THE FESTIVE season is upon us and with all excuses for abstinence well behind us and new year resolutions and regimes still a few weeks away, it is time to truly indulge. Here are a few products that I would reach out for this year:
White Rhino beer
We finally have some proper flavourful Lager and a crisp Wheat beer, a brand which is locally produced to the highest international standards. Winters may not seem beer-friendly, but a little cold doesn’t keep our Nordic friends away from it; Indian winters are much calmed by comparison. The brand is White Rhino and just like a white rhino, it is rare to find. Coincidentally, the white rhino is the most social of all rhinos, so I guess it is a good name for a drink as socially affable as beer. Gurgaon is the only place where certain shops stock it, so on your next sortie to the Wild Wild south-west NCR ‘burb, grab some.
Brancaia Tre red wine
This winery from Italy does wines, which can appeal to novices and connoisseurs alike. Their very drinkable blend Tre came in special Xmas packaging a few years ago, but it wasn’t repeated mostly because of our archaic laws, which make it unviable. But the regular bright yellow label is still quite delightful and the most pocket-friendly way to get to taste a baby Super-Tuscan.
Egon Müller sweet white wine
There are some wine producers who are known not just for one wine they make. Every bottle that they send out of their winery is deemed a masterpiece. Egon Müller is one such legendary producer of sweet wines in Germany; some of his wines can sell for five-digit euro figures! I recently had a generous taste of one at a private dinner by good friend and avid collector Rajiv Kehr; needless to say, with such wines, the only thing to outlive the aftertaste is the memory of the evening. If you can, on your next travels, or through a generous NRI uncle who offers an Xmas pressie, get your hands on even the smallest of vials of his wines and heaven will have one less marvel to afford you.
Jack Daniel’s No. 27 Gold
The unforgettable taste of JD, but with the added refinement of maple barrel maturation, which makes it one superbly mellow sip. This is JD, which doesn’t need cola, just a splash of water, a fireplace and a set of friends who tell the darnedest tales. Definitely the pick of the (wintery) season.
This is the other Irish liqueur and comes in the unmistakable ‘Siamese twin’ bottle set, part dark and part white. Pour liqueur and cream mix in a hypnotic whirl in the glass; this is a combination of whisky, chocolate, coffee, and some alcohol—pretty much all my favourite food families for the festive season. Enjoyed ideally over crushed ice.
The writer is a sommelier