Author: karolinearberg

Alcohol-Free Beverages are Booming

beer, alcohol-free, trends, wine

The young generation of today loves sobriety. This information emerges from the latest report of the Espad project (European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs).  The report summarises a study on alcohol consumption habits of young Europeans, and the numbers speak for themselves. In 2007, in Spain, around 80% of the students had consumed alcohol at least once in their lifetime. But in 2019 this percentage dropped to 78%. Furthermore, only 65% confirmed that they consume alcoholic beverages. This is a significant improvement compared to recent years.

The makers of wines and spirits know that it is important to adapt your products to current trends. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to trends among young people who make up the new consumers. The younger generation is more aware of the risks associated with alcohol consumption than past generations have been.

Wines, Beers and Spirits Without Alcohol

Social events can be challenging if you don’t drink alcohol. However, now you no longer have to settle for the usual choice between fruit flavoured soft drinks or other carbonated beverages. Young people are craving flavours which are more refined and interesting. But the drink must also emanate a certain glamour. The list of products available to these curious consumers is growing rapidly. Alcohol-free wines, beers and even distillates have made their triumphant entry into the most fashionable bars and nightclubs.

beer, alcohol-free, trends, wine

Wine and beer without alcohol have been available in the supermarkets for many years now. However, it is important to note that the quality of these drinks has increased considerably. In the past, the wines had a closer resemblance to grape juice, or they were extremely sweet or fruity. Often the flavour tried to balance the absence of alcohol. However, today most alcohol-free wines or beers are produced with flavours that are very similar to that of a normal wine or beer. This is thanks to new winemaking and elaboration methods. The beverages don’t have the typical ”burning” in the throat that you get from alcoholic drinks. And another noteworthy benefit is the fact that hangovers are a thing of the past.

A Generation Without Alcohol

If you love cocktails you can now mix your drinks with herbaceous gins, smoked whiskeys and hard-to-classify distillates. And best of all they are equally as good as the varieties that do contain alcohol! It is now easier than ever to enjoy a well-tasting mocktail while also keeping your health in mind.

Vesper Martini: How to Prepare a Real James Bond Cocktail

The Vesper Martini is famously known as the ”James Bond Cocktail”. The drink appeared for the first (and only) time in Ian Fleming’s novel Casino Royale. It was published in 1953, and it marked the beginning of the first adventures of the famous spy with the codename 007. It is a powerful drink and should be enjoyed slowly, but not slow enough for it to get warm. The attractiveness and sobriety of this cocktail may be due to the translucent appearance and the curly lemon peel that adorns the cocktail glass. The cocktail differs from the classic Dry Martini. Not only does the lemon peel replace the olive, but it also contains both gin and vodka. On top of that, the vermouth has been replaced with Lillet Blanc.

cocktail, distillates, spirits, gin, lillet blanc, recipes, Vodka

How to Prepare a Vesper Martini

45 ml of gin

15 ml of vodka

15 ml of Lillet Blanc

A large thin slice of lemon peel

Ice

Preparation

  1. Fill a cocktail glass with ice to cool while preparing the cocktail
  2. Pour the gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc in a shaker and fill with ice.
  3. Shake for 10 to 15 seconds
  4. Remove the ice from the cocktail glass
  5. Pour the filtered drink from the shaker (without the ice)
  6. Finally, garnish with the curly lemon peel

History

As mentioned, the Vesper Martini was born in the novel Casino Royale, but it only appears once in the entire series. James Bond named it Vesper in homage to the female main character of the novel, Vesper Lynd. In the following novels, James Bond used to order a Dry Martini (”shaken, not stirred”, of course). The cocktail was invented by a friend of the author, Ian Fleming. He incorporated it into the story because the cocktail was different and explosive.

The original cocktail is made with Kina Lillet which was a more bitter version of the Lillet Blanc sold today. The Kina Lillet no longer exists because Lillet’s formula changed in 1980 and this removed some of the original bitterness. If you want your Vesper Martini to resemble the original as much as possible there is a way to tweak the recipe. You can get close to the original flavour by adding a bit of Angostura bitter to the other ingredients in the shaker. However, this twist is not one that we would recommend.

It is important to use Lillet Blanc and not just any white vermouth. The flavours are vastly different. You might want to consider using Stolichnaya vodka that has a high alcohol content and resembles the drink from the 50s.

 

How to Prepare a Black Russian

Coca Cola, Cocktail, Coffee Liqueur, Vodka

The cocktail Black Russian was invented in Brussels, Belgium. The name of the cocktail is owed to its colour and its main ingredient, Russian vodka. However, other versions of the story indicate that the word Black may stem from the period during the Cold War. The cocktail was created in 1949 by Gustave Tops who managed the bar at Hotel Metropole in Brussels.

Tops created the first Black Russian cocktail in honour of the US ambassador to Luxembourg, Perle Mesta. Since its creation this cocktail has continued to gain new fans, and it is considered one of the most attractive vodka cocktails for both men and women. Perhaps the popularity can be ascribed to the absence of fruits. Instead the strength and personality of the coffee liqueur shines through in every sip.

Ingredients

4 cl Vodka

2 cl Coffee Liqueur

Cola to top up

Preparation

This cocktail is a no-nonsense kind of drink which does not need to be mixed. Simply fill your glass with ice, pour the vodka and liqueur into your glass, and stir gently. Use the cola to top up if you prefer a longer drink.

At the beginning this drink was served in an Old Fashioned glass but over time it has become popular to serve it in a Collins glass which is taller and narrower. Many people drink the cocktail as a digestif.

The DO Ribera del Duero Approves Production of White Wine

Albillo Mayor, Designation of Origin, Ribera del Duero, White Wine

A few months ago, the white wines with Ribera del Duero as their Designation of Origin were officially presented at the Gastronomika festival. This was a historic milestone for this 37-year-old DO. Getting to this point has involved several years of important study work.

The setting of the show called ”La Ribera Blanca” was presented by Pepe Ribagorda. It included speeches by the President of the DO, Enrique Pascal, general manager Miguel Sanz, and the technical director Augustín Alonso. But the absolute protagonist of the show was the Albillo Mayor grape.

The new white wines from Ribera del Duero must contain at least 75% of the Albillo Mayor variety. The Albillo Mayor is a complex grape and difficult to grow. But the hard work pays off due to its exceptional qualities that will develop into complex, elegant, and unique wines. The Albillo Mayor grape is native to the region and is the most distinctive feature of ”La Ribera Blanca”.

In the words of Augustín Alonso: ” It is not an easy variety; I dare say that it is the most complex of all the white varieties we know. It must be harvested at the right time, neither before nor after, necessitating obsessive surveillance. It is versatile, elegant, and born for longevity. It is risky to work with, it is pure sacrifice, but the result is worth it.”

”We want to preserve the Albillo Mayor, take care of it, take it into the future. We have been working on this modification of our regulations for a long time. The process has taken years and has required rigorous studies, reports and external audits that have finally allowed us to announce that in the next few weeks, the Ribera del Duero back labels can be delivered to those white wines made with Albillo Mayor that meet the requirements set forth in the regulation. It’s already very close”, said Enrique Pascual, President of the D.O. Ribera del Duero.

Albillo Mayor, Designation of Origin, Ribera del Duero, White Wine

Ribera del Duero white wine has been around for a long time. There are at least 30 wineries that work with this variety. However, since they could not carry the denomination, they were sold as Vino de la Tierra de Castilla. From now on all the wineries that want to market their wines with the DO must pass the relevant controls and, if they are successful, they will receive their back labels in the coming weeks.

The presentation at the festival also introduced a selection of white wines that will be the first to be included in the DO Ribera del Duero. Most of these are still in the production stages and are not yet for sale. It will be interesting to follow these in the future:

  • Lagar de Isilla Albillo 2018
  • Unanimous Tres Piedras 2018
  • López Cristóbal Albillo 2018
  • Caballero Zifar Blanco 2018
  • Dominio del Pidio Albillo 2018
  • Luthier Blanco 2018
  • Viadero Blanco de Albillo 2018
  • Valduero Albillo Reserva 2017
  • Valduero Albillo Gran Reserva 2015
  • Dominio del Águila 2014 and 2012
  • El Lebrero de Félix Callejo 2018

You can find more information on the official website of DO Ribera del Duero.

 TAGS:Pago de los Capellanes Joven Roble 2017

Pago de los Capellanes Joven Roble 2017

It is a great young Ribera wine that combines power, structure and an excellent acidity.

The Beauty of Vodka Bottles

bottles, design, style, marketing, fashion, trends, Vodka

Wine producers are not the only ones who have understood that a great label helps attract consumers. Many distillate brands, especially vodka brands, often embellish their bottles to impress the public.

The next time you go to a bar or a restaurant, take a look at the wall behind the bar. You will likely discover that vodka bottles have become decorative objects. Unfortunately, in some cases, the impressive bottles are more focused on appearance than the taste of the vodka itself.

Creating a Visual Memory

Today, you’ll find vodka bottles that have taken the strangest forms imaginable. Crystal Head Vodka, a brand founded by actor Dan Aykroyd and artist John Alexander, is sold in a skull-shaped bottle. This idea is based on the legend of the 13 crystal skulls. AnestasiA Vodka asked Canadian designer Karim Rashid to design a bottle that resembles their logo. The bottle represents the rock from which they get the water for the production and the volcanic stone which is used to filter the distillate. Frozen Ghost focuses on the feeling of anguish, with the silhouette of a man trapped in the bottle. Cîroc is an ultra-premium vodka that has its headquarters in Cognac. The brand presents its important origins by brandishing an elegant frosted glass bottle. Absolut Vodka, on the other hand, is inspired by the bottles of medicines used in the eighteenth century. In those times vodka was sold in Swedish pharmacies as a remedy for virtually any condition.

Many consumers consider vodka quite a neutral spirit and find it hard to capture all the nuances that differentiate one brand from another. Therefore, many consumers are inclined to choose the most beautiful bottle which will also look great in their homes.

bottles, design, style, marketing, fashion, trends, Vodka

The Importance of Colours

According to neuromarketing experts, the more people can imagine the taste of a product just by looking at it, the better. Therefore, predefined codes are used when decorating a bottle. The colours are a great tool as they already give an idea of ​​the flavour of flavoured vodkas: green for apple, orange for peach, red for strawberry, yellow for lemon, etc. Absolut is an example of a brand which is mastering the colour coding strategy.

A Matter of Fashion

The makers of vodka know that their products are mainly consumed on social occasions. Many brands rely on the image of a ”luxury product”, which can be proudly displayed in nightclubs or during a private event. Many brands have therefore entered into collaborations with the world of fashion. Victoria’s Secret, Moschino, Gareth Pugh, and Roberto Cavalli are some of the brands who can be associated with specific vodka brands. Collaborations like these turn the bottles into true accessories.

Vodka Limited Edition

Of course, we must also mention the numerous limit edition vodka series. These bottles become objects of worship, sometimes even true works of art. Over the years, these bottles have become the object of desire for many enthusiasts and collectors.

Several of the limited editions have become very famous, mainly thanks to the big names that signed the bottles. Andy Warhol decorated a legendary bottle of Absolut Vodka. Anyone who has seen this in a magazine, on posters, or at a friend’s house will understand the hype well.

Vodka brands have created bottles dedicated to specific events or situations, always based on the concepts of uniqueness and current issues. The vodka Absolut World is signed by the Swedish illustrator Kari Modén and can only be purchased at airports. The Absolut brand explains that it is a vodka dedicated exclusively to travellers. Absolut has also created another unforgettable classic: The legendary Colors, inspired by the LGBT flag.

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Do you know Amarula liqueur?

Amarula is in fashion. It is a cream liqueur from South Africa that is especially popular among fans of the traditional Baileys. The liqueurs are similar when it comes to the sweet and creamy taste. It makes it easy to associate the two although they are two very different drinks.

Amarula, Marula, Elephant, Liqueur, South Africa

Amarula cream liqueur is made from the cream of milk and the fruit of the Marula tree. This tree only exists in the sub-equatorial plains of Africa. The mystery of this liqueur comes from its fruit. The fruit has a citrusy and creamy flavour and fibrous white flesh under its hard skin. It contains four times more vitamin C than an orange.

The Marula tree is protected in South Africa and it only grows in the wild. Humans have not been able to cultivate it so the gatherers must adapt to the whims of their roots. The tree only produces fruit once a year which makes the harvest even more difficult.

The Marula tree is also known as ”the tree of the elephants” because they love their fruit. Elephants can travel hundreds of kilometres when they detect the sweet smell of this delicacy. Perhaps that is why the Amarula liqueur is associated with these majestic giants. In fact, the brand supports elephant conservation efforts and co-founded an elephant research programme.

Amarula, Marula, Elephant, Liqueur, South Africa

Many other animals also enjoy eating the fruit. At times, when the fruit is very ripe, it will ferment on the ground in the heat of the sun. The fruit may then obtain an alcohol content of up to 38%. It goes without saying that animals eating the fruit from the ground may experience a bit of a buzz.

It is not a joke…

The production of Amarula is very basic. The fruit is fermented much like wine. It is then distilled twice and aged in French oak barrels for two years. At the end of the process, the liquor is mixed with the cream of milk to create the final product, the Amarula liqueur.

Amarula liqueur was created in 1989 which makes it a relatively new drink. Yet it is already distributed in 100 countries. It has won many awards, among others two awards for Best Liqueur in the World (2006 and 2008). It is steadily gaining new followers who like to drink it neat, with ice, mixed into cocktails, or they may even use it as an ingredient in cooking recipes.

We are also big fans… How about you? Have you tried it yet?

 

 TAGS:Amarula

Amarula

Amarula is a sweet cream liqueur from South Africa with 17% alcohol

 

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Untouched by Light is the First Sparkling Wine Made in Total Darkness

champenoise, chardonnay, sparkling wine, news, vintage at night

Untouched by Light is a new sparkling wine produced by the Slovenian winery Radgonske Gorice. The name of the wine is unusual; however, it is inspired by the production process. It is the first sparkling wine which is developed in absolute darkness; from harvest to bottling in opaque black glass bottles. Until now, no one has ever produced a wine like this.

The idea of creating this sparkling wine in the dark arises from an old study from 1989. It was done by the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture (you can read it here). The study concluded that light rays could damage the aroma and the taste of the wines. This happens because ultraviolet rays break down the riboflavin of the wine and cause photo-oxidation, the formation of methanethiol, methyl sulphide and hydrogen sulphide.

champenoise, chardonnay, sparkling wine, news, vintage at night

Therefore, the Radgonske Gorice winery came up with a solution on how to make a wine that never sees the light of day. To achieve this the harvest is done on moonless nights with the help of night vision goggles. The subsequent handling, bottle rotation, packaging, etc. are also carried out in the dark. The winery uses the Traditional method (Champenoise) to carry out the second fermentation in the bottle. At the end of the process, the wine is rebottled in black bottles before a final maturation of three years.

The winery will only produce 2000 bottles of Untouched by Light made with Chardonnay grapes which will be ready in 2020. The wine is presented in a black aluminium bag to further ensure the “untouched by light” guarantee. However, for now, we are still left to wonder whether this is a marketing ploy or if this peculiar elaboration will really shine at the tasting.

If this wine has caught your interest, you can reserve your Untouched by Light on the official website.

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Rock Rose Gin Bets on Recyclable Packaging

bottles, gin, environment, recycling

Rock Rose, a gin produced in Scotland, has launched a fully recyclable, bag-shaped container. Refill bags the size of an envelope are available to order online.

The Dunnet Bay distillery, creator of Rock Rose, has reported that the bags also significantly reduce the energy needed to ship the gin. The bags weigh just 65 grams compared to the original ceramic bottles weighing a whopping 700 grams.

The distillery describes the project as ”the first of its kind in the United Kingdom”. It is the result of more than a year of research and development. Martin Murray, co-founder of Dunnet Bay Distillers, explains: ”We prioritise sustainability and have been working hard on our first commercialisation of recyclable bags for over a year.”

bottles, gin, environment, recycling

Currently the refill packaging is only available to individual consumers. They can even return the packaging to the manufacturer to refill it. The Dunnet Bay Distillers plan to expand the program to bars, restaurants, and shops in the near future. The distillery is also working on including their other spirits in their sustainability project.

These new refill bags may seem to clash with the traditional glass bottle. But the goal of Rock Rose is to introduce a completely biodegradable refill bag by 2025. This is a sustainable step that combines well with the current focus on climate change and the goal of creating responsible consumption.

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Obesity: You Can Fight It With Red Wine!

It is a well-known fact that red wine has many beneficial effects on our health. However, not everyone knows that this beloved drink also seems to help prevent obesity. Today, on Obesity Day, the world day dedicated to the prevention and treatment of obesity, we give you all the information on this subject.

benefits of red wine, obesity, Obesity Day, health, wine and health

The Research of King’s College London

Researchers Dr. Caroline Le Roy and Prof. Tim Spector at King’s College London have led an interesting study. It shows that consumers of red wine develop a more diversified intestinal microflora. This is in comparison to consumers of other alcoholic beverages such as white wine and beer. The polyphenols in red wine act as a universal remedy for many beneficial bacteria and fungi found in the intestine. They help rebalance the relationship between ”good bacteria” and ”bad bacteria”. This results in important help to the immune system and it also helps control weight and bad cholesterol.

The research was published in the specialised journal Gastroenterology. It was carried out in a group of 458 pairs of twins from the United Kingdom. They were asked to drink beer, cider, red wine, white wine, and other alcoholic beverages. The beneficial effects in the intestinal microbiome were only verified in women who drank red wine. To reach their conclusion, the researchers also took other factors into account, such as age, weight, daily diet, and socioeconomic status.

However, do bear in mind that the research points to moderate consumption. This would be equivalent to a glass of red wine every two weeks or so. As we already know, excessive wine consumption can seriously compromise our health.

Vodka Trends: Brands are Focusing on Visual Seduction

drinks, distillates, vodka trends, vodka, vodka pairings

Vodka continues to be one of the most popular spirits. This is partly because vodka brands are focusing on reinvention and how to add value to their products. You’ll now find bottles shaped like lipsticks or crystal skulls among others. In general, the focus on the visual experience is almost as important as the taste itself. Read on to learn more about the current vodka trends.

The Vodka Bottles of Yesteryear

Those responsible for the most popular vodka brands explain in more detail about how marketing used to be done. Previously the bottles were all transparent and with a red and gold label. There were only a few variations and as time passed, they became objects of desire to the consumers.

Flexibility and Modernity

Luckily, and over time, the vodka bottles have been transformed. This reflects the fact that the vodka industry shows greater flexibility and are aware of the need for innovation. In comparison, the wine market does not show the same level of interest in trendiness.

drinks, distillates, vodka trends, vodka, vodka pairings

Limited Editions

Limited editions are another trend in the world of vodka. These special bottles and varieties attract the attention of consumers who value premium quality. The limited editions are usually exclusive bottles, perhaps created by fashion designers, and a relatively low number of bottles are sold. They are unique, numbered, and collectors are the prime target audience.

Neuromarketing

Every day we are bombarded with impressions everywhere we go. A lot of these enter through our eyes. Visual impressions also play a big part when it comes to selling alcoholic beverages. Professionals working in the vodka industry know that the consumers are sensitive to what they see and that they can recognise certain codes. Colours might, therefore, be a determining factor; green represents apple, pink is watermelon or strawberry, etc.

From Victoria’s Secret to Moschino

For the design of their bottles, some brands collaborate with strongly established firms that influence the world. Some brands have chosen to work with well-known companies such as e.g. Victoria’s Secret and Moschino. Connections like these can evoke a sense of extreme luxury to the customer. It also sends a signal that a particular vodka is exclusive and of high quality.

This distilled beverage does not have a clear origin, although its name is Russian. Vodka is generally produced through the fermentation of grains and other starchy plants such as rye and wheat. The best way to enjoy it is very cold. It usually has a very high alcohol content, although this depends on the type.