It had been another eventful fortnight. Nine days of abstinence did nothing to dry up my spirits, quite literally. I have been trying and drinking some new and fine stuff. So let me dive straight into things that you should be indulging in from here till Diwali, or even beyond.
Dictador Ximenez Spinola 1976 is what happens when a classy rum goes and ages in Pedro Ximenez casks. You get this layer of nutty, creamy texture with fig and honey on a fruity layer with plenty of rancio notes. But then there’s umami too—think barbecue sauce and coffee pralines. Dictador is doing to rum what Off-White and Nike are doing to sneakers and I honestly can’t hoard enough of either, or both.
The Scotch whisky industry (through the Distiller’s Charity) is contributing generously towards a cause. The collective ware will be auctioned by Sotheby’s at biennial events (on December 3 this time) and comprises unique, ultra-rare bottles under the “Distillers One of One” label—40 lots, ranging from 500 Sterling all the way to half a mil. Choose your comfort zone and bring in Christmas earlier this year.
Closer home, and more fitting to quotidian quaffing, Beat has released some very decent seltzers. I find the cucumber and watermelon nearly overlapping as flavours go, but they are still pretty well done. It’s definitely a fun way to light up my new Goa trip when I am too lazy to mix a drink but too persnickety to drink plonk.
Then there is this, a gin which will leave you sober. Sober Gin isn’t bad, frankly, but it’s not gin, if you are a gin-head.
It’s a great flavourful mix, one that can stand to be diluted with a mixer and there will be evenings (or early mornings) when one needs to be driving, or handling heavy machinery (like a chainsaw, don’t ask why), and Sober will be a good sip then.
Hear ye’, hear ye’, there’s a new tonic water in town. Peer Drinks has been launched with four variants and most seem to work fine, nothing unacceptable. Going ahead, add this to your list of curiosities for your next soiree.
While on tonic water, not only is Svami winning international accolades, it just released some limited edition mixers for Glenmorangie, Belvedere and Hennessy which, for an young Indian brand, is a great achievement. And they pair beautifully to boot. I am still waiting to try Ardbeg’s Wee Beastie but if you spot it, get it.
For all of the above, you will need to be kitted out with some great gear and the Cocktail Story online shop might be a good place to start your search. I know how much bartenders swear by their equipment; so kit yourself out suitably for your next evening of showmanship. Also, congrats to the CS team on having a solid run these past couple of years.
I openly judge people who like fish on their pizzas (anchovies? Bleh!) but recently one of my preferred buff burger-makers—Aku’s—introduced a fish sandwich and coaxed me into trying. It was so good that it became my only reason to stray from red meat. And that’s that.
They have outstanding chicken wings, and now they added a green-meat (read vegan) burger to their menu. Now it’s not an ‘impossible burger’ but it’s definitely doable and I’d certainly pick it over many a vegetarian burgers out there.
A friend of mine, in her effort to source good CBD oil, has managed to declutter the space with a lovely product —one version that comes in two strengths and claims to address many a bodily issue from pains to indigestion and insomnia. I have been using Ashwadh for a few weeks now—it’s neither addictive nor leaves you high or unable to function—and I definitely sleep (and dream) better.
Trost is another brand with CBD oil but they allege to have versions which address specific concerns—one for sleep, another for aches, and so on. They also have them in cigarette form which, they claim, is an old Ayurveda form of treatment. To me, inhaling burning paper is always tough but it certainly hits the (calmness) spot quicker and is certainly a gazillion times better than any brand of commercial cancer stick out there. So, try and let me know.
The writer is a sommelier