Afraa has always been one of my favorite haunts in the city ? the lounge is on the sixth floor, and when you sit outside, you can watch the lush greenery of Salt Lake City, alternated with buildings, and the blue horizon which seems never-ending to me at times. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a glass of my favorite tipple, and I was excited to learn that Afraa is launching something brand new and exciting to add to its existing impressive alcohol list. The door opens to Afraa Lounge, and I find myself facing a group of people, largely dominated by men. A few women weave in between, laughing and drinking. I take stock, look around, find a known face, and wind up beside the bar, which is serving up single malts today, because it is the launch of their exclusive Single Malt counter. I am soon joined by a few known faces in Bengali cinema, namely Saheb Bhattacharjee, who loves his drink quite as much as I do, it seems. There is suddenly a lot of energy in the atmosphere, and Mr. Zbigniew Zapert, the Brand Ambassador for Diageo Reserve was busy interacting and explaining to the guests the choices he had made, and the specialty of each. I have always been attracted to single malts. They have a fascinating history, you see, and I always loved the concept of ?water of life?, which is what whiskey roughly translates into. I was excited to see what was on offer from the different parts of Scotland. I am told that there is an option for the guest to enjoy their favorite Single Malt, or they can actually ask for a little tasting tour of sorts. The counter is set up to not only serve up Single Malts, but also to educate. You can easily go up to the bar, ask for a tasting tour, and you will be given a selection from the different areas of Scotland, and taken through your own virtual tour of sorts. I peruse through the whiskey list, and spot Cragganmore, Lagavulin, Talisker, Dalwhinnie, Oban and The Singleton from Glen Ord. As Dalwhinnie, Glen Ord and Oban are from The Highlands, I thought that maybe the list was slightly inclined towards that region. A glass of The Singleton (I prefer mine neat, at around 12 degree centigrade, and let it breathe slightly before drinking) magically appears before me. The Singleton from Glen Ord is 18 years old. The floral notes are present here ? not too strong, but it is prominent, with some mild spices ? perhaps a touch of cinnamon and a hint of some other herbs, which makes this slightly sweet, and extremely enjoyable. The finish, surprisingly, isn?t dry, and I like the fact that it warms me up, without leaving a trail of fire down my throat. Despite that, the potency is there, and I proceed with caution. Platters of finger food make rounds ? skewers of cherries and cheese lie on a bed of ice, a bowl filled with batter fried fish and tartar sauce passes by, and I snag a couple of them to appease my need to munch on something tasty. The fish is mildly spiced, and the batter is nice, if not crunchy. I love the tartlets though ? creamy and extremely easy to pop in my mouth. But the deviled eggs beckon, and I pick a dainty morsel on a slice of white bread, and enjoy the cold, egg-meets-ketchup concoction. I glide on to the food pairing, and am glad to see some of my favorite cheeses in the snack platter. The cheese platter is comprehensive ? with an assortment of local and imported cheeses. Bondel cheese fought for space with Cheddar, and Gouda was put against a wedge of Blue. I did not much care for the cream cracker biscuits; instead, I forked a grape, and popped it with some creamy blue cheese with a healthy bite to it! Went wonderfully with my drink, I daresay. Afraa?s new venture seems to be extremely promising. With the growing number of whiskey and wine enthusiasts in the city nowadays, it is always a pleasure to see counters like this open up. The selection made is also quite comprehensive, and has a considerable number of exquisite Single Malts for the connoisseurs of the tipple. Article & Images By: Poorna Banerjee LiveInStyle.com encourages you to Party Responsibly!