How your glass of Whisky could be in danger.

whiskey-2171646_960_720Last week, April 22 was a red letter day called Earth Day. There were numerous articles educating and reminding us about the impact of climate change on various aspects of the world that we live in – our quality of food, water, and life. Little do we know the impact of climate change on Whisky.

What goes into making Whisky and how can it be impacted?

Water: A key requirement in a distillery as it is needed to mix the yeast with the barley in the fermented liquid which eventually becomes the spirit. Distilleries in Scotland and the world over usually use river or spring water in this process. It is important to note that if we do not care for our water sources and water bodies and end up polluting them then it will only be a matter of time when this affects the quality of the final product or the price as more money might need to spent on water purification techniques.

Barley: The base product from which Whisky is made, this is usually imported from far away fields adding to the carbon footprint . It might be a smarter idea for distilleries to grow their own barley on site to control volumes and reduce carbon emissions caused by transporting barley from other locations.

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Wood: The casks made from wood is eventually responsible for giving Whisky the colour, complexity, and aroma. Distilleries must ensure that they are not contributing to deforestation and should consider buying a plot of forest land to closely monitor the supply chain from planting, harvesting, use, and protection of natural resources that go into the making of Whisky.

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History of the Cocktail

Every time you’re at a party, sipping a cool / colourful cocktail do you ever wonder about the first cocktail ever made?

Here’s one theory about the first cocktail.

In 1586, a fleet of English ships commanded by Sir Francis Drake was stranded near Havana. The ships were full of plundered gold but the crew were too sick to sail or fight.

According to the legend, Drake took local medicines such as mint (good for stomachs) lime (to treat scurvy), bark from the chuchuhuasi tree soaked in rum (a cure for dysentery), and cane sugar (to make it all taste OK), and mixed it all together. The resulting drink, dubbed El Draque, cured his sailors.

The word ‘cocktail’ comes into it because Drake’s crew allegedly drank this concoction from a long spoon with cock tail handle. Believe that? Well, it is just a theory. There is however a striking resemblance between the El Draque and the drink now known as the Mojito.

The other theory about the first cocktail came from the Americans.

America’s first cocktail, the Sazerac, was created in New Orleans in 1838, by Antoine Peychaud. He created the drink in a French Quarter bar and named it after his favourite French Brandy, Sazerac-de-Forge et fils. In 1873, the drink was changed when American Rye Whiskey was substituted for Cognac, and a dash of Absinthe was added by bartender Leon Lamothe, and today he is regarded as the Father of the Sazerac. In 1912, Absinthe was banned, so Peychaud substituted his special bitters in its place.

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Sazerac Recipe:

  • 1 cube sugar
  • 1½ ounces (35ml) Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • ¼ ounce Herbsaint
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Lemon peel

Pack an Old-Fashioned glass with ice. In a second Old-Fashioned glass place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud’s Bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube. Add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon to the second glass containing the Peychaud’s Bitters and sugar. Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint. Empty the Whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel.

Don’t forget to shop for your favourite drinks at our website.

How to Rock a Classic Cocktail

That old Gold, that warm elixir, that which is called Whisky, Whiskey, Scotch, Rye or Bourbon, which usually is served up straight, on the rocks or slightly diluted, can also be a popular cocktail drink. Whisky drinkers will know that the spirit does lend itself nicely to fruity as well as drier mixes.

We are not talking about the common cola that some like to fizz up their drink with. Rather, the finer mixes and flavours that make for enduring taste and lingering memories. Bring on the world of Whisky cocktails, the world that is not just for the folk who like their Scotch but also for those who like their flavours.

Some cocktails that whet your appetite are the Classic Manhattan, Whisky Sour, Whisky Smash and the Blood and Sand, to mention just a few. For the joy of trying it at home, we have decided to give you three recipes we thought might tickle your taste buds.

The Manhattan is an old favourite and almost always tops a cocktail menu’s Whisky section. Originally made from Rye Whisky, later drinkers used Bourbon more frequently. Today, however, it lends itself to the taste of the drinker and you are generally welcome to use any Whisky you prefer. Here, for your drinking pleasure, is the recipe:

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Ingredients:

2 ounces of your choice of Whisky

½ ounce sweet Vermouth

2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Maraschino cherry for garnish

Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 1 Cocktail

 Preparation:

  1. Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with the cherry.

Some variations on this cocktail include playing with the Vermouth ratios. Depending on how dry you like your Manhattan, you could use a drier or sweet Vermouth. And if you don’t have a cherry to garnish your drink with, then a sliver of orange peel will do just as well.

Be sure to use a classic cocktail glass for this very special drink, to get the look and feel just right!

And just so you can get a feel for the kind of cocktails possible with Whisky, and because we are not listing every single one here (it is still a growing list by the way), here is another cocktail recipe, one that was meant to be a classic.

Inspired by the 1941 movie Blood and Sand, the cocktail of the same name is probably just as inspired by the remake in 1989 starring Sharon Stone.

The cocktail itself is a delightful one with a touch of sweet and citrus. A suggestion, if you cannot find Cherry Brandy is to use Cherry Heering which has a more natural cherry flavour. Additionally, we advise you to use freshly squeezed orange juice as opposed to the canned or tinned variety. And for your further edification, here is the recipe!

blood-and-sand

Ingredients:

¾ ounce Scotch Whisky

¾ ounce Cherry Brandy

¾ ounce sweet Vermouth

¾ ounce orange juice

Orange slice for garnish

 Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 1 Cocktail

Preparation:

  1.  Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with an orange slice.

In 2010, this beloved cocktail was vastly improved by a top mixologist at Edinburgh’s premier cocktail bar, the Bramble Bar. Using Chivas Regal blended Scotch Whisky, passion fruit puree, Lillet Rouge and Cherry Heering, this reinterpretation is possibly even better than the original – try it!

Ingredients:

1 ounce Chivas Regal Blended Scotch Whisky

1 ounce passion fruit puree

1 ounce Cherry Heering

1 ounce Lillet Rouge

Preparation:

  1. In a mixing glass, add all ingredients.
  2. Add ice.
  3. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Enjoy!

We, at Bengaluru Duty Free really hope you enjoy your Whisky and, more importantly today, your Whisky-based cocktails! Do try these and let us know what you think and what you like! Happy to help you out at our store anytime – do drop by, and, who knows – you may be able to create a perfect cocktail all your own!

The Dos and Don’ts of cooking with Alcohol

After a hard week, a favorite leisure time activity that a lot of people see as a great form of relaxation is firing up the grill in their backyard with an ice cold beer or a glass of wine in hand. Whether you partake in drinking alcohol or not, all of us do however, like a bit of spirit tossed into some of our favourite meals. It’s not surprising at all that alcohol is a very commonly used ingredient in a lot of kitchens. It has various uses which make it a versatile ingredient.

In order to get started, one must have a basic understanding of pairing food and alcohol as part of the finished meal. The rule to cooking with alcohol is based on keeping it simple. Cooking with alcohol is also very similar to food pairings with alcohol. Which goes to say darker spirits work with darker meats, sauces and dishes that are heavy on proteins. On the other hand, light coloured spirits belong with lighter and white meats, sauces and low-protein food.

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Image Source: bit.ly/1PimmDm

Another imperative rule of cooking with alcohol is also a safety tip of sorts – avoid the flambé technique if you’re not an expert. Flambé is a style of cooking where a generous amount of any spirit is poured on food and is set ablaze as alcohol has highly flammable properties. This is a big no-no to avoid any kind of home accidents.

Here are some of our favourite recipes, made using different kinds of spirits that you can easily experiment with at home.

Penne A ‘la Vodka

This dish is hearty and quite filling — not to mention the fact that it makes for great leftovers.

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 30 min

Total: 40 min

penne

Image Source:  bit.ly/1zrXwd3

Ingredients

  • 500 gms dried penne pasta
  • 500 gms Italian sausage
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 500 gms button mushrooms, sliced
  • 30 gms chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. vodka
  • 4 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until cooked through; remove and drain on paper towels.
  3. Melt butter in the same skillet; add onions and salt, and sauté until tender, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, red pepper, and mushrooms; cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, cream, vodka, and return the sausage to the pot. Allow the mixture to come to a slow simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes uncovered.
  6. Prior to serving, fold in the pasta, followed by the spinach, and toss until spinach is wilted and incorporated. Serve with grated cheese.

Beer Can Chicken

Often tried, but rarely perfected, this is one of those techniques which marks the real marriage of cooking and alcohol. The beer lends extra flavour and moisture to the chicken throughout the cooking process. To get the best results, use a gas grill over indirect heat. You can go old school and just invert the chicken up on the can.

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 60 – 75 minutes

Total: 1 hour 10 min – 25 min

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Image Source: bit.ly/1gr55dv

Ingredients

  • 2-3 kgs young chicken, washed and rinsed clean
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Creole seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 can beer, open and with a couple sips taken
  • Beer can chicken stainless stand
  • Butcher’s twine

Instructions

  1. Prepare a charcoal smoker or gas grill for indirect heating/smoking over medium heat, about 130-150 degree celsius.
  2. Meanwhile, coat chicken in oil, and evenly rub the Creole seasoning into the chicken, including the cavity. Stuff cavity with garlic and lemon, and place the chicken on top of the beer on the stand. Secure by tying the legs together with butcher’s twine.
  3. Smoke the chicken, rotating on occasion, until the internal temperature reaches 75 degrees celsius.
  4. Tent with foil and allow the bird to rest for 20 minutes prior to cutting and serving.

Blueberry and Peach Bourbon Granola Crisp

This is a simplified version of a classic cobbler, full of fresh peaches and blueberries. You can use this same fruit mixture for traditional cobblers or pies, the crispy granola crunch on top is what it’s all about though (apart from the Bourbon of course) – and is also much easier to prepare.

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 40 min

Total: 55 min

Serves: 6

crisp

Image Source: go.brit.co/1MWIEc8

Ingredients

Fruit Mixture

  • 3 ripe peaches — pitted, peeled, and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, washed
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg

Topping

  • 1 cup granola
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. cold butter, cubed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degree celcius.
  2. Toss the fruit mixture together into a greased cooking pan until evenly combined.
  3. Next, add the topping ingredients in a mixing bowl, cutting the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a coarse crumble.
  4. Spread the topping over the top of the fruit mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes or until browned and crispy.
  5. Cool slightly before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Any kind of alcohol can be used for cooking as long as you have a recipe in place. Browse through our vast collection of different spirits that can be used as an ingredient in any of your meals: http://bit.ly/1y5bcyo