Some things in life just fascinate you and for no known reasons. Ever since I started reading fiction in my teenage days, this topic has made me curioser and curioser – Alcohol.. Never have I had a wee bit of an interest to experience it but loved reading about the different kinds, how and why different people preferred one over the other, the brands, where they came from, the shape and size of the bottles they are stored or sold in and the barrels and casks ..
Wine (white / rose / red / champagne / chardonnay), beer, whisky (single malt scotch / bourbon / Irish / blended), rum, brandy, gin, cognac, champagne and this list could go on..
The brands – Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels, Baileys’, Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, Bacardi, Smirnoff, Hennessey, Chivas Regal, Guinness and this list could also go on..
I had once read about how a wine is tasted by a wine taster and how they distinguish between the way the different wines taste – sharp, sweet, savory, dry, sweet, light, full, bitter, spicy and this list could also go on..
Recalling what I had read many many years back (and I may here miss a step or more in the process of my ‘aging’ – well, to my ‘aging’ and the alchohol’s ‘aging’, different values are attached) ?. A wine taster takes a slow sip of the wine and swirls it slowly in his / her mouth allowing the taste buds to savor the wine and pick out the flavors that they get from it. They don’t swallow the wine that they have sipped but instead spit it out. If they need to taste another wine immediately after, they take a sip of water, gargle it in their mouth and spit it out. This process ensures that the taste of the wine that they just had goes away and they are ready to taste the next one immediately after.. Justice to every wine!! When I described this wine tasting process to a group of people a few years back, one of them asked me if I drink. When I said no, they refused to believe me because I described the process in a way that they thought only a person who drinks could do!! Ooops!!
There are bottles and there are bottles, of different sizes and shapes. For some time, I had this desire to collect the bottles, empty ones though ?.. I tried for a while to get them but couldn’t and hence had to drop my desire thinking that this wasn’t meant to be ?..
On those rare occasions when I went to the pub with a few people, I would look at all the bottles there in awe. The curious twinkle in my eyes would come out and so would my smile. I would be ‘drunk’ not with the alcohol but with the sight of the variety of alcohol and the bottles there; and sometimes observing the people occupying the tables.
A few days back, it was by chance that while waiting at an airport on a long duration lay over, I sauntered into a duty free shop that was selling alcohol. The child in me was out in an instant – walking all around the store, peering at the labels and at the bottles, gaping and gasping at the different shapes and sizes of the bottles, wondering about the process of designing and making of these bottles, of how it occurs to them to make such shapes and so on and so forth..
Here are some pictures taken at the shop and the thoughts that occurred to me as I saw these bottles..
Liquor and Liqueur – Most of the letters in both these words are the same.. Two letters change and the word changes and along with it the pronunciation and also the meaning.. Very similar are the drinks too.. The base of both liquor and liqueur is distilled spirit; however, in the latter additional flavorings such as sugar, spices, herbs, fruits are added.. Love that creamy look hat some of the liqueurs have.. Oh, and I saw this bottle that has two different liqueurs and with two different nozzles apparently and the shape of the bottle was catchy enough for me..
I thought I would sign off this blog with a flourish of writing but never expected this kind of a flourish – A chance to visit the storehouse of the famous Irish Guinness beer at Ireland. The Guinness beer is made out of barley (that gives the sweetness), hop cones (the cones of the hop plant that gives the bitterness, yeast (that helps in the fermentation) and water from the Wicklow mountains (that lends its own taste to the beer).. Saw the barrels (wood and aluminium) and the quite many varieties of their empty bottles collected across 250 years and of course the way the beer is poured into a glass..
‘Drinks’ trigger different feelings in different people… Some don’t understand why there is so much importance given to something that is bad for health.. Some don’t think much about it as they have a drink occasionally because they think they need to fit into the occasion.. some love to hear the clink of the glasses and the ‘cheers’ and the warmth of the drink down their throats.. Whatever the reason maybe for them, for me writing this blog certainly gave me a ‘heady’ feeling 🙂