The Curious Case of Wine & Cheese

 

There is nothing more exciting to a gourmet than a subtle pairing of wine and cheese, while everyone wants to have a perfect combination, not everyone quiet knows the features of cheese to be savoured with the right kind of wines. Today being National Wine and Cheese Day, let’s get to know more about these delicacies.

Today being National Wine and Cheese Day, let’s find out more about these delicacies.

Wines with 14.5% ABV are more intense and taste better with more intensely flavoured cheeses, while Wines under 12% ABV are less intense and match nicely with more delicately flavoured cheeses.

 

 

Bold red wines pair best with aged cheese. As cheese ages and looses water-content, it becomes richer in flavour with its increased fat content. These two attributes are ideal for matching bold red wines because the fat content in the cheese counteracts the high-tannins in the wine. For the best results, select cheeses that have been aged at least a year, including Cheddar, Gruyère, Manchego, Gouda, Provolone, or Parmesan-style varieties like Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano.

 

Whenever you are served many kinds of wines and you don’t know how to choose your cheese then safest option is nutty cheese because it will pair well with every kind of wine. The cheese will have enough fat to counterbalance tannin in red wine, but enough delicacy to compliment delicate whites. A few examples include Swiss, Gruyère, Abbaye de Belloc, Comté Extra, Emmental, and Gouda.

 

Here is a simple description of various kinds of cheeses and their prominent characteristics from which they can be easily recognised and which are the important reasons of their pairing with distinct kinds of wines:

 

1. Blue cheese – This family of cheese is made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk and sheep’s milk and is treated with moulds to produce green and blue algae. Although blue cheese has a strong flavour which intensifies with age, there are also a few that can be defined as mellow. Their taste is generally sweet which can be combined with salty, tangy and sharp notes of wines. Wines which are generally recommended to be coupled with blue cheese are Dessert Wines which have intense sweet flavours.

 

2. Brie – This cheese has French origin and often made from raw or pasteurised, whole or skimmed cow’s milk. It has a creamy texture and a thin edible rind. These types of cheese are generally coupled with sparkling wines and champagne.

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3. Cambozola – It’s native to Austria and Germany. Cow’s milk is the main ingredient with added cream to give it smooth, creamy and spreadable texture. For the most part, flavours are on the mellow side with a bit of zipping from the blue. Wines recommended to be paired with Cambozola are Merlot which is a soft, red wine, generally, Merlot from California are preferred.

 

 

4. Fresh Goat Cheese – It’s made from pure goat’s milk and is also referred to as chevre and is often rolled into black peppercorns or herbs for added flavour. Its texture can be soft, creamy, dry or firm. Sancerre a white wine, from Loire region of France is generally coupled with Goat cheese. Sauvignon Blanc another white wine also from Loire region is also savoured with goat cheese.

 

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5. Montrachet – This white goat cheese hails from Burgundy, France. It’s moist and creamy with a mild and tangy flavour and best enjoyed while it’s still fairly young. It can be coupled with both Red and white wines, you can freely choose California Cabernet Sauvignon to go with Montrachet cheese.

 

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6. Monterey Jack (aged) – Deriving its name from its birth place Monterey, CA this cheese is made from partly skimmed, whole or completely skimmed cow’s milk. Aged Monterey is pale in yellow colour and nutty in taste. It’s generally coupled with Cabernet Sauvignon made from red Cabernet grapes.

 

 

7. Muenster – This cheese was made in Alsace, a north east wine making region in France. It’s generally consumed with white wine made with spicy white grapes.

 

8. Parmigiano Reggiano – This cheese is an Italian version of famous Parmesan cheese, made with skimmed or partially skimmed cow’s milk. It’s a hard dry cheese which has a sharp taste to it. It is generally coupled with high-quality red wines.

 

Hope these basics of wine and cheese and the reasons behind the awesome coupling helps you, next time you head out to a wine and cheese festival or may be head to France the Land of Wine and Cheese.

 

Happy Drinking. Cheers!

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Craft Beer – 2.0

I hope all of you liked my earlier blog about craft beer, since you’re here I believe I got you a tiny bit curious about craft beer. As we talked earlier about basics of craft beer, today I will take you further to know the types of craft beer.

There are more than a hundred kinds of craft beer and it will take a lifetime to taste all of them and develop a strong liking for a single one. There are so many options available to try that it’s very necessary to know basics of craft beer and what you are being offered.

Craft beer can be broadly divided into two categories which are:

Ale – Those who are interested in medieval history or who’s fond of Game of Thrones must’ve heard of ale. Ales have a history of thousands of years, pretty older than the lager. Ale is created in many different varieties, the ale style of beer is brewed with top-fermenting yeast and fermented warm.

 

 

It’s even served at cellar temperature sometimes reaching 50 degrees. It’s generally observed that ales are generally stronger and more forceful in taste than lagers due to their faster and warmer fermentation, this process sometimes gets completed in short duration such as a week. Ales have many varieties like brown ales, pale ales, porters, stouts. It’s served under many names like American Amber Ale, American Black Ale, Imperial Porter, American Brown Ale, American Imperial Stout.

 

 

Lager – Lagers are less common in the craft beer scene. As Ale was top fermented, lagers are bottom fermented and are brewed at colder temperatures. Due to colder temperatures fermentation can even take months to complete. Colder fermentation process tends to provide a cleaner, crisper, smoother and more mellow taste. Lagers are always served at colder temperatures like 40 degrees.

 

 

Lagers can be pale or Bocks, and Pilsener and served under many names like Vienna Style Lager, American Amber Lager, American Lager.

Keep drinking and keep learning. Cheers!

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5 Dangerous Drinks…

 

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The Liquor Hospitality industry has always kept its audience amused with its innovations and experiments when it comes to drinks. So be it an amusing mixture of multiple brands and types of liquor or adding unsupposing elements to them, the witty and the mighty bartenders and taste developers have never caused our curiosity to be getting killed.

But what happens when this experimentation is taken to the extremes – here is a compilation of five such dangerous drinks which despite being intuitive begs a cautionary call on behalf of the drink connoisseurs.

Nitrogen Cocktails:

Liquid nitrogen, when mixed with cocktails and juices, are termed as, Nitrogen Cocktail. Some trendy bars use it to create a smoking effect on the drink and spill a little on top to make some smoky vapours, so the vapours evaporate by the time it is consumed.

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However, it’s quite dangerous as it boils at −196 °C and if someone consumes it before it completely evaporates, it can prove to be quite lethal. As it has a very low temperature, consumption can lead to severe damage of body tissues, can cause frostbite and some chronic injuries. If ingested, it can lead to severe damage of mouth, stomach and the oesophagus track. A huge amount of gas is released when the nitrogen evaporates, if taken before the smokes set off, it can burst the stomach. Therefore, nitrogen drinks should be made and consumed under professional guidance.

Vaportini:

A new trend in town, it speeds up the effect of alcohol, minus the hangover, no carbs and no calories. It is a trend discriminated by many, due to its hazardous effects. Here, the alcohol is heated to 140°F, and the alcohol fumes are inhaled.

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As inhaling fumes completely bypass the body’s natural defence mechanism, the person might not realise the excess amount he has consumed which can lead to alcohol poisoning. As the fumes are directly passed to blood via lungs, it causes no effect on stomach and liver, but it can definitely affect the Lungs and damage brain cells. Many people while trying to heat the alcohol have burnt themselves and their houses according to the London Fire Brigade. Many countries are thinking to ban the Vaportini.

Oxygen Shots:

Introduced in the U.S. in 1990, it caught on the trend. It’s a known fact oxygen in the atmosphere keeps us alive, however too much of anything can do us more harm than good. In these oxygen bars, people sniff or breathe from a plastic cannula attached to their nostrils. Many people opt for flavoured oxygen; the oxygen gas is pumped through the aroma vessel on their way to the nostril.

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It has been claimed that our body is oxygen deprived, and that intake of oxygen can cure cancer and remove toxins from our body. It’s also said that oxygen can reduce stress, induce energy and alertness, strengthen the immune system. Though none of this has been proven yet. Our atmosphere has 21% oxygen and our bodies have evolved accordingly, our heart pumps blood with 97% oxygen. Hence the question that arises is, Is there a need to intake an extra 40% oxygen in our system when we are used to 21%? The answer is not necessarily. However, people do review it as “reinvigorating experience”. But it’s wise to remember that too much of something is not always good.

Flaming Cocktails:

Famous cocktails like Flaming Sambuca and Blue Blazer cocktail are the ones that have an active alcohol ingredient in them; maybe in small or particularly large amount, which is then ignited before consumption.

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An important fact is that the drink should not be consumed while it is set on flames. Several precautions should be taken by the bartender and the consumer to ensure safety. Many reports have seen people burning their face while drinking the cocktail while the flame is ablaze. Many people tend to sniff the alcohol vapours after extinguishing the flames. Though no long-term side effect has been seen, it does give a headache.

Everclear Shots:

The reason it is so dangerous is that of its alcohol content which is 95%. A small amount of it will do the job and regular dose will probably send your liver and body through major damage.

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Everclear drinkers claim that its hangover is different from the usual hangover while some say they don’t have a hangover from everclear. The important fact here is a number of calories that 285 per shot. So, sure it will get you extremely drunk in one shot but would provide a gift of 285 calories. No wonder why it is still banned in 11 countries.

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Top 5 Fresh Beer Brewing Outlets

      

The Classroom:

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The Classroom is your destination for reliving the old classroom days. It is a classroom themed bar with amazing food and drinks. The pub extends over 3 floors and has a beautiful sitting on the terrace with unique names of drinks and having a bar counter named Ramu Kaka ki Canteen which takes its goofiness to the next level making it to the top our charts today. Other than housing pool table and board games, the best thing about this place being the focal point for each floor are certainly the huge tankers with freshly brewed beer. They have freshly brewed 4 house brews- Dark, Blonde, White, Triple. Out of which white beer is my favourite and a must try.

 

Agent Jacks Bidding Bar:

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The amazing thing about this place is this innovative drink bidding concept which is unique and comes with a lot of fun. When you enter Agent Jack’s bidding bar, the rustic and minimalistic decor gives you an impression of being in a dimly lit but quite spacey dungeon with top notch air conditioning. You can download the Agent Jack’s Bar app from play store and start your bidding for the drink you desire.

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It’s more fun when you go with a bunch of friends as the bidding is exciting and the wacky responses on the screen are highly entertaining. Food is great and their signature cocktail blends well with your pocket. They have an exquisite range of mocktails and cocktails, aside from their freshly brewed Belgian Wheat beer which is their highest selling beer and a must-try here.

Taka Maka:

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Miss sailing on a cruise in Goa? Then you must visit this place, it is a three- floored club with a cruise like an ambience. Known by the name Taka Maka, taken its name from an African Luxurious Cruise. It serves amazing food and gives an elaborated drinks menu of 16 pages to choose from. It leaves no stone unturned to give the best cruise like club experience which in the end leaves your taste buds wanting for more. This place gains its popularity from its well executed Brewery German Craft Beer, which serves some fine beer along with a great variety of cocktails and mocktails.

 

AfterStories:

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Much like the other restaurant in NCR, it serves fine food and drinks. The nice thing about this place is its variety in brewed beer like apple cider and peach beer. The place is space-y, unlike many other places in Gurugram, with hassle free parking, comforted laid sitting as well as garden dining. The outer elevation paints a picture which tempts visitor to walk in and experience the huge story this outlet stands to tell. 

 

Boombox:

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Scrumptious food, great beer and prompt service are the hallmarks of this place. Add to it signature music, which gels with the theme is a perfect hangout for all generations alike looking for some leg and head spin. The delicious and freshly brewed beer is a non-misser. The place mostly gets crowded as the night advances. The place reminds you and takes you to an era where boombox and radios were the trends of the day.

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Craft Beer 1.0

Nowadays there is a whole lot of rage about craft beer and in these series of blogs to come, we will try to tell and simultaneously learn as much about craft beer as we can.

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Whenever I talk to a beer lover I can see a spark, a passion in them when they talk about their love for beer, which is rare to be found. Beer is a very subjective matter to them.

Craft beer is mainly the beer, which is brewed in a microbrewery and not in a large scale corporate brewery. A microbrewery is one, where beer is produced in small amounts.

Beer has some distinguished features such as-

  • Appearance
  • Mouth-feel
  • Aroma
  • Flavour

And as far as the ingredients are concerned there are

  • Malt
  • Hops
  • Yeast
  • Water

In India first microbrewery was opened in Pune in 2009, named Doolally. Mumbai’s first microbrewery is The Barking Deer,

which features the most authentic craft beer. Microbreweries in India are not just limited to metro cities but it’s very popular among people living in the Himalayas as well. Chhang is loved by ethnically Nepalese and Tibetan people and to a lesser degree by the neighbouring nations of India and Bhutan. Rice beer or Handia has been traditionally produced by indigenous tribes of India. Millet beer is also produced by some sections. Even elephants have acquired a taste for rice beer as there has been the instance of their herd attacking tribal huts to drink it.

So enjoy your beer the way you like freshly brewed or trusting the established brands.

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A Brief on “Gin”

Gin is a vibrant drink, which has a glorious past and a vibrant future. It’s a unique spirit flavoured with a variety of botanicals while predominant flavour being Juniper. While gin is often seen as England’s traditional spirit, its origins are very much from over the sea. Juniper has been used to flavour spirits almost since the invention of distillation, both for its perceived medicinal qualities as well as its flavour, but it is only since the 17th century that the beginnings of modern gin started to appear.

 

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The invention of genever, Dutch-style gin, is often attributed to Franciscus Sylvius in the early-mid 1600s. However, gin’s current story starts when it hopped the English Channel and became well known in Britain after William of Orange took the English throne in 1688. Due to a low taxation, locally produced gin was cheap to make and thus cheap to buy – gin’s popularity exploded. With the spread of British power, the popularity of Gin also increased, now it’s tailor-made to suit the taste of locals.

Name Gin is shortened from the old English word Juniper.

 

Production Methods-

Several different techniques have evolved since the origin of Gin, but we can broadly categorise them in three categories-

1) Pot Distilled Gin:

It’s the earliest style of Gin, it includes pot distilling grain mesh from Barley or any other grain and re-distilling it with botanical extracts to add the aroma.

2) Column Distilled Gin:

It is produced by first distilling high proof (e.g. 96% ABV) neutral spirits from a fermented mash.The fermentable base for this spirit may be derived from grain, sugar beets, grapes, potatoes, sugar cane, plain sugar, or any agricultural product.  The highly concentrated spirit is then redistilled with juniper berries and other botanicals in a pot still.

3) Compound Gin:

It is made by simply flavouring neutral spirits with essences or other “natural flavourings” without redistillation, and is not as highly regarded as distilled gin.

 

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Classical Gin Cocktails:

Martini is most famous cocktail made with Gin, apart from it White Lady, Moon River, Gimlet, Gibson, Vesper are also some of the well-known cocktails.

 

Famous Brands:

Beefeater, Gordon’s, Plymouth, Seagram’s Quebec, Cork Dry Gin, Bombay Sapphire Gin are some of the well-known brands of Gin.

 

Don’t forget to share – “World Gin Day – 10th June

 

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Eat before Drinking or Drink before Eating…

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The age old question of eating before drinking or after drinking still bugs people when they go to a pub or sit to drink at a house party. In India, all my friends swear by eating after drinking and the food delivery services are busy on a Saturday night post 11 when most people start thinking about eating. Whereas living outside India, we would meet for dinner first at about 6 and then start drinking after dinner. The question now arises, when should one really eat, before drinking or after drinking?

Well, this depends on two things. Alcohol Absorption and Alcohol Metabolism (Breaking down and excretion)

 

Alcohol Absorption

Absorption of alcohol depends on a lot of factors like, size (weight, height etc ), gender and the rate at which you drink. It is not affected by the type of alcoholic beverage, alcohol from beer and whisky will be absorbed in the same rate. If you eat before drinking, especially fatty food, then the rate at which alcohol reaches intestine (where it is absorbed) is slowed down.

Vomiting: Eating before drinking can make you throw up as it keeps alcohol in the stomach for longer and that irritates the lining of your stomach which makes you throw up.

Getting drunk: As eating before slows down the absorption of alcohol, it takes you longer to get drunk and chances are you may stop drinking at a good time and avoid damage to your body.

 

Alcohol Metabolism

Alcohol is metabolised ( broken down and excreted ) by the liver and for most of us, it happens at a constant rate which is roughly 15 ml of pure alcohol per hour. This is equal to a 30 ml drink of 40 % proof spirit or a small bottle of beer with 5% alcohol. Eating before drinking increases enzyme activity in the liver and it is able to process alcohol slightly faster.

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The crux of it!

Eat before drinking, if you want a steady night and enjoy moderate drinking, while looking after your liver and not get a big hangover the next day. If you over do you may risk vomiting so control that rate.

 

Eat after drinking, if you want to get drunk quickly and don’t want to throw up. You may have a big hangover the next morning + a restless night sleep on a full stomach for eating late.

 

Alcohol should be enjoyed responsibly, we recommend not binging, drinking in moderation and keeping at least 4 days alcohol-free every week. Drinking slows down your reaction time and makes you dehydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water, especially in summers with a pinch of salt to replenish lost salts in your body.

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