that there are more than 140 wine producers in the wine region of Penedes.

Do you think that it is now time to charter new destinations yet? As they say, let us never underestimate the power of travel and to couple it with wine, let us also hear the whispers of newer destinations in the roar of the prominent ones. So, as your heart aches to see the new lands and you crave satiate your love for wine, maybe it’s now time to tread the off beaten track and explore the newly sprouted and the lesser known wine destinations in the world.

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24

Apr 2018

National Drinks Of The World

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Think about it, what a unique way it is to express your patriotism with a clink of a glass! It sounds like a beautiful puzzle, doesn’t it? Well, don’t be surprised or alarmed, because we’re talking about that deep, age-old connection between countries, the people, and their national alcoholic drinks! Yep, you heard it right. Whether you are an alcohol enthusiast or you are a curious person who generally likes to explore everything under the sun (we mean almost), this is surely going to get you all revved up. Believe it or not, there are many countries in the world which have dedicated national alcoholic drinks!

Let’s open the Pandora’s box of all distilled alcoholic beverages and find out a fact or two of these great nations and their much-celebrated drinks!

It’s T for Tequila for Mexico

Tequila is made from the plant blue agave and only tequila which is made from 100% blue agave can be labelled so. Majority of the times what we mostly find is ‘mixto tequila’, which usually has no less than 51% agave, along with neutral spirit made from sugarcane.

Here are two really interesting facts about Tequila for you, that-
-There is a town called Tequila!
-Tequila is a volcano!
-Mexicans don’t do Tequila shots!

Yep and yep, believe it! Tequila is a town in Mexico’s western state of Jalisco; there is actually a volcano by the same name as Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico. And, this may be surprising for the uninformed ones but, as the world gulps down the fiery tequila shots, the Mexicans like to take small sips of tequila straight-up!

The older the tequila, the better and mellower it tastes, however, it may not have the aging caliber like Scotch. Based on age, Tequila has five categories-

Blanco- Blanco is unaged tequila which is not even two months old in steel or oak barrels;
Reposado- This type of tequila spends roughly between two months to one year in the barrels;
Añejo- This tequila spends anywhere between one year to three years in the barrels;
and,
Extra Añejo- This tequila is aged more than three years.

Then there is another variety based on age, known as Joven, which is unaged as it usually spends between two months to one year in the barrels and has an acquired golden colour. It is usually Blanco mixed with Reposado or Añejo.

Lote Fuenteseca Extra Añejo aged 18 years, is the known, oldest tequila in the world.

It’s Pisco for Peru and Chile

The Peruvians and Chileans are smitten with Pisco, a brandy which is made by distillation and fermentation of grapes. The colour of this drink usually varies from clear to amber, depending upon the ingredients and the process of distillation.
In Peru, the first Saturday of every February is celebrated as National Pisco Sour Day, and the fourth Sunday of every July is celebrated as National Pisco day! Whereas, Chileans celebrate their love for Pisco by celebrating the 15th of May as Pisco Day.

Schnapps-y Austria and Germany

Even though Germans have a special bond with beer, Schnapps also holds a very special place in their hearts. For Germans and Austrians, their national alcoholic beverage is Schnapps. It is a distilled alcoholic beverage which may come in the form of distilled fruit brandy, herbal flavoured liqueurs, infusions and flavoured liqueurs which
are made by adding fruit syrups, spices, or artificial flavorings to neutral grain spirits.
Schnapps is a clear beverage, and can also be made from grains, nuts, roots, vegetables, and flowers.
It is distilled once for to attain about 40 percent alcohol and twice for about 80 percent alcohol content For Austrians and Germans, schnapps is a generic term for fruit brandy and is usually served as a digestif.

Certainly, this ain’t a drink for the faint-hearted!

Beloved Cachaça of Brazil

Say cheers to Cachaça, the most popular alcoholic beverage in Brazil. It is made by the distillation process of fermented sugarcane. It should not be confused with rum, which is made molasses which is a byproduct of sugarcane.
Cachaça has two varieties, based on how it is stored before it is bottled and labelled. The young cachaça is stored in stainless steel containers is called ‘branca’ (white), or ‘tradicional’ (traditional) or ‘prata’ (silver).

The second variety is aged cachaça, ‘Amarela’ or yellow cachaça which is stored or aged in wood, which causes a substantial change in its colour.
Some of the popular names for Cachaça are ‘abre-coração’ which means heart-opener, ‘água-benta’ which means holy water, ‘bafo-de- tigre’ or tiger breath, and ‘limpa-olho’ meaning eye-wash.
Cachaça has been made since the 1500s, and it remains a national pride for the Brazilians. So much so, that September 13th is celebrated as the National Cachaça day.

Grappa from Italy

Ah, the Italians and their love for food and drinks! What whisky is to Scots, likewise Grappa is to Italians. The national drink of Italy is a fragrant brandy made by distillation of grape pomace from the winemaking process. Grape pomace consists of grape seeds, pulp, skin, and stalk.
Mostly grappa is clear, which indicates that it is an unaged distillate. However, some grappa may retain very faint stains from the original fruit pomace.
Young grappa is served chilled, usually around 9-13°C, while the aged grappa should be served at slightly below room temperature, roughly around 15-17°C.

This potent firewater is quite an elixir to Italians!

Meet Raki from Turkey
The Turks love Raki which is their national drink. It is an unsweetened drink made from twice distilled and fermented grapes and aniseed. It is traditionally consumed with chilled water and with this dilution it gets the milky-white colour.
Raki also popularly known as ‘aslan sütü’ or ‘lion’s milk’. ‘Aslan’ is a Turkish metaphor for a strong and a courageous man, this quite interestingly makes it ‘milk for the strong’. Or, rather a ‘drink for the strong’ we’d say!

Some Scotch for the Scots

The Scottish love for whisky is not a secret, the much-noted love has been there for generations or perhaps, times immemorial! The famous Scotch whisky is malt or malt grain whisky aged in oak barrels for a minimum period of three years. The original Scotch whisky was made from malted barley and it is divided into five categories, namely- single malt Scotch, single grain Scotch, blended malt Scotch, blended grain Scotch and blended Scotch.
Come May and the entire month is reserved to celebrate the love for whisky, the month is famously known as ‘Whisky Month’ and they have many whisky-based events and festivals to celebrate. Mark your calendars and pack your bags ladies and gentleman. The Scottish Gaelic name for whisky is ‘Beatha’ which translates to the ‘water of life’!
Boy oh boy, can you blame them for being so famously in love with Whisky!? Scotch whisky tastes so fine, they love it and so do people around the world!

From the many barrels across the world to clinking glasses, here’s a light-headed thought for you- like many other factors, people across the globe seem to be united with their love for alcohol, wouldn’t you agree? Turn on the ‘guzzle mode’, mark your calendars, pack your bags, and off you go to explore and celebrate the wonderful world
with the clink of a glass. And cheers to that!

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20

Apr 2018

Walk Your Way to Moderation (Mindful Drinking)

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It cannot be emphasized enough that moderation is a key to a blissful life. Be it leading a day-to-day life, each step taken in this direction, whether big or small bears fruits. Thus, bearing the torch of moderation forward, it must be noted that drinking responsibly clearly highlights consuming alcohol in moderation.

So, what’s this hullabaloo about drinking in moderation? First and foremost, let’s be clear on the basics, let us recall that WHO defines moderate drinking or ‘low-risk drinking’ as consumption of alcoholic drinks which are not more than 14 drinks per week for men and not more than 7 drinks for women. The given definition clearly specifies the number of alcoholic beverages consumed on any single day and should not be taken as an average over several days.

Set Your Goals and Be On the Right Track

This one’s a rule of thumb, we say. Planning in advance comes in handy here. Pick a realistic number of days and number of drinks which you can stick to. Also, know the standard drink sizes served which in turn would make it easier for you to keep a tab on the number of drinks consumed, especially with mixed drinks.

Don’t Forget the Food

Mark this one in red, never to drink on an empty stomach. Eating food would lead to slower absorption of alcohol in your body. Speaking of food, eating right is very important. Foods you must stay away from are spicy, salty and fried food as they tend to leave you dehydrated with the risk of upset stomach. And watch the sugary-rush; it isn’t the best combination with your drinks. Keep yourself hydrated with the water of life and go slow on the drinks.

Alternatives Are Helpful Too!

Why not try non-alcoholic beverages for a refreshing change? Or perhaps you can try the ones with lesser alcoholic content. While you’re at it, yet another trick you might want to try is to dilute your drink. Alternating your drinks here stands for alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and not mixing different alcoholic drinks.

When In Doubt, Keep That Glass at Bay

This grey area is a territory you most definitely want to avoid. ‘To be or not to be’, when your mind plays this trick, remember ALWAYS choose the safe route and just let it be! Very often we get carried away and misjudge our capacity to hold a drink and we end up drinking much more than we should. Raise your hand if you’ve fallen into that drunken pit?

Don’t Let the ‘Triggers’ Deceive You, Learn To Say NO

It is important to be mindful of what ‘triggers’ you to drink watch out for it. Are there certain places, people or feelings which compel you to drink? The reasons may be aplenty and you may find it difficult to navigate your way through such circumstances but remember that the ‘golden key’ remains with you. Do not let outside circumstances deter you from your resolution to drink in moderation. Friends, feelings, places-draw a thick line between them your resolution.
If you find yourself in the company of alcoholic bullies who force you to drink, it is advisable that you stick with a firm NO like a strong glue.

Small steps make a big difference, so choose better. Drink in moderation and lead a full life. Once you resolve to choose the middle path- the safe path, stick to it even if the stakes are too high. According to some studies, moderate consumption of alcohol is considered as quite beneficial- it is good for the heart and circulatory system. Think about it, drinking in moderation can actually save you a lot of health troubles besides saving you from a lot of embarrassing
episodes of drunken memories. Didn’t we tell you that moderation bears fruits! It is just as important to make informed choices which is why, the wise people say, ‘cheers and drink it up, but drink wisely’!

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