Winter is the time to plan perfect indoor parties and pair home cooked food with the appropriate alcohol. Experts suggest how.
With its sharp fruity notes, a sparkling wine is perfect with savoury hors d'oeuvres with strong Indian flavours. Think southern Kerala-style prawn pepper fry or kali mirch chicken tikka. The spices and ingredients in these recipes balance out the semi-sweet notes of the wine.
For the main course, choose dishes that don't overwhelm the delicate flavours and acidity of the wine. Go for creamy butter chicken or Goan prawn curry. Dishes that are slightly spicy, tangy and rich, such as Dal Makhani are an ideal fit as they don't overpower the fruity notes of a sparkling wine.
Fresh, light fresh desserts will go beautifully with the semi-sweet taste of the wine. For instance, caramel custard or fresh fruits with cream, with their hint of citrus, are the perfect accompaniments
Sparkling wines can also be paired and thoroughly enjoyed with Pan-Asian dishes from Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian cuisines.
Beat the heat with a zesty reinvention of a martini when you're out for brunch on a sunny Sunday. The Poet cocktail consists of 60 ml vodka, 5 ml martini bianco, green apple and rocket leaf puree, a dash of honey water with 10ml of lime juice for that extra kick. Shaken to perfection and topped with green apple peel rose and rocket leaf, this cocktail is best paired with fresh rocket, apple and walnut salad with a balsamic dressing.
A light lunch consisting of grilled sea bass and vegetables with a white wine and shallot sauce is best balanced with a punchy vodka cocktail. The Hitchhiker is made with 50 ml vodka, 5ml Bianco Vermouth, 5 pieces of black pepper, 4 rocket leaves, 20 ml of honey water and 10ml of kinnow sweet lime hybrid juice shaken on ice and served with the same dehydrated peel.
While the sun sets, the palate craves something with freshness and a zing. The Hybelv Spritz, made with 40 ml vodka, organic oranges, hybrid basil leaves, martini bianco infused with lime zest and topped off with Chandon Brut is the perfect fresh bubbly surprise for any sundowner. Paired with beet, orange and fennel salad amuse bouche, this pairing is a winner for any evening out.
A hearty dinner of Juniper Crusted Lamb Chops with Caramelized Grapefruit Chutney and a cocktail made with a spicy and sweet concoction is the perfect way to end a night. The Zycie, made with 60 ml vodka, 45 ml jaggery and grape fruit juice, 5 chunks of bell pepper, a lime leaf, chopped spring onions, martini bianco, 15 ml of lime juice and burnt Star Anise with a spray of Campari, is that perfectly balanced spicy and sweet cocktail that is light and yet a burst of flavours.
(With inputs from Amrut Vare, Winemaker at Chandon India, and Neha Mansukhani Singh, Senior Marketing Manager, Belvedere Vodka)