To novice wine lovers, it's a world full of glamour, romance, charm, sophistication and luxury, but it can be puzzling also. There is so much variety, so much information with endless opinions, not to mention an elite image that many find intimidating. But through the ages, people all over the world, from peasants to kings, have enjoyed wine. The experience of wine is one that humans have shared for thousands of years. From being worshiped (Wine Gods) by the Greeks & the Romans to being an important symbol of Christian faith, wine is not only a pleasurable drink but also a vital part of human history. So, the next time you enjoy a glass of wine, think about your place in history. Wines may date back to 2500 BC; nowadays we drink it from the bottle & not animal skins, but the basic principals of wine-making remain the same. Made from the juice of freshly picked grapes, wine ranges from red, white, rose, sparkling, aromatized to fortified… Interesting isn’t it?
The production of wine differs from country to country and are classified as Old World (Europe), which follow traditional ways of wine making & New World (Non European Countries) that are more experimental and concentrate more on the expression of the fruit rather than the “Terroir” (a natural environment in which a particular wine is produced).
Just like people, each wine is distinct & unique in taste. To understand this, the basic steps comprise of 5 S’s of Tasting; See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor. It will definitely help in appreciating & getting the most out of the wine.
Once you’ve understood the basic fundamentals of wine tasting, it's time to put in your mixology skill to work. Wine is an integral part in some of the world’s first cocktails, wherein table wine & fortified wines were used as the drink base.
Table wines (White, Red & Rose) are typically used in the most famous “Sangria” from Portugal & Spain, now made worldwide. Usually served in pitchers, this fruity and refreshing cocktail differs from bar to bar and everyone claims to be making the best in town.
Cooking wine with herbs and spices, similarly known as Mulled wine is a traditional drink in many European countries and is served warm during Christmas & Halloweens. On the contrary, white wine cocktails are drunk as thirst quenchers in tall and refreshing Spritzers.
Vermouth is the most important aromatic wine in the cocktail world. The word comes from the German word "Wermut" for wormwood, and is used in countless cocktails, both modern & classic. It is also drunk as an aperitif or digestive and is a part of the superstars of the cocktail domain “The Martini & Manhattan”.
Champagne, also know as the king of sparkling wine, is used in many cocktails, often splashed on top to add a touch of fizz. It can also be substituted for Prosecco from Italy & Cava from Spain.
If you’ve been to Goa or Cochin, you can't simply miss out on the famous Port wine. Guzzled down as a desert wine, Port wines are used in the famous cocktails like the “Sangaree” and the classic ”Port wine flip”.
Few interesting trivias about Wine Cocktails
1. Wine cocktails are also known as food friendly cocktails, as it pairs well with food and has lower alcoholic strength.
2. Always add the champagne last in the flute, when making any champagne cocktails. For best results, stir it gently and serve right away.
3. For best Sangria, soak fruits in the wine a night before serving or drinking.
4. It isn’t necessary to use an expensive wine for Sangria or mulled wine. A decent quality wine will work beautifully.
5. For aromatic and complex flavors in Sangria, try making it with mulled wine.
Picture Credit - Four Seasons Wine Facebook Page