fuck love

a blog on 'life' and other popular four letter words...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Liquid Gold

Vaibhav, me, Purvi, Anki and Shalini

Considering that booze records are made only to be broken the following year in my home state Kerala (yay! go mallus, go!), it’s no surprise that I’m the type of guy who likes my drink.  And being a mallu, it’d be a shame if I don’t contribute to the mallu preoccupation with staunch alcoholism.

I can’t say I remember my first drink – I was probably too sloshed to register - but I do remember my engineering college days when the only ‘character’ who was willing to have a weekly affair with me was a concoction that other similar luckless students formulated in a bucket – a mixture of all the cheap liquor that could be bought with the paltry monthly budget that our stingy NRI parents allowed us.  But the many bucket parties with this poison led to some of the best memories and life altering experiences of my life - under the influence, many friends have conclusively disproved Einstein’s theories,  some conducted illicit relationships with unfortunate stray dogs that wandered into our party zone and it wasn’t too uncommon to see drunk engineering students find innovative(and painful) uses with beer bottles. This holy water empowered us, liberated us and yup, it gave us wings.

I’m sure every drinker can associate parts of his life to particular brands – in my engineering college days, I attained nirvana with ‘Old Monk’, during my MBA, the healing powers of KingFisher helped us survive the learnt(mostly unlearnt) management fundas;  in my first job,  Bacardi accompanied my lonely nights without a girlfriend; in every job since, SmirnOff+red bull accompanied my lonely nights with girlfriend.  And this went on along with the choicest finger foods like peppered peanuts,  pickle n poppadoms, and my current favorite, grilled chicken with mayo.

So I was invited to a whiskey tasting session last week.

I got an invite cos I’m considered to be a ‘social influencer’(high five to this blog and its awesome followers!)  by the gregarious GingerClap team and they took the trouble of ferrying me to and back to the Black Dog Scotch tasting session at Habenero, a lovely tex-mex place at ITPB, Whitefield.  Habenero is one of those ubercool fine-dining joints that screams ‘sophistication’ and is a perfect place to impress a date.  And our date was set on a Saturday evening and boy, were we impressed!

It’s a strange kinda joy when you meet fellow bloggers of your city – it’s the same feeling that long lost siblings of yesteryear hindi movies who got separated in well meaning melas,  experience when they finally reunite, some bees saal baad kinds.  So I met fellow bloggers Shiju, Indrasish, Ron and Rajani, Shalini and Rahul, Anki, Vaibav, Angela, Purva and Abhishek and minus the hindi phillum ‘song and dance’ routine , it was pretty cool to bump into other Bangalorean  bloggers. 

pic courtesy: anki's blog

Some of my revelations:

Man, I was clueless:- I had no idea what the basics of whiskey are.  All my life, I just referred to any golden liquid in a glass by its very scientific name - ‘daaru’.  So it was pretty difficult for me to converse with the man of the hour, Mohit Nischol from tulleho!, who elaborated on the scotch tasting experience and generously used words like ‘Malt’, ‘blend’,  ‘distillation’…  Of course,  I did improvise by substituting conversation with appreciative moans and appropriate sounds after every sip – sure, people must have thought I was having multiple orgasms but what the hell,  the food was really good.

So what exactly is Whiskey:  So take a bunch of grains (wheat, corn, barley, rye etc), grind & crush ‘em so that the husk gets stripped away (called milling), plunk it into hot water to form a thick and pulpy starchy mixture called wort (process called mashing), cool it all up,  add in yeast, so that the yeastie beasties convert the wort into alcohol (fermentation) and finally it is then steamed with the vapours caught and cooled again (distillation) to get pure colorless whiskey, which is then barreled to mature for years. The whiskey takes the color and flavor of the wooden barrels(casks) it is put into (and of the surrounding air)  to get that gorgeous golden color.

What is Scotch Whiskey: OK, this one I knew – its whiskey made in Scotland. J But scotch takes at least 3 years to make - anything less and it aint scotch, my friend. 

There actually is a way to drink it:  I always used to quickly gulp alcohol and to soothe the following warm after-taste, I’d have a quick lick of lime, pickle or a spicy something.  But if you take a sip of scotch, roll it in your mouth for a minute so that it touches every part of your mouth, you’d find out that scotch actually has a taste and smell to it.  If you put in a spoon of water into it (yes, only a spoon), you can sense the taste actually opening up – pretty cool considering that I never took a minute off to savor scotch during the times I’ve had it all my life.  And remember, whisky has to be always drunk at room temperature to allow all the aroma's to reveal themselves.  Chilling or adding ice effectively kills a single malt whisky.  Who knew?

So what’s with Black Dog:  Well for one thing, I love their tag line – “Let the World Wait” – which was also my ex-girlfriend’s credo whenever we went shopping.  But jokes apart, it’s got attitude.  For me, Black Dog is something I won’t forget in a hurry for it gave me this experience that’s changed my perception to whisky- I mean, seriously, I’ve never actually smelt and tasted alcohol  (Ya, I do that with wine to pretend I know what the hell I’m doing when I actually don’t!) - for me, it’s always been gulp, lick and ‘one again, barman’.   But now, I have a feeling I might just remember to swirl, smell and savor it the next time.  And of their ware – I find myself inclined to the Black Dog Centenary rare premium blended Scotch – it really went down well with cheese, sausages and dark chocolate.

Some fancy whiskey words I’d shamelessly use to appear ‘le intellectual sophisticate’ at snobbish parties are: 
  • “Single Malt” – Whiskey made from 100% malted barley that comes from one distillery; even more exclusive is the single cask single malt - whiskey that comes from the same wooden cask of the same distillery.  
  • "Blended Whiskey" is composed of whiskey from two or more different distilleries. I've noticed that whenever I use this term after using the term 'Single Malt', people around me are effectively fooled into believing that I actually know what I'm talking about. J
  • “Angel’s share” – During casking,  the whiskey evaporates through the cask and this part of the maturing spirit that vanishes between casking and bottling is called the Angel’s share.

Thanks to Ashu, Akshay, Sumath and others from the GingerClap team;  Arjun Batra and Paul George, the brand managers of Black Dog, Kalveer the photographer who took some awesome pics that I shamelessly bombarded on my fb and the new blogdosts I met for an evening par excellence.   Of late when I’m happy, I do the ubercool Gangnam dance to myself – this was definitely one of ‘em.                                                                                                                                                                                
A great man once said – we all have to believe in something; be it God, Love, the greater good, Liberty, Hope … whatever it is, we all have to believe in something.

I believe I’ll have another drink.

Cheers!




44 comments:

  1. Oh yes .. You come over my friend to uk and I will treat you to some lovely scotch :) promise .. oh yes its an art how to drink scotch.. we in india spoil the taste by adding water or soda or something else

    and it reminded me of college days , the old monk days , I still cherish that drink and whats good is we get it in UK :)

    you had a good time and met a few bloggers excellent

    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aah my friend - we have two dates to fulfill now - one on the bullet and another one with scotch.. of course, we cud even do an Old Monk's for starters :D

      Very happy to see you Biks.. been a long, long while, eh?

      Always happy to see you yaar :)

      Delete
    2. hehe.... its indeed a pleasure to hear representations of two daaru-loving states talking - Punjab and Kerala!!! Also, Raj - did you know that Whisky is different from 'Whiskey' ? (Thank God I didn't sleep through ALL my beverage classes in Hotel mgmt!! :-)) ...... Lovely post Raj!

      Delete
    3. I know, talk bout national integration, eh? :)

      Wow I didn't know that.. what is the difference with the extra 'e'? At least I'll learn bout it when
      I'm, sober :D

      Always nice to see u Nirvana.. hope all is well on ur side :)

      Delete
    4. By the way - you have to read this review I wrote : http://www.hospitalityshowtime.blogspot.in/2012/09/ronil-beach-resort-goa-review.html

      (since you're the one who 'thengummal kettals' me on my review posts :-) !!

      Delete
    5. U deserve to be 'thengummal kettals', Nirvana :)

      Read it n like I mentioned there, its brilliant...

      as usual. :)

      Delete
  2. You rock! Thanks so much for mentioning me as one of your partners in crime of that day ;-) Great post!!! It was a fun experience, happy to have met you. -ange

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Ange, welcome to my blog n glad that you dropped by.

      oh yes, it was fab to have met you too.. I've read a lot of your posts earlier and was always a fan of ur fun trips n honest views; so its a pleasure to finally see the person behind the perspectives:)

      do drop by more often Ange.. would be lovely to see more of u here :)

      Delete
  3. Okay.. I wudnt have tasted a bit of the alcohol.. so what?
    :( Sad I wasn't even invited..!!

    Hmmphhh (With hands on hips)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Punam, I'm pretty surprised myself that I got an invite.. was a random stroke of life I suppose.. but obviously, if I'm asked to bring fellow bloggers and friends, trust me, ur name's high on my list :)

      Glad to see u here Punam.. long time na? :)

      Delete
  4. Okay, on a serious note.. glad you had fun.. I miss Park Square.. used to work at ITPL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow, u've worked at ITPL, eh? small world, Punam.. I used to work next to Sai Baba hospital and ITPL was where we used to hang out for our Friday lunch.. also, the mallu mess behind ITPL was as unclean as it was a great place for some amazing food :)

      do drop by more often Punam.. great to see u again :)

      Delete
    2. Oh trust me, I miss those Friday lunches with and my friends too. :(
      Shiitake was a fave haunt.. after Park Square opened.

      Delete
    3. Hey always been wanting to go there.. heard so much bout it :)

      Delete
  5. I feel I am Enlightened today after reading this post.. :-P Well, Never tried Whiskey though..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Sonia, wassappp????? :)

      Great to see u here :) Aah, you should start soon.. try scotch whiskey with dark chocolate.. its kinda cool :)

      Glad to see u here Sonia.. hope all is well on ur side :)

      Delete
  6. Hi
    It was fun reading your blog. I to “contribute to the mallu preoccupation with staunch alcoholism.” :)
    I never liked scotch and the reason behind is the “taste” & the “smell”. Who the fu-ck-lo-ve drinks for the taste and smell :D. “This holy water empowered us, liberated us and yup, it gave us wings.” I loved your lines man…. A true exposition of drunken master(s).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha. u gt that right! :)

      Welcome to my blog Rajesh.. happy to know u enjoyed being here..

      hahaha, glad u like the lines ; ur's are quite witty urself :) U seem to hv the 'experience' too, my friend :D

      do drop by more often Rajesh :)

      Delete
  7. Oh my...all the injustice we've done to this pleasurable drink. I feel ashamed, now I know I have better conversation for I have better knowledge of my drink compared to the silly losers who drinks without a moment of solitude for the best creation of the mankind..
    I'm a woman but boy oh boy I love my wiskey!!!!!!
    Thanks.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, u said it soulsearcher.. but I guess the whiskey Gods might just forgive us cos we're all probably too sloshed n havin a gud time to realize :)

      Glad tht u found it helpful, soulsearcher.. wow, u do know ur drink, don't u! Great to meet u soulsearcher:)

      do drop by more often, my friend :)

      Delete
  8. Now why is it that you get invited for Whiskey-tasting and I have to shell-out from my pockets to go wine-tasting blah blah.. Ubercool must be the mantra...

    My recent wine-tasting experience in Chennapatna was a similar experience. And yes being a Mallu I know for a fact that the only way we appreciate "daaru" is by gulping it :D

    Nice drink-up err...write-up. Enjoyed reading it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha..guess its beginner's luck I guess - but honestly don't know why I got an invite - but since it involved free booze, I never bothered to recheck with them in case they'd probably realize they made a mistake - so I just shut up and enjoyed the free booze :D

      aah yes, read bout it.. a good post n like I mentioned there, I will probably use some of ur lines :)

      Ya man.. mallu mallu bhai bhai :)

      Delete
  9. Am not into drinking but looks like u had a great time! Enjoy mate! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Hari.. thanks man.. yap, did have a great time :)

      thnx fr droppin by buddy :)

      Delete
  10. oh man. i love whiskey/ scotch. love em neat, no ice!
    used to go for many of those tasting, and there was one Royal Salute one which i totally adored. it was special edition 38yrs (minimum). glorious!

    i can't do beer or champagne, they're like poison for me.
    quit drinking wine recently too - gives me problems. but i'd still go for food- wine dinners once in a while!

    love tequila shots though :)



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 38 yrs minimum!!!! Wow!! That's way too cool, Jaya :)

      I'm starting to look at whiskey in a whole new light after this experience.. like I said, I was one of those quick gulp Murugan types with whiskey but now think I just might think to spend a lil more time with it maybe

      ..oh yes Jaya, those tequila shots! :)

      Delete
  11. Oh yeah, we mallus are not to be considered that unless we drink and trust me I do love my drinks. 'Old Monk' my life saviour in almost every need. Whiskey, Tequila for the other needs :P

    There was a Whiskey tasting program in Bangalore and I missed it?!? Thank you friend for the information. Hmmmphhh!!!

    I might not visit here next time :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Soumya, glad u see u yaar.. long time na? Hope all is well on ur side :)

      Athaanu that! For us mallus, every day is a sHappy pOnam :)

      ... anganey parayathey Soumyaji.. veendum veendum variga - Old Monk anu satyam, next time I know of something like this, will let u know :)

      in fact if u into writer meetups, Atta Gallatta at Koramanagala has something this Saturday.. will fb u bout it :)

      Veendum Varanam :)

      Delete
  12. Simply amazing. I wish I could write with so much drama and emotion. It was great to have your acquaintance through this impromptu event. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Shiju, welcome to my blog my friend.. glad to see u here :)

      Thanks a lot for ur kind words.. I wish i could capture drama and emotion the way u do so splendidly with ur pics man.. u truly rock man! :)

      Do drop by more often, Shiju :)

      Delete
  13. Great to have meet you too. It was a lovely evening with great food and Black Dog whiskies :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Likewise Shalini.. it was great to have met up with u too Shalini :)

      Till the next meeting :)

      Delete
  14. Hey hey R-A-J! How are you doing today, my friend? I had my first drink when I was 13. Yes, sir, and I'm not ashamed to admit it, too. I blame my cousin, George, of course. He must have been, what, 20 at the time and he said, 'You'll like this.' I don't even remember what it was, but it was strong alright. The guy knew his liquor. I'm still surprised I never became a full-blown pro (as in a.l.c.o.h.o.l.i.c.) hahaha.

    You take good care now :)

    P.S. You're talking to a married man now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey RCB!!!! Welcum back.. saw ur pics.. u guys look sooper fab.. happy fr u :)

      Wow, u did start early didnt u RCB? Methinks I got my first shot in college only ..

      Congrats once again RCB!!:)

      Delete
  15. Hey RAJ! Awesome post dude ! Loved it !! It was great to meet you. Hope we get to click more of these great pics

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks man.. glad u liked it bro.. yup, awesome to hv met up with u too... till the next meet, do drop by more often Vaibhav :D

      Delete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. You know what I don't understand? Why is drinking publicly so frowned upon in Kerala? I mean, if my father wants to drink in Kerala, he has to go to the pub. He says it's because he's "respecting his elders" by not drinking in front of them. But it's funny that he only respects them in India...in Malaysia, he drinks at home, quite normally and naturally. I think this whole obsession with "you can only drink at the pub" means that Malayalees in general don't know how to hold their alcohol or how to enjoy it. Their motto is "if I drink, I want to get drunk, or I won't drink". It's not a healthy way to drink at all. And the issue with drinking in pubs is that people drink and immediately get drunk and get into fights.They wouldn't act so badly if they were drinking in their own homes, and if it wasn't frowned upon.
    Basically, I don't like the way Malayalees drink. And ths is just a general observation, from visits to Kerala.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank God people don't drink publicly in Kerala - already Kerala has the highest per capita alcohol consumption in India - if the party spills over to the streets also, then I'd probably have to relocate back to then fittingly called God's Own Country. :)

      Jokes apart Bhadra, I completely agree with u on this one - if people can drink openly in public, then I'm sure people would learn to hold their drink and my bet is that people will drink more socially and acceptably - right now, I think its the scarcity that's making people have double standards to the aspect of drinking and yet have higher instances of alcoholism.

      Great point Bhadra.. do drop by more often :)

      Delete
  18. Lol. I have like so many mallu friends, most of them say they don't drink or that they would never drink. Hypocrites in making. :P
    I don't know what I love, so new to the alcohol world! Stil at clg na :)
    And man. that was a lot of knowledge! lol. :D
    loved the post. Really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha Shalini.. we mallus are a unique breed.. we all leave our state behind to other countries and once they're sure most of us r out of Kerala, they name it 'God's own country' :)

      Aah, that's the best part - u ud keep trying all of 'em at once to figure out which one's ur drink - n yup, if u're still unsure the next day, u cud start all over again :D

      Thanks so much for ur kind words Shalini.. do drop by more often.. lovely to have u here :)

      Delete