While studying for my WSET level 1, I had come across Reisling. A white wine which is known to have a crisp taste with a bouquet of flavours and aroma. My class with Magandeep had me tasting Reisling for the first time and I truly fell in love with. Since then, I have tried this German wine quite a few number of times and each time came back wanting more. So when an opportunity arose for me to explore the famous wines of Germany, I couldn’t refuse.
The monks and wine
Now wine in Germany is intricately linked with their monks and monasteries. The initial production of wine started west of the Rhine. But with Charlemagne’s campaign across the Rhine, the areas east of the Rhine also started with viniculture. The pioneers of this explosion of vineyards were the monks. The monastery of Eberbach was one of the first to start in the Rheingau valley in mid 12th century. Many of these monks had migrated over from Pinot region in France and brought their grape, Pinot Noir with them. Through the centuries the Eberbach monastery increased its influence and ruled the roost. But with the wars of the 17th and 18th century combined with the secularization of early 19th century, there was a gradual decrease in their prosperity. But its wine still endures to this day as we take you around this medieval European monastery.
There is a sense of going back in history as we strolled through the timeless Roman arches of the monastery. The Cistercians had a very simple lifestyle and it is evident from the strong wooden arches with bare furnishings. The church is central to the workings of a monastery and the Roman architecture will make you fall in love with its simplicity. The dining hall of the lay brothers is where all the action used to take place. The wooden wine presses of the 17-19th century are still visible. Although the monks were known for their austerity, but the Baroque period saw the monks showcasing their worldly wealth. The Baroque residence was one of the most elegantly decorated rooms in all of medieval Europe. The richly decorated ceiling takes your breath away.
Enough of the medieval Europe mumbo jumbo, let’s move onto the wines now. The strolling wine tour provides for a trip through the magnificence of the monastery along with a selection of wines. We tried out the Kloster Eberbach 2013 and Crescentia Pinot Noir 2012. Well medieval European castles and wines make for one heady concoction and this is one combination I would like to repeat again. The tour goes on for around one and a half hours and sets you back by €23.
Germany’s wines are something that you must try while visiting Germany. Although beer may be a drink which is consumed mostly, but the history linked to wines is something definitely worth exploring.
Ever since the time I first tasted Sake at the winter menu of Megu at The Leela Palace Hotel, New Delhi, I have become a fan of this drink. So when Tokyo was awarded the right to host the Olympics in 2020, I plan to discover this fast moving city through its famous drink.
What is Sake?
It is a rice wine that is made by a process of fermenting special rice after removal of the husk. The production of Sake is quite different from that of wine. In wine, the fermentation of sugar present in the grapes happens. But the fermentation process of Sake is pretty similar to that of beer where the starch from the rice is slowly broken down to sugars before fermenting. Although the clear liquid is pretty smooth on the palate, do keep in mind that it has 18-20% alcohol and gives quite a good kick.
Why Tokyo’s Sake?
One of the most important components of Sake is water. It is used to multiple steps right from washing of the grain to the dilution before bottling. The different minerals in the freshwater combines to create its taste profile. Tokyo’s production of this historical drink dates back to the early 17th century of the Edo period. Its clear groundwater with a high quantity of minerals leads to a beautiful combination of flavours on your palate. It combines with salty Soy based dishes so characteristic of the Edo period.
The beauty of this alcohol is in its multifaceted nature. Many of breweries produce Sake which is complementary to the food found around it. The light bodied one go perfect with lightly seasoned food and seafood while the heavy bodied ones go well with the heavily seasoned food. Some of these light bodied ones can also be found near the coastal areas while can be easily paired with the seafood.
Tour of Ozawa Brewery
But all the Sake knowledge cannot prepare you for a trip through the majestic Ozawa brewery. The brewery was established in 1702, a history dating back 300 years and is the oldest brewery in Tokyo. Although located within the city of Tokyo, the brewery offers you an insight into it’s preparation. The 45 minute guided tour gives you a low down on the different types of Sake. But the main attraction is the fresh spring water pouring in through the rock formation. Finish off with a tasting to complete your brewery tour.
Sake is a drink that can both be complex and simple at the same time. It typifies the beauty and captures the soul of Japan. So, next time you’re heading to Japan do try out Sake.
Kingfisher launches a new age malt-based, flavoured alcoholic beverage and we are in love with it. Complementing the energetic and expressive youth of today, Kingfisher Buzz truly brings together the crazy mix of emotions and activities that life is.
The Buzz comes in a colourful and trendy packaging that makes it apt for party goers. Its sleek embossed bottles with a easy to open pull cap makes it a perfect go-to drink. It has less than 5% alcohol content and is a perfect alternative to beer.
It comes in 2 exciting flavours: Berry and Lychee. The two thoughtfully created flavours have a unique mass appeal, which can stir any party and create the Buzz that they stand for. They are available in Delhi for INR 95.
We all agree that Old Monk is our favourite because it keeps us warm in the winter, it’s cheap, makes the yummiest of drinks, and can be added even to dessert! But, what really goes into this wonder drink? The lovely folks over at Eat Treat tell us.
History of Rum
Rum has always been sourced from Sugarcane molasses. The clear distillate is then aged in Oak barrels to create the prized dark rum. The probable origins of the drink arise from South Asia. A sugarcane based fermented drink has been long produced in India, China and even Malaysia where it was known was Brum.
The actual production of rum started in the Caribbean colonies where the slaves used the molasses left over from the sugar industry. The rum was later popularised initially by the pirates operating out of the Caribbean and later by the English Navy. The drink spread all over the world under the shining light of the empire and today we pay homage to one of India’s iconic dark times, The Old Monk.
How the Old Monk came into being
The Old Monk was introduced in the 60’s by Mohan Meakin Pvt. Ltd. It started off as a competing to the Hercules rum later eclipsing it as India’s most loved drink. Today, the Old Monk is manufactured in Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. The area still holds a sweet smell in the air due to the molasses. Why I prefer Old Monk as a base for my cocktails is its sweet taste along with a fiery warmness it infuses into you. The versatility of the drink is unparalleled. The Old Monk switches easily from being a Indian drink with some spices to an contemporary drink from the West.
Rum is made of byproducts of sugarcane, like molasses, and is even made of sugarcane juice by fermentation and distillation. It is then put in oak barrels (with charred) to age–which gives it that smokey flavour and fragrance that we all love. There is no particular type of sugarcane that is used to make rum, but it depends on the place and laws in the area where it is grown and where the distillation takes place.
Before distillation comes fermentation. Yeast and water are added to the molasses or sugarcane juice to start this process. Many distilleries add specially cultured yeast to control production time and the taste, while others use wild yeast at this time.
Since it is a dark rum, Old monk contains about 48.2% alcohol by volume (ABV). Which means, that in every 100ml of rum, 48.2% is purely sugar that has been converted into alcohol.
Flavour & Colour
Old Monk has a distinct vanilla flavour and fragrance. Any kind of flavouring is generally added during the fermentation process to control how it tastes in the end.
Since Old Monk is a dark rum, is aged in heavy, charred casks or barrels made of wood that comes from oak trees. Ageing in these vessels not only gives rum it’s mouth feel, but also a certain smoky character, and more importantly, it’s colour. So white rum is aged in stainless steel vats, while dark rum like Old Monk is aged in oak barrels. This is true for all other types of alcoholic drinks as well.
You can read more about Old Monk here.
India is a nation of whiskey drinkers and we have got a fondness for that glass along with soda and a plate of chicken tikkas. But slowly, a wind of change is coming over as Indians are beginning to enjoy their dram more and more. The initiation of every Indian male with whiskey is probably during their college days or the last days of bachelorhood. Just like my brothers, my whiskey drinking days started off without enjoying the drink. But as I matured, my taste changed and I started to enjoy my tipple. One of the whiskies that essentially helped with this transformation was Jack Daniels with its complex array of flavours and taste. So, here is a newbie guide to start enjoying whiskey responsibly the moment your age crosses 25.
What is Whiskey?
Whiskey is basically made of 3 ingredients. Sugar, distilled water and yeast. Born in Scotland, the land of bagpipes and men wearing kilts, it gained popularity when crops of Europe got destroyed leading to an absence of wine and rum. It moved to the Americas during the colonization period and became immensely popular. Due to an abundance of good quality corn in the Midwest of America, it became the primary source of sugar for the whiskey instead of the malted barley. The liquid produced from fermentation of the mash from the malted barley is essentially clear in origin. So, all that colour and taste comes from the barrels they mature in. Jack Daniels is one of the oldest of American whiskeys and the only major distiller in the world, which still produces its own barrels. This year, they are celebrating 150 years of their distillery in Lynchburg.
What is maturation?
Maturation is the process of giving the whiskey its characteristic taste and colour after spending a certain amount of time in oak barrels. One of the most characteristics of American whiskey is that it uses new oak barrels which are then shipped across the Atlantic for maturation of Scotch, wine and rum. With the high temperatures in America, the whiskey matures much faster thus giving it rich flavours within 4-6 years instead of a minimum of 10 years required for a Scotch
What is the difference between Bourbon and a Tennessee whiskey?
Now, there are some exact specifications for a whiskey to be called Bourbon or more specifically a Tennessee Whiskey. Bourbon is made with at least 51% corn and is matured in new oak barrels while Tennessee whiskey additionally requires Tennessee origin and maple charcoal filtering. The 150 years of Jack Daniel’s has seen it evolve into a plethora of flavours which take the taste profile even a bit further.
How to appreciate a whiskey?
There are some rules that will give you an exemplary tasting experience.
- Do not taste your whiskey in a flat bottom glass. Try to use a snifter or a champagne flute to give you the perfect olfactory experience.
- Do not use a plethora of soda or ice to consume your whiskey. It totally changes the taste of the whiskey.
- Colour: See the liquid against the light to fall in love with the beautiful golden colour. It may vary and that is what starts off your experience.
- Sniff: Swirl the whiskey around in your glass and sniff. You will get the stiff smell of the alcohol but there will be some smells that you may notice of some fruits and spices. You will find notes of spice and nuts in the Jack Daniel’s.
- Sip: Sip a small amount of the dram and let the flavours hit you. You will notice some sweetness and some spice. It is full bodied along with some well-balanced notes of fruitiness and soft smokiness
- Swirl: Swirl the liquid around on your palate so that it can coat all your taste buds. You might notice some butteriness along with notes of vanilla. It is characteristic of the oak barrels. Draw in some air with pursed lips to find if it can find a few more characteristics.
- Finish: You can now swallow it and understand whether the flavours stay for long or not. The Jack Daniel’s ends with notes of sweetness and oak.
- You can add a few drops of water to open it up for some new flavours. But remember, just a few drops.
Why Jack Daniel’s?
They say that when you drink Jack Daniel’s, you don’t only taste the whiskey. You taste the clear iron free water from the caves of Lynchburg along with the hard work of the men and women who have toiled for 150 years. And to celebrate all the stories they’ve created over the past 150 years, they’re collecting a few. To see what it’s all about, check out india.jdbarrelhunt.com now!
Do let us know about your favorite whiskey and we will review it on the blog. Do comment below to let us know about your experience with the Jack Daniel’s No. 7 whiskey
We at Salt and Sandals and Jack Daniel’s implore you to drink responsibly above the age of 25. The pictures are copyrighted property of Jack Daniel’s and have been used for promotional purposes to celebrate 150 years of Jack Daniel’s.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.
Jack Daniel’s promotes Responsible Drinking.
The images used above are exclusive property of Jack Daniel’s.