THE HERALDING of every new year can be considered accomplished only when accompanied by many a zany resolution, self-imposed regimens that one stoically tries to confine oneself to and perhaps even adhere to for a few days or weeks. Then it is all discarded with one final wise resolution: never make resolutions again. But come the next year, and we break that one too. Here then are five heady ideas that you might consider advance homework for this new year:
Drink the unknown: From Portugal to Patagonia and Greece to Georgia, resolve to try more wines from newer regions. And in cases of already popular regions, steer clear of the established and known multi-national brands and try to hunt down the lesser-known independent names of family-run operations. Ever heard of Champagne by Guillaume Sergent? Time you found out.
Drink better: There will always be a market for the entry-level plonk that keeps the big brands’ coffers ringing, but they also make more qualitative stuff, the kind that might seem to cost more, but is actually better value for your money. It isn’t about drinking the expensive stuff—it should never be about drinking by price—but when a company isn’t busy trying to churn out a million bottles of a wine, they do put more thought (and better grapes) into it.
Try Indian: There is good Indian wine to be had and I encourage you to try them and find your favourite. My picks would be Krsma, Grovers-Zampa, Charosa, Fratelli, York, Vallonne, Myra and Turning Point—these just about sum up the reliably good producers out there. Avoid the rest. As for stuff like Port 1000 by Sula, it should be outright banned for besmirching the name of the fine tradition of a wine.
Try everything: Beer lovers, try wine. Wine lovers, substitute with a bit of Scotch or Bourbon. And malt aficionados, let loose with a good brew. The world of potent enjoyment is vast and unlimited, provided you remember to enjoy responsibly and in moderation. There is no category that gives you a worse (or better) high or hangover, so drop the pretences and discard the pre-conceived notions.
Bitter is better: The year gone by was good for cocktails. The new year promises more of the great stuff. Try to incorporate more bitter touches into your drinks. You will find the flavours not only more complex, but also more intriguing and lasting. Sugar soothes, but also satiates. A bitter flavour can be sustained for a much longer time. This makes them a clear winner when planning a long social evening.
Juices: While the common belief that having a spirit with a juice reduces the hangover is absolute heresy, the general inclusion of fresh juices in your liquid diet is not a bad idea at all. Sure, straight fruit is better, but then it doesn’t always mix well with vodka. The sugars you imbibe in this manner are less harmful and somewhat easier to break down. Also, a good hand-pressed juice makes breakfast seem like a meaningful intake of calories.
Rosé: I hope this is the year of rosé. For long, this category of colour has gone without receiving due credit and respect. With the concept of ‘brosé’ (brothers drinking rosé) taking off, the world this year looks poised to become one in which the time of a good rosé has finally (hopefully) arrived. Don’t be shy, let your pinkness show.
The writer is a sommelier