COFFEE AND TEA – Chapter Five – Alcoholic Drinks
“Alcoholic drinks, seriously? Amazing! Shall I show you the way to the next whiskey bar, Isabel?”
“Tell me what one needs to know to claim he is a beer lover or a wine connoisseur. I am the absolute amateur drinker. Enlighten me, Ashton!”
“Most people do not know how to drink, Isabel. When it comes to alcoholic drinks, their qualities fall into three categories: nose, taste, and finish. Perhaps the most vital is the nose. You rock the liquor gently, to release the fragrance and then carefully expose your nose to it. You take a few sniffs of the beverage with your mouth open, and then you are able to tell things such as Dark Fruit, Oak, Char, Citrus, Minerality, Caramel- and sound like an expert. When you taste the alcohol you associate with tastes from your experience. It could be a vanilla ice-cream, Christmas pudding, or simply cinnamon. Finally, the finish is the feeling left in your mouth after you swallow.
Tell me your most beloved alcoholic drinks, Isabel?”
“I love exotic beers in summer and in winter – you’d have to be insane to not try a mug of mulled wine.”
“Well, let me teach you how to talk smart about your beer. There is a rainbow of beers in the menu – from pale and blond ale to porter and stout. Know the intensity of your beverage – the ABV. The strongest beer in the world contains 67.5% alcohol. A beer is called balanced when all its elements are in consummate proportion. Beer can be even good for you if enjoyed in moderation.
Here are some thirsty facts about beer. Beer is 3rd among the most popular beverages in the world and one of the oldest. The first document, which mentions the beer is from Sumerian times. The citizens of Babylon continued this tradition. During the first month after the wedding, the father of the bride treated his son-in-law with beer every day. The Celts and the Ancient Egyptians even had goddesses of beer, respectively Dea Latis, and Nephthys. They say ale is the reason humans ever started farming – and that was the birth of the civilization. Ben Franklin says “Beer is the proof that God loves us.” Scientists have proved that beer makes women smarter. Shall I continue, Isabel?”
“Yes, of course. Tell me about the mulled wine?”
“Imagine a true December, Isabel. The Great European winter…nights become longer, days become shorter – the only way to warm up a company is a mug of fragrant mulled wine. It is a wine that has been heated and spiced with balmy herbs. Each country has got its own traditional recipe. What you probably don’t know is that the mulled wine is the winter variant of Sangria, and I have an adorable recipe for Sangria. It is made with two cups of mixed fruit, peeled and sliced – such as honeydew, kiwi, berries, watermelon, grapes, and lemons. Add a bottle of red or white wine and some brandy or light rum, then a cup of orange juice, ice, and stir. You can mix the liquid with lime-soda, ginger ale, water, club soda, frozen lemonade and tea for extra flavor. To this, you can add your favorite garnish: cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, basil – and you sweeten it with sugar or honey. Yes, summer wine is really made of all these things…
The merry God Dionysius, the Ancient Greek God of Wine roams the entire world, accompanied by a loud mob of maenads and satyrs, adorned with wreaths. He walks and around him in a quick dance whirl the young maenads and the auld, clumsy satires. Under the sound of flutes, the noisy procession advances merrily in the mountains through shadowy forests and green plains. He teaches people to look after the vine and make from its ripe, heavy grapes the wine.
In Melbourne lives a young man who is blind from his birth. Only when he smells and tastes a glass of wine, he sometimes says: “Goodness, what lovely color this wine has. He is right because there is a relationship between the color of wine and its taste and aroma. The appreciation of wine starts from its color. In vino veritas. Hemingway said: “Wine is the greatest achievement of the civilization.” It certainly is among the most traditional beverages.”
“What’s the most unusual alcoholic drink, Ashton?”
“That’s a bit anecdotal, my darling. The country which holds the record for alcohol consumption is Russia. Bohemians in St. Petersburg love port wine. However, among the poorer layers of society, cleaners and detergents are popular to this very day, as well as the unforgettable Troinoi Eau De Cologne.”
Another astonishingly sweet and delicate drink, which will take you by surprise is mead. Mead is wine made from honey – a most braved drink cooled in ice, which will please you mightily. It is also very easy to prepare.”
“What is the most ladylike drink, Ash?”
“That would be some cocktail, my darling Isa. There are thousands of recipes, some of which rather popular. Which one is your favorite?”
“I love Virgin Bloody Mary, which practically is tomato juice with spices and green olives – without the alcohol it’s a little less sinful, but it still tastes wonderfully well.”
“I would gently stir it for you, Isa!”
“Would you let me choose a cocktail for you Ashton? This one looks delicious and fruity, it is made with fresh raspberries and it is called Kiss me Quick Cocktail.”
“I don’t drink alcohol, Isabel. Not. One. Bit.”