The history of the world’s greatest sport can be seen as a continual progression towards the refinement of wine and spirits. In our time, for the very first time, those cultures that are traditionally wine and spirit dominant are finding new uses for what had been a traditional industry. Nowhere is this more true than in this year’s National Italian Food and Wine Festival.
The history of wine and spirits is peppered with tales of poets that have exchanged words with angels, witches, werewolves, and demons. Many of these tales are mythological, but others may not be. But one thing is absolutely true: wine and spirits are an inseparable part of the human experience. In fact, it is often said that wine and spirits are the most compatible of all the beverages.
When people talk about wine and spirits, they are generally referring to the two most common spirits used today, alcohol and wine. But they are also referring to spirits, like gin, whiskey, brandy, or rum, which can also be made from grain, fruits, or even vegetables. These days, spirits, more so than wine, are often called distilled spirits, as in “liquid gold.” However, when you hear someone talk about “distilled spirits,” they are usually talking about a new type of alcohol, one that has been distilled and then treated to remove the taste of alcohol.
With this recent innovation in spirit making, many companies are introducing new and full-bodied spirits to the market. They include cognac, brandy, bourbon, rye whiskey, maple syrup whiskey, and many other exciting spirits.
Like all technologies, the modern application of these two spirits will never run out of uses. There are several uses for each; all of them, however, are greatly enhanced by the spirit, whether they are distilled or not. As has been noted, many of these new types of spirit were introduced to the marketplace for the very first time at the last NIFW.
The classic expression of the spirit is the gin fizz, which is considered to be an originator of gin. This particular variety of gin, also known as gin flavored with fruits, has taken on a reputation as the best “shaken, not stirred” type of drink. Since its introduction to the American scene, the bar scene has never been the same.
Of course, many people would like to be the ultimate mixologist, one who offers the best of everything and drinks it all. What is the ultimate flavor of the year? Gin fizz, right? Well, today’s spirit companies are keeping the best flavor in stock, ready to be sampled at any time.
When I say “satisfying” foods, I mean something that satisfies your senses in the kitchen, not outside the kitchen. We all have heard the famous quote, “A dish to die for is a dish to be had.” This principle applies to food as well as to spirits, and the spirits of today allow us to do just that.
If you are looking for a simple, tasty ginseng drink, the gin fizz is your best bet. While it has a more European flavor than is necessary, there is certainly nothing wrong with the American version of this drink. Of course, it should be noted that the gin fizz is not the same as a gin and tonic, although many of the drinks of today feature both.
To stay true to the spirit, there is nothing wrong with a whiskey cask, which is exactly what the term refers to. Now, some of us prefer the term whiskey barrel to barrel, as the term whiskey barrel is more accurate in my opinion. Regardless, a whiskey barrel is the perfect vessel for a great whiskey, and it is also a great vessel for the delicate flavors found in many great whiskies.
There is no better compliment than to say that a red wine and spirit combination are the ultimate recipe for eating out. A great dessert wine and spirits combination are even better. but, we’ve all had those wonderful experiences where the meal is the highlight of the evening, and the perfect wine and spirits combination allow for the meal to come alive all the way through.
These days, it is easy to find every conceivable type of wine and spirit available. This means that if you want to try the great tasting wines and spirits that make some of the world’s finest dining experiences, there is really no excuse for not to do so.