You are what you eat & drink

new drinks

Orange wine

Tastier than it sounds

This image not part of the original article

This image not part of the original article

A guide to the best of the winemaking style that offers new flavours, as well as colours

Orange wines? If you’ve not come across them before, you could be forgiven for thinking I’ve made them up. It sounds like something an ambitious but clueless marketing person would come up with having sized up wine’s annoyingly limited colour palette and convinced their bosses what Generation Y really want is a brand new colour of drink.

In fact, if you listen to orange wine’s (many) detractors, the artisanal producers of this niche but, in sommelier circles, very on‑trend style of extreme white are more cynical than any corporate producer. Orange wines, those critics say, are an emperor’s new drink, a way of passing off faulty, cloudy, dirty brews as an authentic, avant-garde and, of course, expensive way for credulous enthusiasts to express their individuality.

I sympathise with the critics, but only up to a point. There can be something offputting about being served an orange wine if you’re expecting a conventional white. It’s not just the colour, which can be amber or a brick-like pink. It’s the challenge they present to our idea of what white wine should look like.

But for fans of the style – and I’d now count myself among them – the colour and appearance are the least interesting thing about them. There is a combination of flavours in the best examples – orange pith, spice, cherries, nuts, pears and Campari-like bitter herbs – that you just don’t get in other wines. Even more arresting are the textures: there is tannin and grip like a red wine, but less weight and density. The palate is enlivened with the mineral, mouthwatering acidity and tension of a white wine.

This best-of-both worlds feel is not surprising: orange wine is essentially white made using the principles you’d use to make a red. The key is the skins: whereas most white wines are separated from their skins and pips immediately after the grapes are pressed, orange wines take grapes used for white wine and, like a red, leave them macerating in contact with their skins.

It’s how most white wines used to be made but its renaissance is relatively recent, driven by pioneers such as Josko Gravner and Stanko Radikon in Friuli, north-east Italy. Disenchanted by the overly technical approach of modern winemaking, they began experimenting in the 1990s with long macerations using, in Gravner’s case, clay amphorae. The arrestingly different wines they made spawned imitators in his home region and across the border in Slovenia. Along with Georgia, where the style is also enjoying a revival, those regions remain the source of the best orange wines. But adventurous producers around the world are also beginning to experiment.

Not all of them are successful: orange winemaking is more risky. And you get the sense that many producers are still learning to master what is still, despite its ancient roots, a new technique.

Done right, a good orange wine’s combination of textures works well when matching with food. There’s substance enough for meat, the freshness required for fish – and the combination of the two makes them among the best I’ve come across for aged hard cheese.

The wines might take a bit of getting used to – and since they’re usually made in small quantities by small producers they don’t come cheap. But if you’re curious, try a glass in a natural wine bar before committing to a bottle – and keep an open mind.

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Lactobacilious Lokos

Bols Yoghurt Liqueur

As near as I can figure Lactobacillus Lokos is yoghurt with vodka…

You know the old story you used to tell kids, they even sung about it, “A little bit of sugar helps the medicine go down!” Well, I guess this is the adult option.

Bols even have a bottled version…

Lactobacillus is lactic acid bacteria, we need it in our diet, if we need it, it must be healthy, we must drink more…

I like that rationale.

Lactobacillus is just one of the many live organisms that live in our gut, that we need to to turn food into a body-friendly product.

From Carlos’ Kitchen (in Portuguese) come two recipes:

1 :: Lactobacilious Lokos (lokos = crazy)

  • A pot of yoghurt (flavour of your choice)
  • At least a shot of vodka
  • Ice
  • Shake and drink

2 :: Lactobacilious Safado (safado = bastard)

  • A pot of yoghurt (flavour of your choice)
  • At least a shot of Catuaba
  • Ice
  • Shake and drink

catuabapoderoso1Easy peasy.

What might not be so easy is finding Catuaba outside Brazil.

The name catuaba (pronounced [ka.two.’aba], a Guarani word that means “what gives strength to the Indian”) is used for the infusions of the bark of a number of trees native to Brazil. – Wikipedia

It’s an aphrodisiac, energiser and a stimulant for the central nervous system.

It contains the famous Brazilian guaranã.


Reblogged from: Life is but a Labyrinth

When Volcanoes Erupt…

Things happen; as indeed they did in Peru in the 1996 when Volcan Sabancayo erupted melting the ice on nearby Mt Ampato which exposed the final resting place of Juanita (The Ice Maiden).

Showing the proximity of the two mountains

Showing the proximity of the two mountains

La Doncella, the Ice Maiden, Juanita

La Doncella, the Ice Maiden, Juanita in her final resting place in Arequipa- Image: DailyMail

This event changed the course of history as we knew it. Previously the Inca were not known for human sacrifices. Juanita was destined for sacrifice from her birth. She was paraded throughout the Inca kingdom for 14 years, before being drugged and clubbed to death, along with two younger boys.


The Lake Pub in Puno, image: AV

In 1999 I was instrumental in creating The Lake Pub in Puno, long since defunct.

For the opening of the pub I created two cocktails. One was a Taquile Honeymoon, which is simply pisco and condensed milk beaten in a blender with ice and served in an ice encrusted glass.

The other, reflected The Ice Maiden’s story. The Sabancayo Snow, which is pisco over vanilla icecream in a wide glass with any red fruit syrup garnished with a cherry and a vanilla bean. The red syrup and the vanilla bean representing the lava and smoke plume.

I was jogged into this post by Lord of the Drinks, as a result of an excellent post about pisco, and the ensuing round of comments. Thanks for jogging the memory.

Jynnan Tonnix

This is a reblog, I couldn’t resist it; and being a great fan of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I will suffer no remorse, guilt nor suffering for having done so.

A drink for Douglas Adams

“Two important cocktails permeate Adams’ masterpiece. The first is my own go-to cocktail: The gin and tonic.

Gin and Tonic

According to The Guide, approximately 80% of galactic cultures have some phonetic variation of a ‘Gin and Tonic.’ For instance the rubber ducky-wielding captain of the spaceship doomed to colonize ancient earth with telephone cleaners, sommeliers and marketing moguls, offer the main characters a ‘jynnan tonnix.’

Upon their reunion Ford Prefect tells Arthur Dent how he spent the last four years wandering prehistoric Earth:

`… I decided that I was a lemon for a couple of weeks. I kept myself amused all that time jumping in and out of a gin and tonic.’ Arthur cleared his throat, and then did it again.

`Where,’ he said, `did you…?’”

Should you have the desire to read more, or simply wish accumulate more useless information, I can heartily recommend the post on Behind the Booze.


Château de Chambord – image: World Tourism

Chambord, apart from being the largest castle in the Loire Valley, its name was also given to a liqueur.

Image: Wikipedia

Chambord is a liqueur made by infusing raspberries with Cognac. Check the Wikipedia link for more details.

For those more adventurous, you might try your hand at making your own. Step by step instructions and recipes on Creative Culinary.

Liquid Nitrogen Cocktails

Smoky Cocktail – The Sun

Looks great, until hit perforates the stomach.

These new fads can be dangerous. An 18 year old Lancashire girl had to have her stomach removed after drink two Nitro-Jagermeisters.

“Alcohol itself is a very dangerous thing if improperly handled and liquid nitrogen is a toxic chemical. It destroys human tissue.”BBC News

First there were flaming cocktails, burning mouths, clothes, hair and even setting whole bars on fire. Now the other extreme, all in the name of a new fad.


Calimocho, and just what is that?

Is yours a red wine and cola?

If you’ve never been tempted to try a calimocho might a new fortified wine designed as a mixer encourage you?

Spodee fortified wine is designed to be a mixer.

If you’ve never been tempted to try a calimocho might a new fortified wine designed as a mixer encourage you?

In Argentina it’s known as “Jesus juice”, in South Africa it’s called katemba, in Croatia bambus and in Chile it’s known as jote (black vulture). But most fans of red wine mixed with cola – typically young people who want to make a rough red wine more palatable – know it by its Spanish name calimocho, because Spain is where this cheap and cheerful “wine cocktail” is believed to have originated.

Soon it could be known by a different name again, and to a much wider audience via the launch of a new 36% proof (18% ABV) fortified red wine that’s been made to be mixed like a spirit. The advertising brain behind it, Steven Grasse, who masterminded the launch of Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry Rum, believes that Spodee, which contains high proof moonshine, will bring a bit of excitement to the “staid” wine category and that it mixes well with pretty much everything. “From simple highballs like Spodee and Coke and Spodee and orange juice, or even Spodee and tonic,” he says.

Not that he’d exactly planned things this way. The inspiration for Spodee is Depression-era hooch, which was made from cheap country wine flavoured with whatever was close to hand – garden herbs, fruits, berries – and pepped up with moonshine. It was typically made in dustbins or bathtubs and served at parties (thankfully the modern version comes in a retro style milk bottle sealed with a cork). “Spodee is something I discovered while doing historical research for a new spirit I was pursuing,” says Grasse. “I became intrigued because I thought I knew everything there was to know about Depression Era beverages. So I mixed up a batch and holy shit! So I did what I tend to do naturally, I started mixing with it like I do with spirits. What a magnificent surprise. I’ve created a wine that mixes like a spirit.”

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Personally the idea is repulsive. It reminds me of my ex, I like dry wines, she sweet; if there was no sweet, she’d add sugar to my dry wine. Even now the thought makes me shudder.

I haven’t tried this idea, and I might add that I have no wish to, but it really makes one wonder exactly where the taste buds of the younger generation are located.

I’ve had my say, I’ll leave it to you to discover the truth.

India & Wine – in the same sentence

Indian wine production takes a down turn.

It seems that the Indians haven’t cottoned on to the taste of wine.

The whole idea is new to me; and on reading, to many others as well.

Two days ago, the Wine Outlet’s Greenlake Wines location featured an East vs. West match-up:  four wines from Argentina, and four from India.  That’s right…India.  Although I figured that someone must be making wine in India, home to one out of every six people on Planet Earth, I had never even seen a bottle of Indian wine before.  What a treat to have the opportunity to try several!

And a treat–and surprise–it was.  The Omar Khayyam sparkling wine, non-vintage and made of 94% Chardonnay and the balance Pinot Noir and Ugni Blanc, was produced in the Champagne style, and was very good…floral with notes of honey and caramel, crisp and brut but with enough sweetness to tantalize.  I purchased a bottle of this at $19, and there were half bottles also available.

The other three were also very good…

Source: Vinteown Seattle Wine Blog Read about the other wines.

But, sadly…

Many farmers in India are uprooting their vines and swapping wine grapes for local staples such as onions and tomatoes. Photograph: Gautam Singh/Associated Press

“though tastes are changing fast, India remains deeply resistant to wine drinking. Its 1.2 billion inhabitants drank an average of two teaspoons each – 0.01 litres – of wine in 2009. Compare that with a boozier 22.7 litres for the United Kingdom and 45.2 litres in France.”The Guardian

I had never heard of Indian wines before, nor had I ever considered that India produced wine. I would certainly be keen to try one… or two or three.

Crazy Pepsi









…and there’s more….

Holy Smoke

Holy Smokes*

A tangy blend of Perique, Hennessy, Havana Club and vanilla syrup.

Tobacco Liqueur

It’s a freezing cold weekday night and I find myself in a place called Barts – a discreet, prohibition-style cocktail bar in the heart of Chelsea, brimming with stuffed animals, quirky antiques and young professionals – many of them drinking cocktails made with tobacco liqueur.

Tobacco as an ingredient in drinks isn’t completely new, but it is rare. Back in 2003, a group of Floridian cocktail makers began making tobacco-spiked cocktails in an attempt to defy the smoking ban. One such drink was the ‘Nicotini’ made using vodka infused with tobacco leaves – its purpose being to recreate the effects of a cigarette.

At the same time in New York, cocktail makers were trying to recreate the taste of cigarettes with drinks like the ‘Smokeless Manhattan’ made of port, Laphroaig whisky and orange bitters, which apparently tasted like a Marlboro Red.

In 2010 a hotel bartender called Jonathan Condesa in Mexico City invented a cocktail called the D.F.Irreverente, made by mixing rum, pineapple juice and the contents of a cigarette together and then straining it into a glass. But until now, there hasn’t been a liqueur actually distilled using tobacco.

The cocktails I’ve come to try tonight are made using Perique Tobacco Liqueur produced by scientist come craft-distiller, Ted Breaux, who makes the spirit in France using distilled Louisiana Perique – one of the rarest and strongest tobaccos in the world.

“It’s made in roughly the same way as gin is,” says Ted. “But instead of using juniper berries we use tobacco. The concept was to take an immensely powerful substance and then to reduce it through distillation into something very subtle but full of flavour.”

A flavour that Ted describes as: “sitting in an old leather armchair, in a cosy library where your favourite grandfather has smoked his pipe a few hours before.” It’s a longwinded description, but Ted’s liqueur seems to have struck a chord with consumers. Perique has recently appeared on the menus of some of London’s most exclusive cocktail bars, including Barts, Paramount and Ten Manchester Street.

Source: The Guardian Read more

*Holy Smokes image, not that referred to in the article – Recipe here