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Pleasures of malt in your mouth

india Updated: Feb 05, 2011 00:25 IST
Aaron Rohan George
Aaron Rohan George
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Forget a cold beer, it’s now a dram of whisky that’s fast becoming the drink of choice for the Capital. No longer the favoured drink for car-o-bar or back alley parties at weddings, whisky has gone up on the snob bar. A prominent hotel in the Capital even stocks a limited edition whisky, of which there are just 56 bottles in the world!

But, if all the talks about malts and blends intimidate you a bit, fear not. The experts say whisky isn’t half as complicated as we think. “Drinking whisky isn’t about going by a particular date or brand, as is the case with wine. It’s all about the taste that suits you,” says whisky specialist George Grant. Here’s our guide to doing the drink right.

How to drink it
Purists may prefer to drink it straight up, on the rocks (with ice), but you can easily use a slew of mixers too. In fact, there are some real fun cocktails which can be whipped up using whisky. It works excellently with citrus based mixers.

Indian food to pair it with
While very spicy food will singe the tongue and perhaps dilute the taste somewhat, items like kebabs and tandoori fare works well with whisky. It’s also well-teamed with Italian food, because the herbs used are very light and not too overpowering.

Which malt/year to choose
Start with younger blends before you move on to the 12 to18-year-old blends. The older the blend, the stronger the taste, and if you’re just starting on the drink, you need to ease yourself in.

How to tell its age
By law the minimum Scotch whisky has to be aged for a minimum of three years. If it’s blended whisky, then the age mentioned on the bottle is of the youngest whisky in the blend. With single malt, the thumb rule is to ensure it’s at least 10-years-old.

Experts: Ian Millar, master distiller, Glenfiddich, and George Grant of Glenfarclas

Rapid fire facts
1. 90 % of the world’ single malt whiskies come from Scotland.
2. There’s a Japanese whisky as well. It is generally a single-malt, made from corn, millet, and sometimes rice!
3. Once it’s bottled, whisky stops aging. And once the bottle is closed, it’s good to drink for at least a 100 years
4. The dark colour of whisky is because it’s aged in wooden barrels.