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Spirits- An Introduction

 

A spirit is a potable alcoholic beverage obtained from the distillation of a liquid containing alcohol. The history of distillation goes back over 400 years when it is said that stills were used in China to make perfumes and by the Arabs to make spirit based drinks. The principle of distillation is that ethyl alcohol vaporizes (boils) at a lower temperature (78 degrees C) than water (100 degree C). There are two main methods of producing spirits, either by the pot still method or by the patent still (Coffey) method.


Spirits can be distilled from anything, which can be induced to ferment; anything containing sugar, which can be turned into alcohol. Once the principles of distillation are applied, nearly all of the alcohol may be separated from the liquid. In this process, however, it is inevitable that certain other matter will also be separated and it is these items or impurities that give spirits their distinct characteristics. Usually after the spirits have been aged or matured in wood the congeners fully develop and create the final taste that the consumer knows and loves. There are many spirits and it is important to classify and define them.
 

RUM

 

This is a spirit made from the fermented by-products of sugarcane and it is very popular in fruit based drinks and punches because of its ability to enhance the flavor. It is produced in countries where sugarcane grows naturally and is available in dark and light varieties. Rum is produced in the Caribbean.


Jamaican rum is full bodied, with a strong aroma and a unique flavor. Molasses is allowed to ferment naturally giving it more flavor. It is aged in oak casks for at least five years. The dark color comes from caramel. Famous brand – Myers and Appleton.


Puerto Rico rums are light bodied. If only matured for a year in un-charred oak casks it is known as white rum. If left for three years, with the addition of caramel it is golden rum. Famous brand – Bacardi, Ron Rico, captain Morgan. Other examples are Cuba (Havana Club, Carta Blanco, Ronoro), Trinidad, Barbados (Mount Gay), Guyana and the Bahamas. U. S. A – Pilgrims. Martinique – Rhum Saint James
 

Ideal mixers
·      COKE
·      SODA
·      WATER


Famous cocktails
·      CUBA LIBRE
·      MAI TAI
·      PLANTERS PUNCH
·      PINA COLADA
 

BRAND NAME

HIGHLIGHTED POINTS/ INFORMATION

1) Lambs rum

English – Dark

2) Captain Morgan

Jamaican – Dark

3) Cachaca

Brazilian – White

5) Old Monk

India, (Mohan Rocky Spring Water Breweries Ltd.)


 

LIQUEURS


These are defined as sweetened and flavored after dinner beverages whose flavor is obtained by either infusion or by distillation of the flavoring agent to which is then added simple syrup for sweetening. They may be artificially colored, if so, stated on the label. Generic types such as menthe, cacao, anise, blackberry, Curacao, triple sec, etc, are produced in many countries. In addition there are a large number of proprietary specialties that have earned international popularity. They should not be confused with liqueur spirits which may be whiskies or brandies of great age and quality.
 

Liqueurs

Color

Flavor/Spirit Base

Country

Arrack

Clear

Aniseed

Israel

Blue Curacao

Blue

Orange/brandy

France

Cointreau

Clear

Orange/neutral spirit

France

Drambuie

Golden

Heather honey, herbs, whisky, nuts

Scotland

Passoa

Peach

Passion fruit /neutral spirit

France

Triple-Sec

Clear

Orange/neutral spirit

France

Kahlua

Dark brown

Coffee/neutral spirit

Mexico

Kiwi Liqueur

Green

Kiwi / neutral spirit

Holland

Pernod

Light green

Aniseed

France

Galliano

Yellow

Honey, vanilla, herbs

Italy

Crčme de Cassis

Black

Black currant

France

Orange Curacao

Orange

Orange

France

Bailey’s Irish

Coffee

Coffee

Ireland

Grand Marnier

Amber

Orange, cognac

France

Tia Maria

Brown

Coffee, rum

Jamaica

Menthe – white

Clear

Mint

France

Amaretto

Clear

Almond

Italy

Banana liqueur

Light yellow

Bananas (brand – BOLS)

Holland

Peter Heering

Clear

Cherry

Denmark

Peach Misty

Clear

Peach ( brand – BOLS)

Holland

Melon Liqueur

Light green

Melon

Holland

Kirsch

Clear

Cherry, neutral spirit (BOLS)

Holland

Strawberry Liqueur

Golden

Strawberries

France

Menthe – green

Green

Mint, brandy

France

Konninger

Clear

Pear

German

Calvados

Amber

Apple/brandy

France


 

BRANDY: Brandy is a spirit distilled from fruit juice. The name comes from the Dutch word ‘brandewijn’, meaning burnt wine. It is a generic term and so can be made anywhere. Brandy is most commonly made from wine and is distilled and usually aged in oak barrels.

COGNAC: Cognac is high quality brandy can only be made in six areas around the town of cognac.


Types of cognac:
·      3 STAR*** .The three stars represent the companies standard blend.
·      VSOP (Very special old pale). Very special old pale indicates that this cognac is over 4 ˝ years old and more often the spirit in the blend is a lot older.
·      XO (Extra old). Highest quality available must be at least 10 years old.

COGNAC

 

·      ALCOHOLIC CONTENT: 40GL to 43 GL.


Grape varieties used –


·      ST. EMILION
·      FOLLE BLANCHE


Brands available in the hotel:

 

·      Hennesy VSOP
·      Martell, VSOP
·      Remi Martin, VSOP
·      Curvoisier, VSOP
·      Remi Martin, XO

ARMAGNAC


·      ALCOHOLIC CONTENT: 40GL to 43 GL. Much more milder, drier and with lesser aroma than cognac.


Grape varieties used –


·      ST. EMILION
·      FOLLE BLANCHE


Brands available in the hotel:


·      Dupeyron
·      Chabot

FRUIT BRANDY’S (ALSO CALLED ALCOOL BLANC)


·      Most popular – Calvados (made from Cider) from France.
·      Apfel Schnapps - Germany
·      Apple jack – U. S. A
·      Metaxa – Greece, Grape brandy
·      Pisco – Peru, Grape brandy

 



TEQUILA


Tequila is a Mexican spirit made from an Agave plant (similar to a cactus) which only grows in Mexico. Silver Tequila is un-aged, Gold is matured in oak for various periods of time and is colored with caramel. Anejo, is the finest tequila aged typically for one to three years. No tequila is aged for too long because it turns bitter. It is traditionally drunk after a lick of salt and a squeeze of lime or lemon. Is usually had as shots or is mixed in cocktails.
E.g. Jose Cuervo Old, Tequila Souza (Anejos, Silver)

Famous cocktails –


·      MARGARITA
·      TEQUILA SUNRISE
·      SANGARITA

APERITIFS: Aperitifs are alcoholic beverages that are drunk before the meal. These could be aromatized wines, fortified wines or spirits.

AROMATIZED WINES – these are flavored and fortified. Examples – Vermouth, Dubonnet, St. Raphael, Lillet, etc.


Four main types of vermouth are:


1) Dry Vermouth – made in France, made from dry white wine.
2) Sweet Vermouth/Bianco – made from dry white wine, sweetened with sugar
3) Rose Vermouth – similar to Bianco but less sweet, colored with caramel.
4) Red Vermouth – also called Italian Vermouth, made with white wine, and is sweet.

Brands of sweet Vermouth available in the hotel:


·      CINZANO RED
·      CINZANO BIANCO
·      MARTINI BIANCO
·      MARTINI ROSSO
·      NOILLY PRAT RED

Brands of Dry Vermouth available in the hotel:


·      MARTINI DRY
·      CINZANO DRY
·      NOILLY PRAT DRY

DUBONNET: Available in 2 types. White and red. flavored with herbs and quinine.

ST. RAPHAEL: Available in 2 types. White and red. flavored with herbs and quinine. From France.

LILLET: Made in France. Flavored with herbs, fruit peel and fortified with Armagnac Brandy.

FORTIFIED WINES: e.g. Sherry, Port. Dry or Medium Sherry, Port, Medeira.


SPIRIT: e.g. Pernod from France.

 STYLE OF SERVICE: Mix with water and ice over sugar, it first turns cloudy and then you get a clearer liquid.

 

 

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