Liquors and more !
September 26, 2014 2:34am CST
Reference of wine can be found in Vedas, Bible, the odyssey and many other ancient scriptures. According to the dictionary, wine is defined as the fermented juice of ripe grapes, but liquors made from other kind of fruits, grains and flowers are also called as wines. Actually it is possible to ferment any liquid containing natural sugar by adding yeast. But for wine, there is no need for intervention with yeast. True wine ferment itself. After the fermentation is complete, the wine is left in oak wood casks to mature. There are wines that cost over Rs 1,20,000 a bottle and that’s nothing for the high and mighty to gulp down in a dinner evening. Beers are classified as lager, ale, stout and porter. The grain used to prepare beer is malted barley that is steeped in water until it begins to germinate. Then it is fermented with yeast and herbs are added for flavor. It has always been a favourite drink in the plains traditionally where wine grapes do not grow. In Germany, it has excellent wines from the Moselle valley. The population consumes almost woo million barrels of beer annually. The ‘Oktoberfest’ held in Munich every year is the world’s premiere beer drinking festival, where visitors from all over the globe congregate for three days of merriment. The pirate’s drink Rum is very popular among the sailors and soldiers. Robert Louis in his book- The Treasure Island immortalized the song by one of his pirates- fifteen men on the dead man’s chest! Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of Rum! The source material for producing rum is sugar cane molasses. The molasses is fermented to produce brownish liquor that is distilled to form Rum. Gin a medicinal spirit was first created by a Dutch Chemist, Prof. Sylvius. It is distilled from grain and flavored with botanicals. On the other hand Vodka, which is discovered in Russia, is distilled from grains and potatoes. Both vodka and gin are odorless, tasteless and colorless spirits that are not matured. They are easy to mix with fruit juices and other carbonated drinks to produce cocktails. An Aperitif is a small alchoholic drink used as an appetizer and among those well known are Martini, Vermouth and Campari. Italy discovered them and world adores them. Desert wines like Sherry, Port and Madeira are served after meals and usually fortified red wines with higher alcohol percentage than usual. Liqueurs are often sweet and fruit-flavored wines made from peaches, plums, pears, pineapples, cocoa and even banana. Particularly they are good after dinner. Another very popular drink, Brandy is nothing but burnt or distilled wine. In the medieval era, wine producers decided to lower the volume and increase the potency of wines for shipment by distillation and that is how brandy was discovered. Some of the best brandy comes from the region around Cognac in the southwest of France. In fact, Cognac is a very fine brandy that is doubly distilled and matured for up to 50 years in wooden casks and then bottled. A brandy labeled as VSOP stands for very superior old pale and is naturally priced higher than the lower quality ones. Champagne is a white sparkling wine produced mainly from red grapes in a very exclusive valley of the Champagne district of France. It was discovered by Dom Perignon who was a blind monk in the abbey of Champagne. It is expensive even in France as it is highly taxed and also takes a lot of time, energy and care to manufacture. Underground cellars where the barrels of champagne are matured have to be kept at a predetermined temperature throughout the year. Whisky is a light golden color spirit distilled from fermented barley, rye, corn or other grains. The Scots, English and the Canadians spell the word as Whisky while United States of America spell it as Whiskey. Modern distilled whisky is of two types-Grain Whisky and malt whisky. And the modern whisky market is divided into three main types- Blended, Deluxe and Single Malt whisky. Whisky first emerges from the distillation process as a clear liquid. Then it has to be stored in oak casks for a minimum period of three years before it can be legally defined as whisky. From the very beginning of civilization, social drinking has been in vogue and no amount of prohibition has ever been successful anywhere in the world. Excessive consumption of liquor in any form over a long period can be severely harmful to the liver and other organs. Edgar Allan Poe had graphically described a drunkard when he wrote- His eyes were like bulbous, watery orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication. Everyone should know the threshold limit of alcohol consumption and stay well within that to be saved such an embarrassment.