Raising a toast: Here are some exciting new tipples that will infuse some festive joy this Diwali

By: |
November 08, 2020 2:30 AM

From Coca Cola signature mixers to Indian gin TERAI, these are some of the options

A perfect party pack, Tilt Wine in a can makes wine feel more approachable and less stuffyA perfect party pack, Tilt Wine in a can makes wine feel more approachable and less stuffy

This Diwali, the festival of lights, I will light a good many candles. Candles of celebration, but also candles of solidarity, empathy and understanding—emotions I am normally lacking at. Diwali might be a good point to remind ourselves of what the world really needs right now.

That shared, I am also sharing forth a list of my top gifting choices, which, I feel, could help with infusing that festive cheer into an otherwise lull of a year that has managed to drag on and yet gone by in a blink all at the same time.

Tilt Wine: Wine in a can! 2020 is full of surprises. Another surprise was just how pleasant this stuff was to quaff. Not wax-eloquent-over-dinner stuff, but nice-way-to-end-a-work-from-home-day. A perfect party pack, it makes wine feel more approachable and less stuffy. The late Kapil Sekhri—who left us recently and I am still adjusting to prefixing ‘late’ to his name—had a vision for Indian wines, which was well ahead of the times. From reserve wines to high-end, limited-edition collaborative wines and, now, canned wine, he could appease the seasoned and novice drinker. With Tilt, Fratelli can reach across divides and barriers that otherwise cut up the wine world.

TERAI: Keeping the Indian gin craze going is TERAI, a new India Dry-style gin (because all botanicals are locally sourced except the juniper, as local ones just don’t work as well). TERAI will be a good add to the home bar, for it’s a good everyday gin, with a nicely crisp and zesty herbaceous twang, the kind that sits well in a G+T, but can also brighten up a racy martini. It’s a versatile gin, premium for sure, but only a notch above the standard London Dry price range, so definitely worth the upgrade. As for the bottle, I sense future repurposing aplenty—from housing money plants to lamp bases, it is attractive in its stark yet stately simplicity. The Channapatna toy-inspired stoppers are also a unique touch.

Glenfiddich 12: Nothing new here, just revised packaging, but one that’s impressively conceived. Elements to note: more angular “Tround” (triangular-round) bottle, the pronounced golden stag logo, an etched ‘V’ denoting valley (from its Gaelic name ‘valley of the deers’), the more prominent branding and an overall younger feel to the entire aesthetic. The liquid remains the same, but by upping the exclusivity of the packaging, it certainly contributes to the overall sensory perception (and enjoyment) of the product.

Coca Cola signature mixers: I wish I had the resolve of kids today, rejecting Cola for all its vileness… alas, I love that dark devil too much. In fact, poor and empty calories are a major reason why I work out at all. Now, Coca-Cola has given me another reason to hate the fact that I like it even more. The four new signature mixers come in these eye-catching retro-styled 200ml bottles—woody, herbal, spicy, smoky (in my order of preference)—and can really add a special zing to your everyday (no, not every day everyday) whisk(e)y-Coke mixes. Don’t worry about getting addicted—at Rs 700 for two on Amazon, you’d sooner sniff diamond dust!

Toyo Kombucha: There are a plethora of brands out there and this has been my go-to brand for pre-packaged Kombucha. It’s all sorts of lovely and the flavoured versions are really well executed in terms of balance and sweetness. Great by themselves, but good as mixers, too, if you know how to play them right.

Fabelle chocolates: I know this ain’t alcohol soaked, or even a drink for that matter, but it is a great accompaniment to any gift you buy this year for anyone. Fabelle has managed to do to chocolate in this country what Starbucks has done to coffee—make it a plush lifestyle statement. It helps that they have some great ware to boot. Choose from their boxes of pralines, truffles, gianduja or single-origin bites—exclusive, packed like a Fabergé egg and definitely delectable.

The writer is a sommelier

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