Here is how you can still be home and not miss clinking your glasses to add some extra cheer to the festive mood
Whether you’re raising a toast to the festive season or just thankful to bid 2020 adieu, spirit brands across India are tailoring a drink for you. As families and friends plan small gatherings or quiet celebrations, in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, here’s a round up of what is available so you can stock your bar for the party season. Even if it is just a Zoom party season this year!
Paul John Christmas Edition 2020
Master Distiller, Michael Dsouza says, his 2020 single malt distilled in Goa is a new interpretation of Christmas. “Created from a blend of single malts from virgin oak, ex-bourbon and Oloroso casks, our limited release proffers deep flavours of creamy dark chocolate tinged with barley and soft spices, culminating in a rich, lightly peated and memorable finish,” he says. The single malt pairs well with Christmas staples, such as a good roast or a hearty stew. Available only in Goa and Karnataka.
Greater Than Gin- The Juniper Bomb
Greater Than Gin, celebrates its third year in the Indian market with a limited edition Juniper Bomb. Anand Virmani, CEO, and co-founder of Nao Spirits says jubilantly, “ The Juniper Bomb takes the core ingredient of gin, the juniper berry, to its wildest extreme by infusing it in three different ways for thrice the duration than our regular gin, to celebrate three years since our launch.” The initial plan is to make it available in Goa, and soon in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru. Virmani recommends a regular Gin and Tonic ideally paired with a mildly spiced samosa, as the freshness of the botanics cut through the oiliness of the samosa, complimenting the hint of cumin in the snack.
Headquartered in New Delhi, Smoke Lab, founded by Varun Jain, presents two, Indian grain Basmati rice-distilled vodkas. 6 state-of-art distilleries in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Goa and Maharashtra produce a homegrown brand, that is distilled five times, using charcoal filtration. Launched in 2019, the Smoke Classic, is a purists delight, while the Smoke Aniseed, is an aromatic spirit with the distinct flavor of saunf, and softer notes of fennel and liquorice, suitable for layered cocktails.
With operations straddling Bengaluru, Mumbai and Pune, Toit, one of the earlier entrants on the microbrewery scene in Bengaluru, offers brews for the festive season. Arun George, Director and co-founder at Toit Breweries, explains, “We have our pumpkin ale on tap and we will be brewing our very popular Pastry Stout, and Santa Ale, infused with classic Christmas notes of cinnamon and warm spices.” Head Brewer, Christopher Champalle, has a new brew making its debut in Mumbai and Pune, Champ Ale, a bright, pale ale fermented with champagne yeast, yielding a highly carbonated, celebratory beer to toast the new year.
Arbor Brewing Company, India
With its roots in Ann Arbor Michigan, USA, India’s first American craft brewery, was set up in 2012, by University of Michigan-returned, grad student Gaurav Sikka. Arbor Brewing Company, set up in Bengaluru and Goa, offers a mix of classic and local flavours to meet 2021. Gaurav Sikka, says “We have a Belgian-style Dubbel with Mahua, stone flower and cobra’s saffron, and a Single-hopped Mosaic Lager on offer in Bengaluru. In Goa, we have a Tropical Pineapple and Lemongrass Kolsch (a style that originally comes from Cologne, Germany, fermented with ale yeast, then finished in cold temperatures like a lager) and a flavourful Bebinca Stout.”
A Christmas table is incomplete without wine. Abhishek Naik, Senior Manager – Marketing, at Fratelli Wines says their Vintage 2020 is an interesting vintage. “The whites initially were affected due to rains, but later on they developed beautiful primary aromas and refreshing acidity, specifically our whites like Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and the Sauvignon Blanc like every year,had mineral notes,” he says, adding “The reds ripened very well with good colour and tannins, and are sweet because of uniform maturity in the red grapes.” The Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 pairs well with Tandoori Mushrooms and Meatballs, while Merlot 2020 with Shepherd’s Pie, or Margharita Pizza.
SOCIAL- Bringing the party indoors
For those who like their spirits shaken or stirred, but don’t have the bravado of a mixologist, SOCIAL offers all the cheer of a good cocktail, minus the paranoia of a crowded pub by delivering pre-made mixers to your doorstep. So all you need is a good selection of basic spirits like vodka, white or dark rum, gin and whiskey, and the rest will come in a SOCIAL pre-mixed kit, delivered by its own service across Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh and Pune.
PERRY ROAD PERU
If you’re travelling to Mumbai or have visitors from the city, try a bottle of the elusive Perry Road Peru. Hailed as India’s only distilled cocktail offering, it is the first collaboration between a restaurant, The Bombay Canteen, and gin brand, Stranger & Sons, Goa. “The finest perus/ guavas were handpicked at their peak, from a cart on Perry Road, Mumbai, ferried over to the Third Eye Distillery in Goa, slowly macerated in the gin, till every drop was flush with freshness. A bit like the spirit of the city — sweet, sour, spicy and salty all captured in this bottle,” says Yash Bhanage, Partner at Hunger Inc Hospitality,The Bombay Canteen. The cocktail has a limited seasonal release in MumbaiSpirits for the Season.