Wine and drink course has been part of a main course for a very long time, though not necessarily paired with the food the way it is today. Wine and other drinks are alcoholic beverages. While wines are made by fermenting different varieties of grapes, other drinks such as whiskey, bourbon, scotch, gin, vodka, rum, etc., are made by a distilling process. The accompanying ingredients used in the process of making wines and other drinks, determine their flavor and grade. Even the regional availability and local tastes determine the quality and taste of wine & drink.
Wine and Drink History
Wine and drinks were initially a staple requirement. There were no sophisticated wineries or distilleries to make these beverages. They were made from the local water supply but in slightly sanitized conditions. Early records show that wine was made by the Egyptians and the Mesopotamians and then the first recorded source of wine production was seen around 6000-5000 BC in Iran. Champagne is known to be the first wine that was bottled by the monks. Similarly, early signs of beer jugs dated back to the Neolithic period, as early as 10,000 BC.
Types of Wine & Drink
Wine and drink course is an integral part of most of the cuisines. In fact, there are many foods/snacks that are made to pair with wine and drink. They can be broadly categorized as –
- Wines - Red wines such as Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Port, Syrah White wines such as Chablis, Chianti,Pink wines such as Champagne.
- Beer – This drink is made by fermenting barley, wheat, maize etc. Some popular beers are ale, stout, lager, hops, rye, etc.
- Whiskey – This is made through a distilling process. The basic ingredients used are barley, rye, wheat or corn. These could be used as it is or malted. Some popular whiskeys are single malt whiskey, double malt whiskey, rye malt whiskey, bourbon, etc.
- Other well known drinks are vodka, gin, brandy, rum, etc.
These drinks are either drunk neat or in combination with a non-alcoholic drink. Wine & Drink Selection and Serving Principles -
- Quality of wine and drinks is very important - price is not always a reflection of quality.
- Considering the occasion – not all wines & drinks are suitable for all occasions.
- Suitability or blend of flavors of the wines and drinks with a particular food – there are different wines and drinks meant for different courses.
- Choosing the right kind of stemware – the type and shape of glass can enhance or alter the taste of the wine and other alcoholic drinks.
- Serving wine anddrinks at the appropriate temperature – the temperature can alter the taste and flavor of the wine/drink.
Selecting Stemware for Wine and Drink
Wine and drink and stemware go hand in hand. Stemware meant for wine and drink comes in different sizes, shapes and designs and each one is meant for a particular type of wine and a particular occasion. There are certain factors that would help in understanding how to match stemware, and wine and other drinks.
- Try to keep the stemware simple without any designs
- Avoid colorful, tinted or painted stemware, as the real color of the wine or any other drink would not show through the glass.
- Use the right size and shape meant for a particular wine or other alcoholic drinks.
Wine & Drink Trivia
Though lead crystal glasses are best for serving wine and drink (as lead enhances the flavor) they are not practical. Hence, glass stemware is preferred as it is more long lasting and does not break easily.