It is winter once more, which means three months of amazing weather for some, super cold for others. It’s time then to be full of beans, planning merry soirees and thinking happy thoughts.
The spirits sing, glasses tinkle, there’s a song on the lip and merriment all around. Sure it’s about putting up twinkly lights and thinking richly spiced plum cake. Barbecued or roasted anything, chunky veggies and channa to your favourite meats – and oh yes, baked potatoes!
Fresh strawberries and figs with everything… And plenty of liquid cheer!
The weather is near perfect in Mumbai. There’s a pleasant nip in the air and hoodies are being brought out of hiding. I’m pottering around, making lists and stocking up on some very delicious drams.
You know it’s that time of year where I seriously need glasses. To be surrounded by them, filled with potations in all hues!
I make friends with winemakers, and with master distillers. Listen to them talk about their wine and whisk(e)y. Look at, nose, taste and then think about them. Make notes. Then buy and gently soak in their beauty with friends.
My romance with everything spirited began 41 years ago. And I’m still as excited to discover new stuff all the time. Many wines have been ordered; whiskies too. Some amazing rums are being brought out of storage and a few recent gifts from some truly nice friends.
Menus are slowly coming together. Fruits and peels that were soaked in wine till they were soused enough to be turned into moist, spicy, delicious cakes. All kinds of spices have been thrown into bottles of rich port to make warming Mull, to be ready to zap in the microwave while watching a movie.
Fruits will be frozen to ice, to be drunk with sparkling wine when bringing in the New Year. Much is always sipped while in the kitchen and a lot is thrown into sizzling pans to make everything amazing.
My favourite sparkling wines this season are Just Roberto prosecco, Henkel Trocken sparkling white and rose, Sula Brut Tropicale and their limited edition sparkling Moscato that’s Oh, so unctuous and perfumey!
Reveilo Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Nero d’avola; The Source Cabernet Sauvignon, Rasa Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon are the reds I’m sipping on, along with the easy Outback Jack Shiraz, Bush Ballad Shiraz and Born West Cabernet Sauvignon.
My whisk(e)y portfolio always begins with the Paul John Christmas Edition 2022 while the new and delicately smoked Gianchand single malt shared the table this year. Scotland gave me the Aultmore 18, Glen Rothes 18, Talisker Port Ruighe, The Singleton of Glen Ord I found stashed in a dark untouched corner and an Aberfeldy 18 alongside!
Across the Atlantic my glass clinked to Maker’s 42, Woodford Reserve and Basil Hayden. An Aussie Archie Rose Limited Release Good(e) whisk(e)y is waiting to be discovered. And the rums – Bacardi Oakheart, Kraken Black Spiced, Plantation 12, Flor de Cana, and the very yummy passion fruit and guava Bush rum!
Now if that’s not pepping for winter drinking I don’t know what is! Don’t shy away from those classic sweet wines. This is the perfect season for Cream Sherry or aged Port with some vintage cheddar, crumbly aged parmesan or some salty blue cheese like gorgonzola or Danish.
Bite into some juicy red pears or crunchy apples for a touch of freshness with a wedge of Brie or Camembert. Christmas cake if it’s sin all the way! In fact, fill up the Witchy Woman in a flask and let her sit right next to you. Sit back, sip and let her glow envelop you.
This is the good life. Yours to pick, choose, enjoy and share. And that’s what I want to do. Share it with you. It’s totally me and my favourites. Wish you a very Merry 2023 with only the most fantastic of possibilities!