Volume 1 Issue 3 Q3 2022 R 90 Tea Diplomacy Tales & Traditions Age of Zero New Beginnings T H E E S T O N I A S P E C I A L Estonian Gin Passion Craft

contents what’s inside Estonia Interview Estonian Indian Partnership Estonia Liqueur A Worthwhile Chase 4 Liquid 8 22 Estonia Gin Gin it up Estonian Style Estonia Tech Yanu - The Bar Bot 14 Estonia Vodka 26 Estonia Travel A Geographical Indication Tantalising Tallinn 19 28

contents Tea Tea Diplomacy Chile Wines of Chile Academy Gin Let the Good Times beGIN 36 Coffee 55 Hungary 68 Romancing Filter Coffee Hungarian Wine Summit 40 Trends 58 Beer 44 The Age of Zero From the Heart of England 62 24 Wellness Chaga: An Estonian Elixir 32 Estonia Restaurant Culinary Tallinn 48 Innovation Morning Fresh 50 Report A Sector Poised for Growth 52 News From the Liquid World 60 Wine Gewürztraminer 64 Sake Love for Sake Liquid 5

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publisher’s note Volume 1 Issue 3 Q3 2022 Publisher: Ritu Singhal Editor: Rajiv Singhal Managing Editor: Radhika Tandon Founder & Advisor: Nadir Bilimoria Business Development: Devyani Aggarwal Design: Sandeep Kaul Photographs: Hunesh Ajmani Digital: Udit Singhal Contributors: Annamari Somogyi Gautam Raj Katrin Kivi Nandita Kaushik Nikhil Merchant Raphaella Holstaine Rie Yoshitake Shalini Virmani Stuart George Printed, Published & Owned by Ritu Singhal at 157, Vasant Vihar 1, P.O. New Forest, Dehradun 248006, Uttarakhand. Printed at Aegean Offset Printers, 220-B, Udyog Kendra Extension I, Greater Noida 201306, Uttar Pradesh. Registrar of Newspapers for India RNI Registration: UTTENG/2006/16852 Contact Information M: +91 9810008289 E: info@fine-magazines.in W: www.fine-magazines.in All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in any retrieval system or transmitted by any means without the prior written consent of the Publisher. The opinions of the contributors or interviewees do not reflect the opinions of the Publisher or Editor. The editorial team do not accept any liability for any errors. In compliance with the law in India, Liquid does not accept any advertising of alcoholic beverages in the print publication. Liquid reserves the right to refuse or suspend advertisements. W e are delighted to present the new avatar of Liquid, first published in 2006. Our new quarterly publication is intended for everyone who has an interest in beverages. Liquid will, true to its name, have a unique focus on all beverages – alcoholic and non-alcoholic – covering the complete spectrum from tea, coffee, juice, water, wine, champagne to spirits, liqueurs and much much more... We were able to navigate the bureaucracy and complete the acquisition of this publication title, inspite of the pandemic related disruptions to what is already a very complex and arduous process. Many publishers have made a paradigm shift to the digital space. We still firmly believe in the power of print – the sensory experience of holding a perfect-bound magazine to consume content is unparalleled – even if we are also sure that our print editions will co-exist with digital media. You, our esteemed reader, can expect us to deliver our trademark FINE quality through our reader-friendly, easy-to-carry print edition and digital e-paper. Expect a game-changer. As laid down by Indian law, the advertising of alcohol in print is strictly prohibited. We will remain the ONLY publishers in the alcoholic beverage space to be compliant – despite the loss in revenue that we stare at. Liquid is the platform for (and of) the entire Beverage Industry. Any support – contributions, subscriptions and advertising – would be greatly appreciated. Partnerships can be created to catch the eyeballs of our very discerning readers. Let’s raise glasses of our favourite drinks – and raise a toast to Liquid! Liquid 7

Photos: Deepak Kapoor estonia 8 Liquid

interview Estonian-Indian Partnership Her Excellency Katrin Kivi presented her credentials countries have brought our relationship to the next to the Honourable President of India, Shri Ram Nath level. I am proud that the Estonia-India friendship Kovind, in September 2019 to be the third Resident has withstood the test of time, and is firm in the face Ambassador of Estonia to India. Liquid spoke to her of global geopolitical turbulences. on the trade relations between Estonia and India, the What is the level of understanding and focus of Estonia on food and beverage and what the future holds. interaction between Estonians and Indians? Many Indians have made their way to Estonia to As the Ambassador of Estonia, what is your role in discover our country as a tourism destination. promoting Estonia in India? Some of them have stayed to work as IT or banking It has been a real privilege to represent Estonia as specialists, engineers or lawyers, doctors or chefs, Ambassador to India and call this wonderful city of in various places across Estonia. Some Estonians New Delhi my home. Like any Ambassador, I have who came to India have found themselves or their not only been boosting bilateral political ties between love here and vice versa. An Indian filmmaker Varun our two countries but am constantly trying to promote Trikha recently came to search for his true self in our my Estonia as well – to create more awareness about country and produced a film Raise Me a Memory. how beautiful and wonderful my country is, introduce our culture and history, our traditions, music, literature, architecture and cuisine! diplomats and are supported by locally employed staff. Enterprise Estonia is very active through its Trade Investment my business whose population is 1000 times bigger, is a challenge. Being Estonian is a profession and each and every At our Delhi Mission, we have three Estonian and Introducing a country of 1.3 million population to India Advisor. In diplomacy one of us counts! For most Indians, Estonia has been a well-kept secret so far, but I want to reveal it. What are the key sectors of bilateral co-operation and trade? activities, I am assisted by Digitalization, Honorary Consuls in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. In December 2021, cyber- security and innovation are the primary drivers of our bilateral relations. our Estonian two nations celebrated 30 years of successful diplomatic relations and in March this year, the first resident Ambassador of India assumed office in Tallinn – both and Indian partners are collaborating on digital transformation, blockchain, artificial intelligence, healthtech, cleantech, and fintech. Liquid 9

estonia Oil and petroleum products and wood pulp account for almost 60% of Estonia’s merchant exports to India which touched €100 million in 2021. In the same year, Estonia imported a more varied basket of carbon, natural minerals and insulated wires from India worth €41 million. world. We are the second largest organic farming Estonia agri-food exports to India are led by spirits and liqueurs – primarily artisanal Gin and Vodka – which are making their mark internationally because of the stronger presence of different herbs, berries and spices (elderflower, rhubarb, cloudberries, ginger, pepper, smoked juniper). Gourmet cheese and processed foods follow closely. Year-on-year new products are introduced to the F&B sector. standards are on par with hospital operating theatres. What are the strengths of Estonian produce? Estonian food products are building a reputation for hailing from the country with the cleanest air in the and maximize the content of the core ingredient. More country in Europe. Modern technology makes our production and logistics as efficient, automated, and sanitary as possible with minimum environmental impact. The industry sanitary Specialist innovators in well-equipped labs develop new products and keep a close eye on quality. Food safety is guaranteed. Food producers are ensuring the traceability of origin of the ingredients. Estonians are very health-conscious, thus food companies strive toward natural qualities, avoid the use of artificial additives, too much salt and sweeteners, attention is also being paid to high nutritional value, health benefits and a balanced diet. Who are the major trade partners for Food & Beverage? In Estonia, we believe that love passes through the stomach which means that delicious food and beverages make people curious towards each other, win hearts and minds, and cement friendships. The majority of Estonian companies are exportoriented, focused on neighbours like Latvia, Finland and Sweden. But nothing restrains our companies from exploring the rest of Europe, North America and the rising but complex Asia market opportunities. The long-standing traditions of the Estonian food sector are rooted in dairy and alcohol. Estonian bacon, butter and eggs have been the largest export articles 10 Liquid

interview of Estonia since the 1930s. Vana Tallinn is without deepen trade in food and beverages with India. doubt our most famous spirit, revered by its loyalists. In Estonia, we believe that love passes through Why is Estonia looking at India now? the stomach which means that delicious food and I think the question should be ‘Why not India’? beverages make people curious towards each other, The Indian market for imported and international food is why I am particularly proud to contribute to this and beverage is showing a noticeable growth trend. India is emerging as a favorite market destination for win hearts and minds, and cement friendships. This special Estonia edition of your magazine Liquid. many national and international players in this business. What was the impact of Taste Estonia at Aahar? In addition to evolving food preferences based on the The Estonian stand at the Aahar Food Show in global offer, dual-income households, increasing New Delhi reverberated with the theme of ‘organic, health awareness, more dining-out options, and rising innovative, healthy and sustainable brands’ enhancing aspirations are all converging to bring a tectonic shift to the visibility of Estonian products among Horeca the Indian plate, especially in urban households. professionals, foodies and influencers. We have much to offer each other. Globally-oriented The established quality standards, commitment to Estonian companies are working to tap into the environmentally friendly solutions and the drive for potential that a reforming and transforming India sustainability make Estonian food products very presents. Going forward, Estonia intends to further acceptable. Liquid 11

estonia Estonia is stepping up to the challenge. Our Introducing a country of 1.3 million population to India whose population is 1000 times bigger, is a challenge. For most Indians, Estonia has been a well-kept secret so far, but I want to reveal it. companies are quick to react and adapt to changing behaviour thanks to our relatively small size, forwardthinking mindset and innovative approach to scientific advancements, and are able to export our clean Nordic flavours. What can the Indian market look forward to from Estonia? India with its massive demand offers the opportunity Price sensitivity, volume game, understanding the pulse of consumers and high import duties are some of the factors to be borne in mind before plunging into the Indian market. But considering the vastness of the opportunities, and with the active support of customized, tailor-made market entry and strategy tools, such fears can be easily allayed. for Estonian companies, startups, innovation and entrepreneurs to explore opportunities across food and beverage as also other sectors. Trade is always a two-way street, and Estonia offers some progressive platforms like E-Residency, Startup Visa Programme, Digital Nomad Visa to create an interface with its dynamic ecosystem that supports free entrepreneurship and minimal bureaucracy – What are the challenges in the agro-products allowing businesses to focus on the development of market in India? their products and services. Consumers in India are more discerning with evolving To conclude – there is still a lot more I can and will preferences. Indians are scouting the world for unique do in India to promote our culture, education, tourism flavors and delicious foods. They demand healthier, and people-to-people contacts along with our food smarter, more sustainable food. and beverages. L 12 Liquid

estonia Gin it up Estonian Style 14 Liquid

gin E stonian Gin is an intriguing product to watch – it is a still young, and highly innovative industry, with an emphasis on the pure, the fresh, the rare and the handcrafted. And it is thriving. Estonia has a centuries-old tradition of distilling spirits. The country turned to gin-making relatively late, a natural and seamless segue, given the wealth of natural ingredients available, the unstoppable popularity of this delightful spirit, and the similarities in the distilling process of gin and vodka. About a hundred years ago, Estonia was famous for producing vodka for the Russian Empire in its manor house distilleries. In 1938, its 98% pure alcohol or 180 proof Eesti Piiritus (Estonian Spirit) featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as the strongest and purest alcohol. grain from which Estonian gin is produced, is a winter Estonian gin has an advantage in the purity of its ingredients. crop here, and a lot of it is organic. The processing and milling of winter rye lends it a singular flavour – the use of rye is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Estonian gin. Today, gin is rapidly becoming Estonia’s favourite liquor, with small distilleries offering new gins and gin experiences in the form of distillery tours, tastings and inhouse cocktails. Both competition and demand are high; the ‘buzz factor’ is very real – adding up to one of the most exciting and creative ‘gin spaces’ in the world. Estonian gin-makers offer an intriguing marriage Estonian gin has an advantage in the purity of its ingredients. Water is key in gin production, so the country’s clean, mineral-rich water is a plus. Rye, the Estonia, while the gin market is valued at US$12 between two contradictory global trends that we are witnessing right now. While gin sales are growing steadily worldwide, reflecting its increasing popularity, overall alcohol sales are falling, largely due to the consumer preference for healthier beverages. In million and projected to double by 2025, the average consumption of alcohol per capita has nearly halved for this period. With their emphasis on local, organic ingredients and small-batch, artisanal products, gin makers have managed to capture the imagination of, and garner popularity with, consumers on both sides of the trend. The distinct flavour of gin comes from its most essential – and universal – ingredient, juniper berries. However, Photo: Mark Zu/unsplash.com every gin also requires a blend of herbs and botanicals. It is this blend (the recipe for which is a distillery’s most closely-guarded secret) that gives each gin its distinctive flavour. Estonia has an abundance of juniper berries, but also many unique botanicals such as lilac, aronia, cowslip, Nordic ginger and elfin thyme, which gin-makers use to innovate. Liquid 15

estonia The Tohi Distillery, for example, used cloudberries, also called the Nordic Vitamin C bomb, to create their award-winning Cloudberry Mist Nordic Dry Gin. Tohi is the brainchild of three gin-loving friends, master distiller Priit Palk, Tormi Tamm and Siim Markus. Together they bought a manor house Tohisoo, 30 km from Tallinn, and founded their distillery, making gins that they call ‘heartcrafted.’ The clean lines of Tohi’s bottles and logo reflect their minimalistic, Nordic ethos. 16 Liquid Tohi’s Aronia gin is another unique offering. Aronia is a vitamin-rich Nordic super-berry, with a unique taste, which combined with gin produces a memorable, fullbodied and rich taste. Aronia berries are picked from Estonian gardens. The juice is stomped out underfoot, as in historic European wineries, and as part of the making process need to ‘rest’ for half a year. Hence, a limited quantity of Tohi Aronia gin is produced just once each year.

gin Maarit Pöör, the CEO and architect of the Lahhentage A very recent, and phenomenally successful player is Distillery, turned her passion for local herbs and Junimperium distillery, based in Telliskivi. The distillery flavours into the first artisanal gin in Estonia. Saaremaa, opened its doors only in 2019 and its gins have collected an island in Estonia and Maarit’s hometown, boasts the scores of international medals since. Junimperium are cleanest air in the world. The brand’s signature, Ösel Dry Gin, is made using hand-picked herbs from the island. In keeping with the popularity of non-alcohol drinks, they also produce a non-alcoholic gin using Saaremaa unique as the only gin brand that uses juniper wood caps on their bottles, giving a wonderful scent when the bottle is opened. Junimperium Blended Dry Gin bagged the Best juniper berries and other local herbs – Lahhentagge Estonian Dry Gin at the World Gin Awards 2021. Flâneur – which is Estonia’s first non-alcoholic spirit Its flavourful, complex taste is achieved by the distilled in Kuressaare. combination of three of the world’s best junipers with Juniperium Distillery Liquid 17

estonia fine local Estonian berries, coriander, angelica, cubeb pepper, thyme and two ‘secret’ local botanicals. Their Sloe Gin was a top-four winner in the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2022. A fresh, fruity gin made with sloe berries and giant juniper berries, this gin can be enjoyed on its own over ice, or with soda and lemon, and lends itself to endless cocktails. Liviko Distillery, Estonia’s oldest and largest alcohol producer, produces the gin brand Crafter’s, with two offerings – London Dry Gin and Aromatic Flower Gin. London Dry Gin has a slightly peppery edge, softened by floral notes. Veronica, a herb picked from the wilds of Estonia, is a key ingredient. It won a Double Gold Medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2022. Crafter’s Aromatic Flower Gin turns pink when mixed with tonic, due to rose-hip flower pigments used in the formulation. Liviko’s Re-crafted Crafter’s Junibeer was nominated for the World Beverage Innovation award in 2019. This is a zero waste-product – an additive-free fizzy drink, available in non-alcohol and low-alcohol variants, made by reusing the juniper berries after gin distillation. New distilleries, many of them small and sold only locally, continue to find an eager market, while some craft-gin brands aim for international recognition. As new styles of rye bases and innovations with exotic local botanicals emerge regularly, it is clear that an ‘Estonian style’ of gin is still evolving and there is much to look forward to. L Radhika Tandon Liviko Distillery 18 Liquid

vodka Estonian Photo: Jaanus Jagomägi/unsplash.com Vodka A Protected Geographical Indication V odka is Estonia’s pride and joy – it has been produced in the country for centuries. The traditional practices of production, coupled with an inimitable purity that comes from the use of natural sustainable local ingredients, makes the vodka unique. whose qualities, characteristics and reputation are inextricably linked to their original place of production. The word ‘Vodka’ is derived from the Slavic word voda, which means ‘little water’. Water is a crucial ingredient of vodka, used at the sweetening, fermentation and Estonian Vodka is a high-alcohol spirit (minimum distillation stages of production. Estonian Vodka is alcohol strength of 40%) made from ethyl alcohol allowed to use only local soft drinking water that complies produced by fermented wheat and rye, and potatoes, with the Water Act. The purity of Estonian water, which entirely grown in the country. It has received the is limestone and mineral rich and high on nutrients and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) certification taste, plays a crucial role in the final flavours. from the European Union. The PGI certificate protects Estonian Vodka is aromatic, smooth-tasting, colourless and promotes products from a specific geographical and sediment-free. The main ingredients give it a origin. It is given only to historical and unique products distinct flavour profile: potatoes give smoothness, Liquid 19

estonia sweetness and viscosity; rye makes it robust and spicy; and wheat gives subtlety, smoothness and fruitiness. The purity of Estonian water, which is limestone and mineral rich and high on nutrients and taste, plays a crucial role in the final flavours. Farmers in Estonia use significantly less fertilizers as compared to the European Union average. The tradition of cultivating potato, rye and wheat is many centuries old. The winter grains have higher protein content and as much of it is also organically farmed, its pure and authentic character is preserved in the vodka. The earliest written evidence of vodka production here dates back to 1485, when the Brewer’s Estonian Vodka is now only produced in small Company of the Great Guild of Tallinn issued an quantities, with an emphasis on using winter grains order prohibiting suburban producers of vodka from and potatoes, which started in the 19th Century. This selling in the town. This suggests that the production focus on keeping traditions alive and creating pure, must have already been significant enough to justify organic products has not prevented Estonian Vodka the regulation. Historical sources also show that at from winning accolades and growing in popularity the time vodka was consumed more for its medicinal internationally. Von Est and Moe are two brands that qualities, not for intoxication. exemplify these trends. The ingredients: potato, wheat and rye 20 Liquid

vodka VON EST Von Est produces handcrafted, small-batch organic spirits at the Wechmuth Manor in Võhmuta, Estonia. Its creator Gareth Niblett traded the rat-race in Hull, England, for a rural life in Estonia. He restored the heritage-protected manor estate and its distillery. The name Von Est encompasses the spirit behind this spirit. ‘Von’ is for the Baltic German Barons whose manor houses around the country were once, collectively, among the largest producers of vodka a century ago. ‘Est’ is for its Estonian origins. Everything here is made with passion and dedication, and is as authentic (unfiltered, sugar free, additive free, gluten free) and sustainable as possible – 100% organic. The heart of the spirit is derived from the double distillation of the single-grain. The well-rested spirits reflect the founding family’s love for nature, creativity, craft, and good taste. VON-EST Sangaste Rye Vodka is made from Sangaste Rye and is recognized as a Protected Geographical Indication. ‘Sangaste’ is the world’s oldest cultivated variety of Rye, first grown in 1875 for the harsh Estonian climate. VON-EST 100% Wheat Vodka is made from selected grains of wheat which have endured the Photo: Moe Distillery unforgiving winter, and was awarded Best Organic Drinks in Estonia, 2021. MOE Moe is a remote area in the far north of Estonia, whose inhabitants’ livelihood revolves around the production of PGI Estonian vodka at the Moe Distillery. The Moe Manor was first mentioned in 1500, and a fine spirit distillery was founded here in 1886 by pharmacist and master blender, Jakob Kurberg. The second-oldest operating distillery in the world, Moe Distillery crafts a 100% organic vodka using Estonian techniques developed since the 15th century. This brand is all about upholding traditions and the world-wide consumer trend towards ‘real things and real tastes’. Several styles of vodka are produced – pure and plant/ berry flavoured, including hemp, chilli and golden root. Photo: Manor Spirits Moe Rye 1886 is an unfiltered soft vodka made from organic winter rye grains grown here, and using 100% renewable energy sources. Moe Manor is in the Estonian Pandivere National Water Protection Area, and the water used in Rye 1886 is from well number 3142. This artisanal vodka was first bottled in 2011 and reflects the taste and aroma of the special elements. L Liquid 21

estonia Vana Tallinn: A Worthwhile Chase I was first introduced to Vana Tallinn over dinner in Delhi six years ago. In a shot glass with some crushed ice after a fine meal, accompanied by a short intense espresso. It was love at first taste! Velvety-smooth rum flavour, slightly tangy, not over-sweet, followed by a sucker punch of warmth swirling within. Launched by Liviko, an old Estonian distillery that is It was a perfect introduction to Estonia and all things Estonian, as I discovered later upon visiting Tallinn. The name itself, Vana Tallinn, simply means Old Tallinn – after Estonia’s intriguingly charming and little known capital. It’s a liqueur that is better experienced than written or talked about, much like the country. And one which deserves far better recognition and acclaim. Its creator, I learnt, was a resourceful woman, Ilse Given its reputation in circles Estonian, I thought it had been made forever. But it’s relatively young – only 62 years old. Much like me. amongst the largest alcohol companies in the Baltics, Vana Tallinn is an exotic concoction of Jamaican rum, Madagascar vanilla pods, orange and citrus oils and an assortment of herbs that are a closely-guarded secret. With 45% ABV or 90 proof, it isn’t for the faint-hearted. Maar, and two of her colleagues at Liviko. Bored by the drudgery of Estonia’s occupation by Soviet Russia, they hoped to create a formulation to evoke far-away and more exotic locales, providing an escape from the sickly sweet liqueurs available then. How on earth did they dream up such a liqueur, with an array of ingredients that would have been impossibly difficult to source in the USSR of that era? Few records from that period remain so the details are hazy, but its creation illustrates the Estonian spirit of ...the best things in life often require effort and pursuit. 22 Liquid innovation, ingenuity to overcome constraints, and of women being the torchbearers of change. No wonder Estonia has become an epicentre of digital enterprise

liqueur and start-ups, and that Estonians are generally multilingual and globally-oriented. The liqueur quickly became popular, not just in Estonia. So much so, that some say it became a pseudo-currency in the Soviet Union – with a bottle of Vana Tallinn becoming the means to solve many a problem. Illustrating that alcohol can be useful far beyond its mere consumption. Across the Gulf, the Finns adore Vana Tallinn so much that it was chosen as the Centenary drink for Finland’s 100th year of independence celebrations. Is it I wonder, one of the secret sauces behind Finland’s five-year record as the world’s happiest country? If feeling ebullient, or just wanting some warmth and to get into the spirit. During the various lockdowns over the last two years, I experimented, using Vana Tallinn to create a Negroni; to warm up a coffee; and with sparkling white wine to create a spritz – a refreshing change to my usual favourites. I am told one can make a nice Espresso Martini too. But some ice cubes in a Photos: Vana Tallinn bonhomie with friends, I find a shot or two is a great way short glass, sometimes with an espresso on the side, A treasured bottle in my bar over the years, friends is my staple. My lazy self prefers a simpler pour. are screened extensively before being offered a tipple. With scarce supply in Delhi lockdowns, we found ourselves often trading dishes for a bottle of it with a charming Estonian, and with it forging a forever friendship! Drinking Vana Tallinn is akin to listening to Barak Obama or Shashi Tharoor: smooth, erudite, multi-dimensional, refined and warm. Ask for Vana Tallinn in a hotel bar and one will generally be met with a blank stare – in India and beyond too. It’s certainly not a volume product. Even though supply to India began in 2019, it remains elusive. It’s a bottle one needs to chase. But then, the best things in life often require effort and pursuit. As the Hindi film title suggests, “Zindagi Na Mile Doobara”, or in English, “Life Comes but Once”. Don’t think. Just try it. L Gautam Raj is a corporate advisor and incubating a new baby – Zenia Living. An inveterate traveller, he was born in Patna, educated in England and lives in Delhi. Liquid 23

estonia T he pandemic has put ‘immunity boosting’ into the spotlight all over the world. People of all ages are embracing the new ‘wellness’ mantra. Many have gone back to age-old home remedies while some opt for industrially-made options. anti-fungal, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on humans. The origins of where Chaga is grown, found or sourced do not create any differences in terms of chemical composition. However, Estonian Chaga is reputed for We were introduced to one such lesser-known its excellent quality based on the country’s unpolluted immunity booster – ‘Chaga’ – that travelled from soil, pure forests, zero pesticide usage and clean air Estonia in Northern Europe to New Delhi earlier this quality — the best in the world, as per the WHO. year for the Aahar show, and was showcased under the ‘Taste Estonia’ umbrella. In Estonia, Chaga is grown in 1.3 million hectares of organic forests, sustainably and selectively harvested Chaga are wild mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus), a fungi to ensure quality. Official records reveal that Chaga that grows on the bark of birch trees, mainly in colder has been used as a folk medicine by generations of regions such as the northern parts of Europe, Russia, Estonians for 5000 years, as an alternative remedy for Canada and Alaska. It is also known by other names, arthritis and high blood pressure. It may lower blood such as black mass, clinker polypore, birch canker sugar and even slow the progression of cancer cells. polypore, cinder conk or sterile conk trunk rot. Studies An early morning shot certainly keeps one healthy and have established that Chaga has a strong anti-bacterial, on the go. CHAGA An Estonian Elixir 24 Liquid

wellness example of Estonia’s ‘clean’ ethos in action, bringing pure nature and science together for human welfare. The original formula contained alcohol, which made export complex. Hence, the company expanded the product portfolio to include non-alcoholic versions, a vegan option without honey and mocktails as a healthy summer drink. These are shots, available in several pack sizes and in blended flavours – Rose Hip, Black Currant and Sea Buckthorn – to reduce bitterness and suit all needs and tastes. They also offer Chaga in powder and chunk form. All the ingredients used in the Elixir are well-known in Nordic folklore. Chaga Health Elixirs are exported around the world, with a third each shipped to Asia, Europe and the US. Another producer is Natural Chaga OÜ who offer a wide range of sustainably harvested, lab tested, certified organic, additive-free, 100% European chaga products, with HACCP approved processing in Estonia. The products are available in several pack sizes and Of course, Chaga is essentially a herbal supplement, albeit one supported by a long history of anecdotal and scientific evidence of its efficacy. It is not intended as a substitute for a balanced diet and the recommended dosage may need to be adjusted if taking other supplements. Vulnerable and at-risk individuals, such as children under twelve, would need to consult a formulations – powder, chunks, capsules, instant extracts, elixirs (Classic Chaga, Chaga with Birch Sap, Chaga with Beetroot and non-alcoholic Chogi) and dual extract tincture low-alcohol concentrates (Organic Chaga, Organic Chaga with Lion’s Mane and Organic Chaga with Reiss). A limited edition Organic Chaga Elixir was recently released in support of Ukraine. L physician before use. Chaga has been used as a folk medicine by generations of Estonians for 5000 years. Raw Chaga is processed into dried extract powder or chunks which are usually water soluble and can be consumed in several ways – mixed in food, as a drink or in shots. In case you are wondering what it tastes like, Chaga has a slight bitter flavour like all medication, and is often mixed with honey and juices. Amongst the producers, Chaga Ltd. is the largest in Estonia. They are known for their health products, in particular Chaga Health Immuno Elixir, a prime Liquid 25

estonia Yanu The Bar Bot A n Estonian start-up has developed a fully autonomous and interactive robotic bartender. arm. Payments are accepted through mobiles, credit Based on Artificial Intelligence, Yanu might well be the robs from the whole human, ‘bartender’ experience, innovation that puts yet another job on the endangered think again. Yanu will recommend cocktails, dispense list this millennium – that of the bartender. tips for excursions and even crack a few jokes with you! Both bar and bartender in one, Yanu can hold 45 Compact and moveable, each unit is available in three one-litre bottles when fully stocked – the makings for colours – black, red and white. Only a water line and 1000-1500 cocktails. Faster and more cost-efficient internet connection are needed for it to work, with than human staffing, it can make and deliver up to 100 drinks per hour. The unit works independently, takes cards and even cryptocurrency. And if you think that cloud-based monitoring and administration. It can be collapsed for transportation in a shipping container. orders via an interactive screen (or a mobile app), In 2016, Alan Adojaan with fifteen years’ experience in prepares the drink, and then delivers it via a robotic operating bars, restaurants and night-clubs founded 26 Liquid

tech Yanu as a solution for the industry, not a threat. “Today, there simply aren’t enough bartenders left, two years of lockdowns made them look for other jobs, and after the pandemic, few still want to do it. Yanu is here to help with its contactless and problem-free solution. Suddenly, there is a real need for it.” sales in regular bars and nightclubs. While there are a handful of other robot bartending units globally, Adoojan shrugs off the competition. Yanu, he says, is the only mobile unit, aside from being faster than most, compact, and autonomous. Yanu’s communicative ability is better developed, making it more of a person than a vending machine. Faster and more cost-efficient than human staffing, Yanu can make and deliver up to 100 drinks per hour. The first Yanu prototype was revealed in Estonia within two years of the company’s inception. Today, their fourth prototype has evolved considerably in speed, capability and functionality. “Development is Yanu is ideal in spaces like airports, stadiums and theatres with high turnovers and limited floor space, expensive, but a priority, and our goal is to build the best solution in the world,” says Adoojan. or where 24-hour service is required. Apart from The pandemic has brought about a steep rise in providing consistent and reliable service, customers the demand for contactless service. In a post-covid love it. Yanu brings people over to get that one drink world, who would turn down a no-contact drink? But from a robot, take videos and experience the human- all practicalities aside, we predict Yanu’s ‘cool’ factor machine interaction. Adoojan is confident of future alone should guarantee success. L Liquid 27

estonia 28 Liquid Tantalising Tallinn

travel E stonia’s capital city, Tallinn, is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. It has somehow stayed under the ‘tourism radar’ compared to other Schengen visa nations, perhaps because few realize how easy it is to access. Tallinn is connected to many European cities by direct flights, as well as buses and even ferries – the 2-hour ferry ride from Helsinki is popular. May through to the end of August is the best time to visit Estonia for its beaches, lakes and islands. Go in winter for fairytale forests covered in snow, and winter sports like skiing. And through the year for a city tour. While picturesque in the quintessentially Old-World sense, Tallinn has all the trappings of modern Europe – shopping, restaurants, entertainment and nightlife. There are many layers to this under-explored city. From the Danes who established the city in the 14th century to the Swedish Empire; from Tsarist to Soviet Russia, to its current status as a thoroughly modern capital city (and seat of the first e-government in the world), Tallinn’s colourful history informs everything from its architecture to its food. Most Estonians speak English, making it an easy city to negotiate as a visitor. Tallinn’s Old Town has to be its main attraction. The best-preserved medieval town in Northern Europe (and a UNESCO world heritage site), it was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. With cobbled streets, soaring spires and a scatter of low, red-tile roofed buildings, it looks like something out of a fairy-tale. Divided into the Lower and Upper Towns, it is compact enough to be explored on foot. You can easily spend a few days wandering the medieval alleys, stopping at cafes and boutiques, and soaking in the atmosphere. With over 50% forest coverage and some 2000 islands, Estonia is a dream destination for nature lovers. Orient yourself at the Town Hall Square. Walk through the Gothic Town Hall (the oldest in Europe) and visit Raeapteek Pharmacy with its mini museum, established 600 years ago. As you meander up the hill towards Toompea Castle, you will come upon churches and viewing platforms. Stop at the Patkuli viewing platform for the best views of Viru Gate and its Rapunzel-worthy towers. Immerse yourself in the town’s feudal past at the Kiek in de Kök Fortifications Museum, with its underground passages and defence towers. Do make time for Kalamaja. Just north-west of the Old Town, this area is known for innovative museums, including the impressive Seaplane Harbour museum. Liquid 29

estonia Its multi-coloured wooden houses, bohemian cafés and fashionable shops give it a hip village vibe. Also, a stone’s throw from the Old Town, you’ll find the city’s glitzy modern business district with a cluster of skyscrapers, luxurious hotels, trendy neighbourhoods and shopping malls. Tallinn is a foodie’s delight, with international and fusion gourmet cuisine. Tallinn is an exciting shopping destination, with a mix of local designers and international high street brands. Regular street and weekend markets, craft workshops, boutiques and even supermarkets, offer unique Estonian products that you will not find elsewhere. Knitting, crocheting and embroidery traditions in Estonia go back centuries; look especially for natural wool, cotton and linen products, and juniper-wood handicrafts and kitchen items. There is a range of accommodation available here. For unique stays, try the Iglupark in Noblessner with its pod-like Igluhuts, where you can enjoy a session at the Iglusauna. You could stay at the Viru, a historical 30 Liquid

travel hotel in Tallinn from the Soviet era where you can view families, with activities and spaces for children. If you getaway, while tiny rural islands are just a short boat ride away. Estonia is easy to get around with welldeveloped road, rail and bus connections – you can drive the length or breadth of the country in under 5 hours. With over 50% forest coverage and some 2000 islands, it is a dream destination for nature lovers. L prefer the comfort of the familiar, there is a pick of Radhika Tandon Soviet memorabilia in their KGB museum. Or, stay in one of several luxurious manor houses or spa hotels dotted around the city environs. These are a perennial favourite with Estonians, and many of them cater to international chain hotels at varying price points. Tallinn is a foodie’s delight, with international and fusion gourmet cuisine. New restaurants tend to pop up regularly in the city and beyond, in local towns, seaside villages and even in the middle of the forest. The newly launched Michelin Guide awarded Tallinn its first One Michelin Star restaurants. There are both modern and traditional bars and pubs. Many bars and cafes hold regular musical gigs, and nightclubs host the best DJs. For golfers, the Estonian Golf and Country Club, no more than a half-hour drive away offers a historic 9-hole Stone Course that wends its way through stone formations and boulders dating back to the ice age! Niitvälja Golf, the Baltic’s first golf range, and Golf X Rae, located in a scenic, hilly spot, are some more options close to Tallinn. Tallinn is a great base to explore the outdoors. Nearby national parks and sandy beaches provide a quick Liquid 31

estonia Michelin Stars T of Tallinn he French-founded Michelin Guide is the world’s most prestigious culinary guide. It has rated close to 30,000 establishments in 37 countries on three continents. The anonymity of their inspectors is fiercely protected by the Guide, and a Michelin rating is considered a destiny-altering achievement in the world of haute cuisine. The one, two, and three stars have become its most coveted awards. ‘Michelin Plate’ is awarded to a restaurant for capably prepared dishes that are made from fresh ingredients. Estonia has become the first Baltic country to be included in the Michelin Guide in May 2022. Noa Chef’s Hall and 180 Degrees in Tallinn each received the One Michelin Star. Five Bib Gourmand awards and twentyfour Michelin Plate were also awarded to Estonian restaurants – a total of 31 restaurants in Estonia have The ratings are based on five criteria: quality of been included in the Michelin Guide. products, mastery of flavour and cooking techniques, The Stars: the personality of the chef represented in the dining NOA CHEF’S HALL www.nch.ee experience, harmony of flavours, and consistency Noa Chef’s Hall is part of awarded chef restaurateur between inspectors’ visits. One star stands for ‘high Tõnis Siigur’s Noa restaurant along the Pirita seaside quality cooking, worth a stop’, two stars for ‘excellent in Tallinn, known for its own aquarium. Not surprisingly, cooking, worth a detour’, and three stars for ‘exceptional this modern European restaurant is seafood-centric. cuisine, worth a special journey’. The Guide’s ‘Bib The show kitchen takes centre stage and magnificent Gourmand’ is awarded to restaurants offering good views of the city’s skyline, Tallinn Bay and the Gulf quality and good value. And the recently launched of Finland enhance the experience. The view of the 32 Liquid

restaurant few miles outside Tallinn’s city centre. This fine-dining restaurant offers a melange of international influences prepared with the best produce from Estonia and the world. A U-shaped open kitchen in the heart of the dining room is its centrepiece, and the restaurant is named for the 180° views enjoyed from the tables set around this. Discover the Chef’s Table experience that gets you up-close-and-personal with the kitchen as you witness innovative techniques creating masterpieces before your eyes. Chef Diether aims to raise the bar for haute cuisine in Estonia by creating an unforgettable ‘old days’ fine-dine multi-sensory escapade – bold and rich. sunset from the lounge, enjoyed with an aperitif of local Estonian spirits, is stunning. Chef Siigur’s seven-course menu is extraordinary from start to finish. An experience that is worth every second! The gastronomic adventure through complex, flavourful and authentic dishes, each presented by a chef, paired by Sommelier Põld, and served with care, appeal to the eye and the palate. Michelin Guide’s Point of View: Sit at the U-shaped open kitchen for a ringside seat. Ambitious, showy dishes are chef Matthias Diether’s hallmark. The fourcourse ‘Flavours of 180 Degrees’ or the six-course ‘Matthias’ Inspiration’ menus show an array of flavour and texture contrasts and great attention to detail. L Michelin Guide’s Point of View: The on-view kitchen is the heart of the restaurant. Luxury ingredients are sourced from around the world, but locally foraged and preserved produce also plays its part. The creative menu of very original dishes is packed with complementary flavours and layers of texture. 180° www.180degrees.ee Set up by Berlin-born Chef Matthias Diether in the historical shipyard area of Noblessner, 180° is just a Liquid 33

estonia The Ambassador of Estonia to India, H.E. Katrin Kivi, shares her impressions of culinary highlights from restaurants in Tallinn that she visited recently. TULJAK www.tuljak.ee Tuljak has a tastefully decorated lounge with a terrace overlooking Tallinn Bay — there is no better place in the capital city to watch the sunset! It provides excellent service with very competent, helpful, attentive and witty waiters, who really went the extra mile for me. The tiger prawns served with kataifi and lemongrass aioli are among preferred starters together with the outstanding Tartare Tuljak. The Lamb Dumplings were easily the best I’ve ever had – served on a creamy wine butter sauce and accompanied by smoked sour cream, surrounded by a teaspoon of extra virgin chili oil in a separate small bowl. The flavours were delicately balanced with a mixture of fresh chives and other herbs on top of it. The restaurant’s home-made Limoncello is also an absolute must! I would definitely visit again together with friends! 34 Liquid Michelin Guide’s Point of View: Set in an elevated spot, with distant views of the Gulf of Finland, this airy restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows is a wonderful example of modernist architecture. Dishes have a Baltic heart, with a few Asian and Mediterranean touches; expect plenty of originality and some intriguing flavours. MANTEL JA KORSTEN www.mantel-korsten.ee “Have visited the restaurant several times with family and friends, including my international guests and was never disappointed.” This sounds exactly like an Estonian compliment – “not bad” – which actually means that something is “excellent”! This is why I keep going back again to this tiny cosy place in Tallinn, close to the Park Kadriorg. On my latest visit, I got a very innovative Tartare experience with crunchy sea cabbage, anchovy and fleur de sel, topped with an interesting addition of the famous Italian cured pork cheek – Guanciale. The King Prawn Ravioli were soft and creamy with a tickling touch of sourness created by the mixture of basil, fennel and saffron on top of all that smoothness to keep you wanting to take the next bite (and yet another bite, yet another bite…).

restaurant The Chocolate Cake with Morello cherries and green pistachio ice cream is made with the finest and unbeatable Valrhona – a treat for the chocolate dessert lovers. Michelin Guide’s Point of View: This picture-postcard clapboard house’s name means ‘mantel and chimney’. A green-tiled fireplace and mantel take centre stage in a room furnished with bright, bold designs. Mediterranean-inspired dishes are accompanied by well-chosen wines with an organic and biodynamic bias. HÄRG www.resto.harg.ee Situated at the heart of Tallinn’s business district, Härg is undoubtedly your Number 1 spot for a romantic date night or a family dinner. The staff is both forthcoming and kind, serving visitors in many languages, including flawless English. The menu is rich and diverse and has something special for everyone. We were stunned by the marinated Seabass Ceviche, ideally accompanied with a glass of perfectly chilled Pinot Grigio to bring out all its flavours. As a main course, make sure to try the Grilled Octopus, which was hands down the best I’ve ever had! Its soft, mushy core and hard outer layer gave it the perfect consistency. The dish is served with sweet oven-baked cherry tomatoes and sweet potatoes, hand-picked leaves, lime-mayo and a savoury avocado cream that melts on the tongue, offering a delicate mixture of tastes. Michelin Guide’s Point of View: This busy, buzzy, all-day brasserie comes with stone walls, exposed ducting and striking copper chandeliers. Well-priced modern dishes come with a focus on the chargrill, with steaks taking centre stage; the ‘Dirty Steak’ – a ribeye – is cooked directly on the charcoal. The courtyard is a popular spot. CAFÉ KOMEET www.kohvikkomeet.ee Last but not least. A special add on – and definitely a good value for money suggestion. A cosy luminous restaurant at the heart of Tallinn, with an unspoilt view of the national Estonia Opera House and the UNESCOlabelled Old Town with its many medieval towers. Café Komeet offers delicacies prepared only with local ingredients grown in Estonia, including organic meat, eggs and milk products. Its legendary patty of organic lamb comes with honeyglazed carrots and beetroots and a roasted garlic and red wine sauce. The local pike-perch fillet served with celeriac, sugar snap peas and lemon-mustard vinaigrette is another temptation people succumb to numerous times and yet, keep coming back for more. Don’t leave here without sampling one of their virgin cocktails or trying their excellent cakes with fresh seasonal berries that you will fall in love with! L As a side order, I can but recommend you try the seasonal vegetable wok and the charcoal grilled potato with its refreshing creamy sauce. The sizzling side orders are served in ardent rustic stone pots reminiscent of the traditional rural Estonian style, mixing archaic tradition with modern savoir-faire. Liquid 35

tea Tea Diplomacy Around the world with tea and friends 36 Liquid

tea W hen my husband was posted to New Delhi, I started a tea club with twenty fellow-spouses of Ambassadors. By the time we disbanded due to the pandemic in March 2020, we had 65 members representing over 40 countries, and had witnessed 26 presentations of teas and coffees from around the world. Even as the T-Club, as it was called, taught us about traditions, customs and elaborate ceremonies linked to tea, it did what tea does best – it brought us oblation, using a flat, carved, wooden spoon to sprinkle tea upwards in a sacrificial offering to the Sun, Sky, deities and nature spirits. In Russia there is a saying: Take a cup of tea and you’ll forget your grief. In the past, tea was so expensive that a box of tea equalled the price of 444 books. It was customary here to drink tea from a saucer, sipped through a sugar cube held between the lips. together in friendship and understanding. Traditionally, a strong tea concentrate (zavarka) is Black, white, green, yellow, red, pink …, fresh, earthy, samovar when serving. woodsy, fruity, flowery, malty, brisk, grassy, nutty – there prepared in a teapot and hot water added from a are so many types of tea! After water, it is the second- In Vietnam, the traditional method of preparing tea was most consumed drink in the world. Its rich and well- to stuff dried green tea into each just-blooming pink documented history dates back to 2737 B.C. It began lotus flower down at the lotus pond. The flowers would as a medicinal beverage, and today is a way of life in then be picked at dawn, and the tea, now scented many countries. There is even an International Tea Day by the lotus flowers, extracted. Nowadays, a popular on 21st May, in time for the first flush of Darjeeling tea. though still complex method is to mix tea with lotus At a session on Chinese teas, we tried the rare and precious Pu’er or pu-erh tea, produced in the Yunnan anthers. To make a kilogram of lotus tea, a thousand lotus flowers are needed. province. This tea gets better and more valuable with Another wedding-related tea tradition comes from age. In ancient times, parents bought Pu’er tea at the South Korea. Before their wedding, young girls were birth of a daughter and kept it until her wedding day, required to take part in a tea-ceremony class, where when the tea would be sold for her dowry, its value then they learned how to behave themselves, how to bow, being equal to gold. and how to perform the ceremony. Originally, green tea A group of visiting Japanese tea masters were once our guests at the T-club. Did you know that in Japan it takes years to learn how to conduct a proper tea ceremony? Even the way you hold a ladle, matters. We tried our hand at whisking up the unique and healthy matcha tea. Till a few decades ago, a Japanese girl had better marriage prospects after attending a few years of tea school. We learned that simply from the tea served at a business meeting, you can tell if a company is well off or in financial trouble. In Mongolia, it is an unwritten rule to offer tea to any guest, even uninvited ones, to show the household’s hospitality and openness. Besides black tea (with milk and salt), there are teas in Mongolia prepared with fat (butter or lard), dried horse meat, dumplings, barley flour or millet. The spout of a tea kettle should never face the south or the door, because it indicates loss. Traditionally, before drinking tea there would be a tea South Korean Tea Ceremony Liquid 37

tea was used at the ceremony. Nowadays, in traditional girl and her family agree to the match, the future bride Korean tea houses, ginseng and date tea are more serves the tea with sugar. This means that preparations common. for the wedding can begin. But if she serves the tea Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea is mainly black tea. The tea region is not big, but due to a large variation in elevation, soil and climate, the teas from different districts such as Uva, Nuwara Eliya or Dimbulla, taste very different. In general, Ceylon teas have a full and bold taste. Ceylon cinnamon tea is a big favourite, perhaps due to the without sugar, it spells a brush-off. Azerbaijanis favour a strong black tea, scented with an infusion of herbs and flowers. It is drunk with lemon and white or black cherry jam. Azerbaijani men love to go to tea-houses. They discuss politics and social issues and exchange gossip and manly advice over glasses of tea. excellent cinnamon grown there. Tea in pink? Yes, it does exist. Noon chai or sheer chai Steeped in ritual and ceremony, the Moroccan way (from the Persian, meaning ‘milk tea’) is a traditional of drinking tea is all about slowing down. Moroccan mint tea is green tea flavoured with lots of fresh mint and heavily sweetened. It is always served to guests, at homes or in shops. In the south, mint tea is served thrice, first strong and bitter, then medium-strong, lastly weak and very sweet. Mint tea is drunk to calm down, chill out, look at the world, debate and connect. Tea can be masculine, accompanied by loads of sugar and a beautiful demonstration by men to show their skill at making it. Or it can be feminine, with less sugar; part of the ritual of the Moroccan hammam. In Azerbaijan, tea is always served when a boy’s family visits a girl’s home to ask her hand in marriage. If the 38 Liquid Noon chai

Kashmiri Kahwa Photo: Poonam Bachhav tea beverage in Kashmir, a winter drink made with salt, milk and baking soda. The addition of air with baking soda gives the tea its unique colour. Another famous Kashmiri tea is, of course, Kahwa. The secret to Kahwa is the exotic spice mix. Dry roast cinnamon bark, cloves, black cardamom and a tiny little black pepper (or optionally Kashmiri roses) give it a wonderful fragrance. Though technically not a tea, in spirit, Yerba Mate or ‘the drink of friendship’, is the tea of Argentina, Uruguay Yerba Mate and Paraguay. It is made from Ilex paraguariensis, a special plant with high levels of caffeine. The people of Uruguay drink the most yerba mate in the world; a typical Uruguayan always has a thermos of yerba mate in hand, even when walking or cycling. When serving yerba in a group of friends or family, the host will pour hot water, refilling the same yerba mate about ten times, the drink is passed around and everyone shares a bombilla (a kind of straw). If you want more, don’t say thank you, because that means you are done. Though prepared in lots of different ways, using various rituals or ceremonies, all tea basically comes from different varieties of the same plant, Camellia sinensis – a small evergreen shrub whose leaves are used to produce it. Just like the human race! For me, tea will always stand for friendship, goodwill, acceptance, and inclusion. L Vietnamese lotus tea Annamari Somogyi, a diplomat, is the wife of the former Hungarian Ambassador to India. She started the T-Club in India in 2017. Liquid 39

coffee Romancing Filter Coffee T here is something about the quintessential south Indian filter coffee that makes me wax eloquent so here is an observation for my readers… Filter coffee is a focused flow and not a force! My morning cuppa of Kaappi (as it is pronounced in the south of India) is like black gold caffeinating my literary soul. This is not an exaggeration – I am truly droplets fall into the mesh of an electric filter coffee machine or the tiny holes of the classic two-pieced steel container, ensuring that they completely surround the coffee before dripping down. This, in turn, gathers all notes of the coffee powder, rather than just the top notes mustered by other forms of pressurized coffeebrewing. a fanatic fan. So, what makes this humble coffee so Another interesting observation is the way filter coffee superior to all the cappuccinos, lattes, flat whites, etc. decoction foams almost of its own accord. Compared of the sophisticated world? to instant coffee powder that needs to be whipped As a novice, I would describe filter coffee as having a well-rounded, subtle taste and aroma that pleasantly rolls around your tongue and appeals to all your into a foam, filter coffee foams as soon as the milk joins it and needs only a little mixing ritual. This ritual is part of the charm – you raise the steel tumbler to senses, then hits you hard and strong. It is a slow, a height and pour it down the dubbra (a small steel engaging, and long-lasting affair. The main reason container) creating a light brown, frothy layer hiding its taste is so, well, coffee-like, and not a bitter thrust the golden concoction. Yummm, I am yearning for down your throat, is the way it is brewed. Steamed another cup. 40 Liquid

coffee A large part of the flavour of filter coffee comes from the nose and not the tongue, making the blend of beans and the way it is roasted and ground most important. In traditional Tamilian families like mine, the lady of the house – my grandmother – would be the one in charge. The green beans chosen from the trusted local vendor would be roasted on her ordinary kadai, with no additives like oil – just the beans and the heat. She would know intuitively when it hit the right note. Close scrutiny was maintained on the color – moving from green to light brown to a dark brown – the last hues rendered by the resting heat of the kadai off the charcoal fire. My mother yearns for her childhood filter coffee which has been etched in memory for this home roasting method. The beans roasted, grinding is a function of the type of filter used and the size of its holes. If using the traditional steel drip, then one may need a slightly coarse grind, but for an electric machine with a mesh, the grind has to be a fine one. Slightly impatient fans, like me, prefer electric, though the decoction is more in small quantities throughout the day like a tiny nudge to the senses. Of course, the morning cup may be a different matter, but the beauty of filter coffee is that it is light enough to be consumed across different parts of the day. Each quarter-filled steel tumbler is an occasion, and reason enough for a break. South Indian filter coffee is usually portrayed as a hot steaming beverage, but I guarantee that it yields one of the tastiest cold coffees I have ever had. The innate froth of the decoction makes the mixer-grinder redundant. Just by mimicking the top-to-bottom mixing action of hot coffee, you will have the pleasure of a thick, frothy cold coffee. Some notes before I dash off for my cuppa – chicory. Some prefer to add chicory to their coffee powder simply because this woody plant-based ingredient gives a bitter note and body to the decoction. Personally, I would recommend an optimal mix of Robusta and Arabica beans to do the same trick. Photo: Dinesh Valke consistent through the steel filter. Either way, the liquid gold at the bottom of the container glistens with potential as you drink your way through several small servings through the day. That brings me to the other ritual of filter coffee – you should not consume it like a meal as served in the large-sized café style cups. It needs to be consumed Baba Budan Giri And, the homeland of Indian Coffee is Chikmagalur. Coffee is said to have been introduced here in 1670 by a Mohammedan Saint at Chandradrona Parvatha by sowing seven seeds – this hillock is now called ‘Baba Budan Giri’. A blend of the right roasted beans emanating from the rain-kissed high-altitude plantations of this area yields the freshest, most authentic coffee. Now I really have to go folks, I can’t let my Kaappi get cold! Photo: Triv Rao L Nandita Kaushik is a creative writer, content writer, blogger and poet who fell in love with words at age 9. Liquid 41

trends The Age of Zero M y early thirties were filled with spirited fervor, as is with many in their formative ‘alcohol fueled’ were (and still are) pushing the boundaries that had years. Then there were those sporadic moments when glorified Shirley Temples, and consumers – sober or you’d abstain due to various reasons – health, religious not – got curious. “I began to codify a just-emerging interventions, saturation… dry January anyone? In my drinks landscape.” sober period, I would carry French sparkling water to house parties and steal lime wheels to pop in my pretend gin and tonic. This resonates with Julia Bainbridge, a New Yorker previously limited ‘mocktails’ to syrup-laden juices or American bar owners, bartenders and beverage writers are all vehemently pitching the message of low or zero alcohol drinks. whose bestselling book Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Amanda Fewster moved to Etta in Los Angeles five Recipes for When You’re Not Drinking for Whatever years ago, when she first heard of this trend. She has Reason is a resounding success. It followed close recently introduced invigorating lower alcohol options on the heels of a New York movement in 2015-2018 on her A.M. menus. Her favorite is Bergamot Buzz when a large portion of the beverage menu real estate (Italicus Bergamot liqueur, fresh squeezed grapefruit was devoted to alcohol-free cocktails. Bartenders juice, pellegrino & burnt rosemary garnish) which 44 Liquid

trends Photo: Aperol clocks in at 20% ABV – half of a regular vodka/gin cocktail. The half spritzes – ginger & turmeric tea style with bubbles give the drinker the experience of a cocktail. A guest in her 7th month of pregnancy had three of these spritzes and was thrilled to enjoy a beautiful ‘cocktail’ in her hand. “I love the joy people get out of such little details in life,” concludes Amanda. California is seeing a jump in low or zero alcohol beverage options on the shelf. also does an 1860s classic ‘Americano’ – similar to a Negroni but uses seltzer water instead of gin. In fact, all his specialty cocktails can be made to accommodate low alcohol by dialing down the amount of spirit used. A quintessential bar menu in India would include both half and full pours – maybe inadvertently this was a way to cut down on alcohol? Is America legitimately circling on that train of thought? Photo: Etta Globally, we have come a long way when it comes to options for non-drinkers, minors and temporary Jon Rugg introduced Sawtelle Sake in smartly a can became a real alternative to beer”, says Jon. He also believes that the consumer base is becoming much more informed about what they’re drinking with regards to ingredient transparency. Similarly, Brian ‘Vito’ Morales of Saso Bistro in Pasadena, offers many spritzes naturally low on alcohol, Aperol Spritz being the most popular. He Photo: Katrina Frederick Studio designed cans. “The idea of a low alcohol cocktail in Liquid 45

trends abstainers alike. Zero and low alcohol beverages have found a niche for people who love alcohol but also fill a need for those who do not. It seems that in India, bars began to focus on creating low alcohol options only recently, as the pandemic hit the world. Bar Max, who creates incredibly innovative cocktails on his instagram disagrees: “Low alcohol cocktails are not new – think Sangrias, Mimosas, Shandies and Spritzers.” Bars in India are playing it safe though. “It’s still a nascent industry” says Varun Sudhakar, of Bar Some established brands are kicking up a non-alcoholic storm Bundle, who thinks that this category first needs to create awareness within the bar community to see the shift trickle down to consumers. While gin rules the roost in bars, the allure of wines fuels a Sangria culture – the menus based on wines work well. They may not be pegged as ‘low alcohol cocktails’, but one can see the category slowly take form on bar menus. Pankil Shah of Woodside Inn also believes the introduction of low or zero alcohol cocktails is trending. “The health-conscious look to consume lower calories in alcohol without compromising on the complex flavours in a cocktail”. Brunch is an excellent opportunity to introduce such cocktails. Frozen Campari Lemonade (ABV 20%) was a hotseller at his friendly neighbourhood bars as a part of their #DayTripping campaign, which focused on daycentric food and beverage creations. Photo: Foxtrot Beverages Pvt Ltd Some established brands are kicking up a non-alcoholic storm. Svami has created a zero-alcohol gin and tonic. Co-founder Aneesh Bhasin was initially not convinced about this segment. “Our zero alcohol cocktails were popping up in baby shower hampers and we realized we have a whole untapped segment to cater to.” This segment today forms 15% of their portfolio. 46 Liquid It’s becoming evident amongst the fraternity, in India as well as the West, that using various wines, spirits and non-alcoholic spirits to create a magical experience for discerning consumers is the way of the future. The Age of Zero is likely upon us. L Mumbai-born Nikhil Merchant is a foodie, restaurateur & writer (Nonchalant Gourmand) who lives in Los Angeles.

innovation Morning Fresh Mitali Tandon, a Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur, founded Morning Fresh in 2015 when there were no other ‘hangover detox’ drink players in the market. for its formulation and process, it is a very successful ade with 100% natural ingredients including vitamins, mulberry extract & silk protein, Morning fitness enthusiasts, young professionals) was looking Fresh is meant to be your LAST drink of the night. Free stay productive and healthy after a night-out. “The M of gluten, dairy, caffeine and sugar, it offers a healthy solution to replenish a body after a night of revelry by flushing out toxins from the body, protecting the liver and reducing hangovers. Morning Fresh is available in category-creating product. A Bangalore girl, Mitali was quick to see a gap in her home market. The TG (aged 25-45, well-travelled, for a natural and effective solution that helped them idea is that our customers want to be able to have a good time, without compromising their health and responsibilities the next day,” she explains. Morning Fresh was conceptualised on the basis of research by her family’s company Healthline (pioneers in sericulture), many flavours like cola, lime, strawberry and orange which showed that silk protein had inherent properties and in easy-to-carry bottles and sachets. Patented to boost liver function and health. 48 Liquid

innovation The product was test-launched in Bangalore across a handful of liquor shops, specialty grocery stores and online marketplaces and sold out very quickly. Customers started to come in for repeat purchases and a loyalty base was created. A lot of content-led, consumer-first marketing on social media allowed the team to actively engage with the community of users – their insights and feedback are taken on board. Sampling, sampling, sampling is the marketing mantra – give the potential loyalists a first-hand taste of the product in this new category. Word of mouth has been the preferred route to advertising. Mitali believes that a fellow-friend as Brand Ambassador is more powerful than a Facebook ad. Mitali shares that it wasn’t easy at the beginning. “We had an unknown product. A lot of liquor-store owners were hesitant to stock our products, until people started walking in and asking for it. Our biggest high is when a random person at a bar recommends Morning Fresh, because it worked really well for him.” NCR & Mumbai. The pandemic boosted online sales Morning Fresh is now in 500+ retail stores in Goa, Bangalore and Hyderabad – soon launching in Delhi- adapted to the city’s culture and vibe. Collaborations pan-India through major marketplaces (Amazon, Big Basket and Flipkart) and last-mile delivery apps (Swiggy, Dunzo, Blinkit, etc.). Scaling up is customized and with event organizers, wedding planners and spirit partners for on-ground integrations help execute campaigns. There is a range of special merchandise such as wedding survival kits, bachelorette kits, custom hip flasks, quirky coasters and witty shot glasses for customers to choose from. Mitali is expanding Morning Fresh to include a line of functional beverages to further establish the brand as a leading player in the wellness market. On-going research on new concepts will lead to new product launches. These are guided by their already successful formula: 100% natural ingredients, easy-to-drink and effective products that keep you fresh, productive and healthy. Mitali says, “Hangovers have been around forever. Bad hangovers don’t discriminate, and they get worse with age. As you get older, besides the responsibilities of the morning after, your metabolism gets slower. We want everyone to say ‘I’m really lucky, I have a solution to hangovers.’ We are proud of our product efficacy and are confident that everyone who tries it always comes back.” L Liquid 49

report A Sector Poised for Growth According to the study, this sector contributes significantly to the Indian economy in terms of value addition and job creation. The sector is projected to grow to Rs 1,500 billion in 2030 (up from Rs 670 billion in 2019) at a CAGR of over 8% (down from 13% in the previous decade) in realistic conditions. The total job creation in this sector is estimated to be 700,000, from both upstream and downstream operations. Even if this is tiny compared to the global nonalcoholic beverage industry (estimated at Rs. 95,000 billion in 2019) and exports stood at Rs. 240 million in 2020, India has the potential to become a global nonalcoholic beverage hub. This optimism is drawn from the abundant endowments of raw materials, the priority afforded to the food processing sector, current low per capita consumption (21.36 litres in 2018), an under-tapped market of the middle class and young, long summers, increased spending by Indians on packaged products, the post-pandemic trend towards ‘conscious T consumption’ – a preference for healthier, low sugar, drinks, health and nutrition drinks, energy drinks, organic The study identifies the key challenge to be an drinks. In India, packaged water and carbonated soft exorbitant goods tax which fuels unfair competition drinks account for the bulk of this sector. Nearly 80 per from the informal sector and counterfeit products. cent of the sector remains non-corporate or informal. The burden of compensation cess and the additional he non-alcoholic beverages sector covers a large range of products – fruit and vegetable juices, tea, coffee, water, milk, dairy-based drinks, carbonated The Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), an economic policy think-tank, was commissioned by the Indian Beverage non-carbonated beverages – and a ‘global pivot’ towards health, wellness and mindfulness. sin tax on aerated beverages deals a blow to the consumer. The study reports a decline in the actual tax revenue collected from this sector. Association (IBA) to study the ‘Contribution of Non- Lower income groups bear the brunt of the tax burden. Alcoholic Beverage Sector to Indian Economic Growth India may be one of the largest markets for mineral and Atmanirbhar Bharat’. and packaged water, but this drinking water is taxed 50 Liquid

report as a luxury. Whereas in some Asian countries, it is a IBA Secretary General J. P. Meena said, “This study necessity in line with sustainable development goals. provides a policy roadmap for the Government to focus ICRIER recommended a rationalisation of the tax regimes with moderate and simple taxes to replace the many tax regimes. This was acknowledged by S. Pandey, Secretary (Food and Public Distribution) on key levers to connect the Indian food producers to the global supply chains. India has the potential to be the world leader in beverages processing through enabling policies and fiscal incentives.” at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs who said, “This is a winner. By foregoing some tax revenue, the government will not be a loser.” Government subsidies and incentives for Mega Food Parks have helped spark off infrastructure development which is still a work in progress. The supply chain is very fragmented and the logistics costs are still high. These issues are closely interlinked and can only be solved in tandem. A more holistic view by the government on regulatory This sector contributes significantly to the Indian economy in terms of value addition and job creation. The measures being taken in this sector are expected to reduce food wastage from its current levels – a staggering 30% – and this value addition is expected to hugely benefit the farmers. policies in this sector would reduce supply chain This study is expected to be a roadmap for the wastages, potentially increase farmers’ income, government and industry to work hand in hand to enhance investment in research and development realise the true potential of the sector. Growth in this and innovation, intensify the ‘Brand India’ labelling and sector can make all its stakeholders, from farmers to allow the organized segment to grow by declaring war small and medium producers, supply chain agents on counterfeits – a win-win for all stakeholders. and consumers, a part of the vision for India @ 2047. L Liquid 51

news A London Comeback Metala Vineyards – had travelled for their first post pandemic show and were in ‘Wines Unearthed’ – unsigned talent from the world of wine – featuring export-ready producers looking for UK importers. The best home-grown drinks were in the Drinks Britannia zone – the Wines of GB and the show-stopper Nyetimber double-decker bus, craft beers and ciders, and premium gins and other Made in the UK products. An elaborate Low & No alcohol space, curated by Club Soda (a mindful drinking movement), featured the current offerings that could enhance the experience of every consumer. The India Pavilion managed to create a buzz with well-presented stands and flash dance sequences to Bollywood music. Ajoy Shaw’s first attempts at an ‘organic’ wine were lauded. Tastings and Masterclasses by global experts made for some exciting features on the sides of the show – and not dominating the agenda – so that business could be the main focus. The London Wine Fair has become UK’s largest annual wine trade tasting show. The landmark 40th edition was held at Olympia London from 7-9 June in the days following the spectacular Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The organisers, Brintex, wisely avoided a clash with their normal May dates imposed on them by ProWein Dusseldorf. Hannah Tovey of London Wine Fair was pleased. “We have delivered a quality-driven bounce-back show which has brought the industry back together after a period of incredible uncertainty.” Over 3000 products were presented by 286 exhibitors from 25 countries. They vied for the attention of the 8822 in-person visitors (who paid an entry fee) and 4151 digital visitors. The show was spread out in the Grand Hall and Upper Hallways. Battle of Mixers The Great Bourgogne Reunion in the Upper Hallway showcased wines representing the rich diversity of their ‘climats’ with an immersion in Chablis and Crémant de Bourgogne. In the sustainable packaging area, we discovered the newest trends. The paper/ cardboard bottles by Frugalpac and When in Rome have the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of single-use glass bottles. Our friends from Australia – Bec Hardy Wines and 52 Liquid The 2022 edition of the London Wine Fair was a ‘manageable’ and extremely productive show with many opportunities. Monin Cup is an international talent search competition seeking to award the brightest young bartenders. It was conducted by Monin – the French brand with over 100 years history of making syrups, mixes and sauces that has established itself as a reference for bartenders around the world.Based on the theme of ‘sharing memorable moments’, 1500+ participants (all between 21-27 years) this year were judged on their creativity, skill, passion, and inventiveness to develop a memorable cocktail.

news Legendary artisan Ducasse is the founder of École Ducasse, and has to date bagged 21 Michelin stars for several of his 34 restaurants in seven countries. In 2005, he became the first chef to receive the top three Michelin stars for three of his restaurants at the same time. The Ducasse conglomerate extends into Hospitality, Manufacture, Consulting, Education, Books, Culture and Reception. 64 were selected for the regional competitions in Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi. This narrowed down further to 14 to compete in the national finals at The Roseate New Delhi. All participants conjured a mocktail using a Monin flavour of their choice and in a surprise round, they had to prepare a cocktail with the Monin flavour randomly picked in the draw of lots. Akshay Kottary, trainer at Martiny Mixology in Mangalore, emerged victorious in this hunt for India’s best mixologist – one who knows how to touch the right senses. His creation, ‘The Kalasa’, with Monin’s Falernum flavour, served in a coconut mug, earned him a ticket to compete in the International Grand Finale for the Monin Cup in France at the end of the year. India is an important market for Monin – their products have been available in India since 1999 – and since 2019 through a wholly owned subsidiary. “This activity outlines our commitment to India”, said Managing Director Philippe Bergerault who flew in from Bourges, France. Andrea Fidora, Beverage Innovation Director from Dubai, joined the jury. Germain Araud of Monin India said, “The Monin Cup in India was a platform for budding bartenders to show their exceptional talent.” Alain Ducasse in India In his first ever visit to India to inaugurate the École Ducasse campus in partnership with the Indian School of Hospitality in Gurgaon, French Chef Alain Ducasse attended a dinner hosted in his honour at Le Cirque by Anupam Dasgupta, General Manager of The Leela Palace New Delhi. The culinary team at Le Cirque worked closely with Team Ducasse to put together a flavourful evening for the guests. French Ambassador H.E. Lenain attended as did FINE Magazines, who offered Champagne Duval Leroy to raise a toast to Alain Ducasse. Chef Julian Mercier, under the watchful eye of Chef Ducasse, laid out a treat for the senses. The quinoa entrée was followed by the morel mains and a sinful deconstructed dessert. We hope to see many more such interventions till the time India can boast of its own star offerings. World Dairy Summit The IDF World Dairy Summit 2022 was held in India after 48 years at the India Expo Centre, Greater Noida. The theme was ‘Dairy for Nutrition and Livelihoods’. Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated this annual meeting of the global dairy stakeholders. He attributed the success of Indian dairy to small farmers and co-operatives that had embraced digitalisation. “Women are the real leaders of India’s dairy sector”, he emphasised. India is the largest producer of milk in the world, with an annual output of 210 million tonnes. Liquid 53

news Amul greeted visitors with the iconic life-sized Amul Girl. Their stand depicted the activities of milk farmers and showcased Amul’s success story. Women farmer-led co-ops like Asha from Rajasthan, Sheerja from Andhra Pradesh and Maahi from Gujarat were represented by their members dressed in traditional attire. State coops like Nandini from Karnataka, Saras from Rajasthan, and Verka from Punjab participated. Private Indian brands like Pride of Cows by Parag Foods and Ananda attracted interest. Multi-national giants like Nestle presented their community outreach activities. The who’s who of the dairy world were present – around 1500 delegates from 50 countries participated. They deliberated on challenges and opportunities On the edge of the Black Sea, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia is home to over 500 indigenous grape varieties and a powerhouse of artisanal wine making in the post-Soviet era. Georgia is the birthplace of wine; wine has been made here since the Neolithic period (around 6000 BC). ‘Qvevri’ – large 1000-litre clay pots with Protected Geographical Indication status which today are part of Georgia’s Intangible Cultural Heritage – remain at the centre of an uninterrupted 8000-year-old history of wine-making. Proud of the unique offering from his country, Ambassador Archil said, “The world is now appreciating our wines, it’s time for us to share our wine diversity with you and hope that you enjoy the friendliness.” facing the industry and discussed safe and sustainable interventions, collaborative action to mitigate climate change, and making best practices easy to adopt and remunerative for local farmers. History in a Glass The Ambassador of Georgia in India, H.E. Archil Dzuliashvili, collaborated with Rajiv Singhal of the FINE Wine & Champagne India magazine to host a Friendly Georgian Wine evening in New Delhi. 54 Liquid A wide range of unique wines of Georgia showcasing the indigenous grapes Saperavi, Rkatsiteli, Kisi, Kakhuri Mtsvane in both traditional and modern styles were offered by several producers who are prospecting the potential of the Indian market. The selection had a fair share of wines made in the ancient Qvevri style – both red and white. The Ambassador also presented his favourite – the traditional Georgian drink ‘Chacha’ or ‘Georgian grape vodka’, which is double distilled grape pomace 50% abv matured in qvevri for some months. There was a style and flavour of wine to suit every palate. The diplomatic community, trade professionals, and wine lovers were able to enjoy the various wines offered at their own pace, sometimes guided by the enthusiastic Ambassador Archil who is building a compelling narrative around Georgian wines – one that stresses their impressive history and their exclusivity and rarity in the wine world. L

chile Wines of Chile Academy T here is big potential in India for foreign wines – the market is in expansion. Promotional efforts based mainly around education for trade professionals are being developed by some wine regions. One such activity hosted recently was the Wines of Chile Academy Masterclass. The Wines of Chile, a non-profit, private trade association that represents Chilean wine producers and helps them position their wines in an international context, created the Wines of Chile Academy to offer structured courses around the wine history, regions, grape varieties, and styles of Chilean wines. For India, the Wines of Chile Academy entered into a partnership with Group Ritu – which has spearheaded wine education in India since 2001 and has focussed on making wine knowledge more approachable and affordable. Supported by the Embassy of Chile and ProChile, the Wines of Chile Academy Masterclass by Rajiv Singhal was made possible at The Lalit New Delhi by Dr. Jyotsna Suri and Mr. Keshav Suri. The wines tasted were representative of the diverse range for which Chile is known. The target group – the hotels and the trade – responded enthusiastically, with 33 participants representing 18 establishments from the Delhi NCR region. The images of Chile and its landscapes around the tasting room helped create the context. A tasting set-up was laid out individually for each participant. Liquid 55

chile Ritu Singhal H.E. Juan Angulo Marcela Zúñiga The Masterclass was inaugurated by H.E. Juan The natural barriers – Pacific Ocean (west), Atacama Angulo, the Ambassador of Chile in India who said, Desert (north), Andes Mountains (east), Patagonian “Our objective is to give the Indian consumer a taste glaciers (south) and the 23 climatic zones create of Chile through Chilean wines. These wines are made conditions conducive to viticulture in Central Chile. with a lot of passion and have received international The earliest wineries were set up in the 16th century recognition. When you taste our wines, you are tasting in Maipo with an eye on the Peruvian market. A wave the soul of Chile, its culture and its people. We want of historic wineries were founded in the 19th century. to make a difference through such actions and help The 20th century marked the significant transition to a the Indian consumer select, drink and enjoy Chilean fresher, lighter style – typical cool climate wines. With a wines. We have so many varieties, that we will always 500-year history of wine-making and all these factors have the perfect wine to match the perfect food on combined, Chile today is the 4th largest exporter of any occasion.” wine in the world. Rajiv Singhal presented the wines from this faraway The wines tasted were representative of the diverse land in South America – the long sliver shaped range for which Chile is known. All wines are already country that is 4300 kms long but only 177 kms wide. imported in India. 56 Liquid

chile All attending participants sat for an examination which knowledge. We have recognised the need to develop would qualify them to be ‘Ambassadors of the Wines education programs so that the trade can learn how of Chile Academy’. 22 Ambassadors were certified to appreciate Chilean wines. The results will not be and they proudly received their certificates from H.E. coming fast, so our approach to the market is realistic Juan Angulo at the ceremony. yet cautious, because we still have a long way to go Presenting the vote of thanks, Marcela Zúñiga, Trade in the wine market in India and need to build it step Commissioner ProChile said, “India is demanding by step. L Ventisquero Clásico Sauvignon Blanc 2019 from the Casablanca Valley. Yellowish golden colour. Aromas of cut grass and gooseberry. Refreshingly clean with a medium fruity finish. Well balanced acidity. Antares Chardonnay 2018 from the Central Valley. Pale yellow colour. Aromas of apples and intense tropical fruits. Light, fresh, crisp and fruity. Cono Sur Bicicleta Reserva Pinot Noir 2019. Intense dark plum colour with purple tints. Aromas of concentrated black fruit and hints of sweet toasted oak. Excellent structure, balanced acidity, fruity intensity and pleasantly ripe tannins. Casillero del Diablo Reserva Merlot 2017 from the Rapel Valley. Intense red purple colour. Aromas of cherries and licorice. Approachable. Silky, elegant and balanced finish. Medium bodied. Vina Tarapacá Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 from the Maipo Valley. Deep ruby colour. Aromas of Vanilla, Cherry, Pepper and Black Tea. Fruity, young, balanced structure with smooth tannins. Valdivieso Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 from Casablanca. Dark red colour. Aromas of red fruit with some vanilla, spices and coffee. Juicy, flavourful and very fruity with rounded tannins. Liquid 57

hungary Hungarian Wine Summit T he first Hungarian Wine Summit was the collective initiative of several agencies responsible for The Summit opened at the Budapest Marriott on the marketing Hungarian wine in export markets. It was UNESCO heritage Buda Castle. Several Hungarian hosted as part of SIRHA Budapest, the largest food wine industry and HoReCa trade fair in East-Central Europe. in which local Hungarian cuisine was paired with Peter Ondré from the organiser’s team said, “Our long- selected wines. We joined the ‘Feminine & Masculine term goal is for Hungarian wines to occupy a worthy place on the international wine map, thus increasing Pest banks of the River Danube with views of the experts conducted themed presentations Wines’ session with Agnes Nemeth. At this dinner, each of the four courses had been provokingly paired their competitiveness in our existing and future export with two Hungarian wines which we all had to identify markets.” as male or female. The ensuing conversations and The five-day Summit attracted over 100 international wine experts, trade press, traders and sommeliers from Europe, UK and beyond – the first ever gathering discussions were very lively and engaging, with some of the winemakers presenting their wine-making techniques to guide us. of such a large number of opinion leaders on a mission The dinner was followed by a walk-around tasting of to experience the traditions associated with Hungarian old vintage wines. A wide selection of different styles wine first-hand along with the culture, origins, craft of wines was spread out to taste at one’s own pace and people. – the Tokaji Aszu flight was a delight – going back to 58 Liquid

hungary the five puttonyos from 1956 and 1962. The highlight was the Disznoko 6 puttonyos from the very special anniversary vintage of 1993. The organisers grouped six wine region study tours so that the invitees could see the Hungarian wine world up close – the wines, the vines, the winery and the winemakers – and take in the beauty of the landscapes. The Hungarian Wine Summit pavilion at Hungexpo presented the significant wine regions. Almost 100 wineries had been selected from all over the country to showcase their wines. The criteria for the selection by the organisers was ‘strict’: the quality of the wines had to meet international standards and the ‘deserving’ wineries were those whose work, passion, stamina and potential will take them further. The wineries were well-represented by their owners, wine-makers and management teams. In addition to the winery booths, discovery tastings at the feature bar were guided by experts. Tastings of Palinka, the traditional fruit-based spirit of Hungary, were also presented by the National Council. On the sidelines, the Masterclasses were conducted by Hungarian wine experts in tandem with some international ones. The topics demonstrated the diversity of Hungarian wines and emphasized Hungary’s commonly used indigenous grapes – Furmint, Olaszrizling, Juhfark or Kekfrankos – and The Summit ended on the Buda side of the River Danube at the Hilton Budapest in the historic castle district with views on the Hungarian Parliament. The gala dinner was hosted on the customary Danube cruise – where guests could discover more (if they still could) and bond with Hungarian wines and the people who made these wines possible. In her closing remarks, Aliz Nemeth of AMC was very kind, “All of you are now the Ambassadors of Hungarian wine”. A very interesting discovery for us was the Blue Wine from the volcanic Badascony wine region on the northern shores of Lake Balaton. Elizabeth Gabay MW showed us Kekneylu, a rare indigenous grape of Hungary which some producers are reviving. Neither this late ripening grape nor the wine is blue in colour, but the name comes from its blue tinted stalk. It is a ‘female only’ grape, thus planting alternate rows with another variety such as Budai Zöld encourages more consistent pollination. The wine is pale yellow in colour. Intense aromas, minerally flavours and subtle acidity lend elegance to the wine. Overall, the Summit was a truly satisfying and informative immersion. It underlined the versatility and diversity of Hungarian wines and emphasised the importance of indigenous varietals. Most importantly, it brought to the front the people who believe in their wines and their potential to create an important presence in international markets in the not-so-distant future. the distinct wine styles of Tokaji (naturally sweet) or Hungary is ready to conquer new wine territories. L Bikaver “Bulls Blood” blend from Eger/ Szekszard. Ritu & Rajiv Singhal Liquid 59

wine Hidden Gems: Gewürztraminer 60 Liquid

wine W hy does the taste of certain things immediately transport you home? Because they are connected to childhood and good memories. For me, if I think of home in a bottle, it has to be Gewürztraminer. WHAT IS IT? Gewürztraminer is a white wine with a tropical aroma. It is distinctive for having an intense lychee aroma wines have a characteristic deep golden colour, with notes of honey and candied fruit and a fine balance between sweetness and acidity. Gewürztraminer also presents itself as an aromatic, extravagant yet delicate wine. It shows complexity in a glass and appeals to the senses. It is best served chilled and enjoyed young. at first sniff, and a very deep yellow-gold colour. It is characterised by a rich aromatic palate and an intense bouquet of exotic fruits, rose petals, and spices like ginger. ‘Gewurz’ is German for spice, and ‘traminer’ is a grape variety. It is pronounced gi/voort/zraminer. It may be difficult to say, but it’s most enjoyable to drink! WHERE IS IT FROM? Gewürztraminer is from Alsace, a wine region in northeastern France, bordered by Germany and Switzerland. This region has passed between France and Germany several times throughout history. The ‘traminer’ grape originated in northern Italy, from where it made its way to Germany in the 16th century, and thence down the Rhine to Alsace. The name Gewürztraminer was first used in Alsace in the 1870s. The Gewürztraminer grape is picked in the late autumn, early in the mornings when it is coldest. There is an exuberant, festive atmosphere that accompanies the harvest; everyone connected to the ‘domaine’ participates – extended family, friends and even visitors. WHY SHOULD YOU TRY IT? Gewürztraminer is a surprisingly rare wine grape – only about 12,800 hectares are grown worldwide of which over one-quarter is found in Alsace. It is one of the four ‘Grand Cru’ grapes of Alsace. It is a sensual experience, identifiable at the first sniff. It is a wine for a fine connoisseur. Gewürztraminer is an extremely adaptable wine, suits most occasions for wine-drinking and offers great value for money. WHAT IS ITS STYLE? The grapes high natural sweetness makes for the best dessert wines. Vendange Tardive (late harvest) keeps the grapes on the vine longer to concentrate the sugars. Sélection de Grains Nobles (selection of noble berries) exposes the grapes to botrytis and these individual berries are harvested by hand. These dessert WHAT ARE THE BEST PAIRINGS? Gewürztraminer is an extremely versatile wine. The drier styles could be a refreshing beverage to sip on a hot summer day. And are ideal to tone down spicy food. The spicy notes of cinnamon, ginger, and lychee draw a perfect match in the rich and flavourful Indian cuisine. The sweeter wines pair well with dessert and can be a delightful dessert on their own. L Raphaella Holstaine is French and lives in Gurugram. A luxury afficionado, she blogs and writes poetry. Liquid 61

beer Beer from the heart of England T he Purity Brewing Company, based in Warwickshire, Central England, is now one of the leading independent brewers of England. Purity was established in 2005 by Paul Halsey and James Minkin, who worked together at a national brewer and played rugby together for Kings Norton RFC in Birmingham. They founded Purity with a mission to brew “great beer without prejudice, with a conscience, and with a consistency and attention to detail that is second to three – Paul, James, and Ubu the dog – Purity now has a 26-strong team. BREWING WITH A CONSCIENCE Based on a working farm in the heart of the beautiful Warwickshire countryside, Purity is committed to brewing beer with practices designed to be environmentally friendly and – with its wetland system – environmentally enriching. none.” The growth of the company over the past 17 The process of making beer uses a lot of water. Purity years has been considerable. Starting with a team of recycles its waste-water by using a natural wetland 62 Liquid

beer Purity works with some of the best chefs in the country to match beer and food, looking at how their beers work with the dishes as a whole and how the individual ingredients in each beer or dish influence each other. TASTING NOTES system of six linked pools and reed beds. Water from brewing is pumped to the pools. As the water moves through the reeds, algae forms on the surface. The colour of the water changes and wildlife emerges. The final pool has crystal-clear water with ducks and moor hens swimming in it. The system offers a habitat for butterflies, moths, and insects and allows for pure, clean water to be returned to the brewery and recycled. Nothing is wasted. Used grain feeds the Longhorn Cattle on the farm. The spent yeast goes to the local pigs and the used hops are used as fertiliser on the farm. BEER WITH A BITE Birmingham, the second largest city in Britain and only 20 miles from Purity’s brewery – is home to the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants outside London. Pure Gold A refreshing golden ale with a dry and bitter finish. Brewed with English Maris Otter, Caragold and Wheat malts, plus Hallertau Northern Brewer, Bobeck and Hereford Goldings hops. 4.3% alcohol. Serve with lightly smoked salmon. Longhorn IPA An American-style IPA, named after the Longhorn cattle that live on Purity’s farm. Longhorn IPA is bitter but with a citrus flavour too. Brewed using the finest malts and hopped with Pilgrim, Chinook, Galaxy, and Simcoe hops. 5% alcohol. Serve with spicy dishes. Pure UBU Named after Purity’s dog Ubu (whose name comes from the play Ubu Roi by the French writer Alfred Jarry). A full flavoured beer with a sweeter finish. Brewed with English Maris Otter, Crystal, Black and Wheat malts, with Hallertau Northern Brewer and Cascade hops. 4.5% alcohol. Serve with red meats, game, and strong cheese. Mad Goose A zesty pale ale with a smooth and citrusy finish. Brewed with English Maris Otter, Caragold and Wheat malts, with Hallertau Northern Brewer bitter hops and Cascade and Willamette aroma hops. 4.2% alcohol. Serve with pork. L Stuart George graduated from Warwick and is a WSET Diploma in Wines & Spirits since 2000. An awarded wine writer, he has has tasted vintages back to 1780. Liquid 63

sake Love for Sake 64 Liquid

sake T he attraction of sake is not easy to explain in one word. It is the most versatile, nutritious, and peaceloving drink on the earth. Once you get to know sake, the journey will be full of exciting discoveries. I am Japanese and have lived in London for over 35 years. I fell in love with this 2000-year-old indigenous so-traditional Japanese beverage around 2006. I will never forget my first taste of sake, so many years after leaving Japan, and I remember thinking ‘Wow, this is not the drink I remember!’ I was right. The sake industry went through an evolution in the eighties and introduced a sophisticated fine sake called GINJO, which literally translates to ‘meticulously brewed’. From a grainy and rather sweet, ordinary, alcoholic drink, Japan created a light, fruity, floral and complex sake with great fineness and elegance. Sake was reborn! Sake is not just a drink, but part of the culture and lifeblood of the Japanese people. It represents the true essence of Japanese philosophy and a way of life which values the concepts of minimalism, giving and solidarity. In Japan, sake is drunk on many occasions – to make a wish, to vow, to celebrate, commemorate or commiserate, to say hello and to say good-bye. It is the identity of Japan and has become a lifeline connecting me to my beautiful country and people. Another reason why I devote myself to promoting sake overseas is that I learnt the Japanese sake industry has been declining over the last 50 years. There were over 10,000 sake breweries all over Japan, but today just 1,200 breweries are operational and many of them are struggling to survive, due to an aging population and competition from other popular drinks like wine and beer. The image of sake has deteriorated amongst the youth, who see it as old-fashioned. These sad facts motivated me to support the sake industry and make it a mission to explore new markets in Europe and beyond. The Sake Samurai Association, that I represent in the UK, was founded by a team of young sake brewers in 2006, to promote sake overseas and to preserve the national heritage. In partnership with the IWC, we created the IWC Sake Competition in 2006 which is now the largest and most prestigious sake competition in the world and contributes to global sake marketing. The great news is that exports of sake from Japan has been thriving over the last decade with about a 5 fold increase in value, despite the pandemic. Finally, the world has come to appreciate sake and we believe this is just the tip of the iceberg. Introducing sake overseas has been challenging. In Europe, there are many misconceptions about sake in Liquid 65

sake people’s minds, such as ‘Sake is too alcoholic’, ‘it needs to be drunk hot’ and ‘Sake is only good with Japanese cuisine’. No, no and no, I say with a smile. Firstly, sake is not a distilled spirit, but brewed like wine and beer with an ABV around 15%. So, you can drink it just like wine and enjoy it in wine glasses. For food pairing, the incomparable beauty of sake is that sake doesn’t get into a fight with any food. Why not? Because, unlike wines, sake doesn’t contain high acidities and tannins which can combat the delicate flavours of food. On the contrary, sake is richest with organic amino acids called Umami that enhance the flavours of the food you eat with it. This is why sake is forgiving and compatible with the food culture in different countries. The refreshing and umami-rich Urakasumi Zen is one of the best sake to match with seafood and oysters. Shirakabegura MIO is the most popular sparkling sake which is perfect as an aperitif and also great with fruits and desserts. Of course, I remember how wonderful it was to pair sake with rich curry in India. Sake is versatile. There are many styles available, from traditional to modern ginjo style. Do try the extremely popular sparkling sake, fruit-infused ume-shu, yuzushu, and the rare aged sake called koshu. You can enjoy sake at different temperatures, from ice-cold to 55° C, depending on your mood, season and style of sake. Lastly, let me say that sake is made to enrich your life and bring the hearts of people together. I hope you feel excited to explore the allure of sake, and I look forward to the day we toast sake with Kanpai! L Rie Yoshitake is a sake promoter and consultant, and the UK representative for the Sake Samurai and the Japan Sake and Shochu Association. 66 Liquid

gin Let the good times beGIN T he djinn of alcohol is popularly believed to have originated in England/Ireland. The truth is Gin was originally made by monks and alchemists all across Europe in the 11th Century. While Italian monks discovered its medicinal and disinfectant properties, it is Holland, where juniper berries were added to barley, which is the true birthplace of gin. The name comes from the Dutch word for juniper berries, genever. The Dutch doctor Franciscus de la Boa was the inventor of Gin in the 16th Century. It is now a distilled alcohol of 35% to 60% proof abv and there are hundreds of distilleries in Amsterdam alone. In the beginning of the 19th Century, when the British occupied India, soldiers and the sailors in the Navy often travelled to destinations where malaria was prevalent. They carried with them quinine rations to prevent and fight the disease. To camouflage its bitter taste the British added water, sugar and lime. Erasmus 68 Liquid Bond was awarded the first patent for tonic water in 1858 and Johann Jacob Schweppe’s company first introduced its own more palatable quinine and lime infused mineral water to the market in 1870. ‘Tonic water’ was named keeping its medicinal properties in mind. It was mixed with Gin and thus Gin and Tonic was born – in India. During these voyages, the sailors carried London dry gin as beer spoiled quickly. Limes were added for their anti-scurvy properties. Cordials were made to preserve the limes and this combined with Gin made the quintessential Gimlet. It was in the latter half of the 20th Century that Gin was re-embraced as a cult and craft cocktail ingredient. In 2008, after several years of lobbying, Sipsmith became England’s first official small still distiller. Their facility on Portobello Road is a gin-lovers paradise with a working distillery, an interactive museum hosting gin history classes

gin and a small boutique hotel with guest rooms and sake brewing district. Each category of ingredients restaurants. is distilled individually and then blended in perfect There are over 6000 Gins in the world ranging from harmony to get the distinctive KI NO BI flavor. the classics to gins such as Ungava Canadian, While Tanqueray is good for Martinis; Botanist is Whitney Neill handcrafted, Botanist Islay, Caorounn smooth to drink neat and Monkey 47 is used to make and multiple small batch productions. It is no wonder a Negroni – one of the finest gin cocktails of all time. that there is one for every palate. India’s first gin, This Italian cocktail is made of one part each of Gin, Greater Than, sourced Macedonian Juniper and their Vermouth Rosso and Campari, and garnished with more premium ‘Hapusa’ (Sanskrit for Juniper) uses orange peel. A traditional Negroni is stirred not shaken Himalayan juniper and mango, coriander, turmeric and built over ice in an old-fashioned rock glass. and almonds. Another quintessential gin cocktail is the Singapore One of my favorites – the 1st artisanal Japanese gin – Sling, developed around 1915 at the Long Bar in KI NO BI (which translates to ‘beauty of the seasons’) Singapore’s Raffles hotel, by bartender Ngiam Tong is distilled, blended and bottled in Kyoto. It uses Boon. Gin, fresh lime juice, a dash of angostura bitters, Japanese Botanicals like juniper, orris, yellow yuzu, cherry liqueur and Grenadine, Cointreau, Benedictine Akamatsu (red pine) wood chips, bamboo leaves, and green tea, kinome and sansho (Japanese peppercorn measurements, the Singapore Sling is tart, refreshing berries). At 45.7% abv, it uses a rice spirit base and and delicious. Poured in a lightbulb glass, it is garnished pure ground water sourced from Fushimi, the famous with a pineapple slice and a maraschino cherry. pineapple juice are mixed. With precise Liquid 69

gin Photo: Sipsmith In the last few years, I have also tried several small batch Dutch gins which, while flavorful on their own, when mixed with grapefruit or elderflower tonic water are taken to a subliminal level. Matching your gin and tonic is not just an art form but a necessity. You wouldn’t fit local tyres on a Porsche, similarly a great gin deserves a quality tonic to go with it. Artisanal tonic waters are a lot less sweet than commercial tonic water, and are more natural flavors. Fever Tree and Sepoy & Co have a range of flavorful tonics such as Yuzu, Grapefruit, Elderflower, Lemon & Mint etc. that allow the botanicals in your premium gin to shine through. While I love playing with flavors and experimenting with different combinations, last week’s creative cocktail was one with St. Georges Terroir Gin (from the golden state of California), steeped with hibiscus brewed tea, some fresh nectarine juice – poured in a martini glass over crushed ice and topped with some grapefruit tonic, a dash of lime and a slice of nectarine as garnish - delightfully refreshing on a hot summer day! L Photo: Tony Hisget 70 Liquid Shalini Virmani is a hotelier by choice, interior designer by profession, poet and author by passion, and wine & spirit aficionado for love.

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