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Whiskey is Getting a 'New-age' Makeover, Spiked with Butterscotch, Tea

A sweet-n-sour concoction, a classic Whiskey Sour mellows the flavour of hard liquor with the addition of a sweetener, a dash of lemon and sometimes egg white.


Updated:September 30, 2018, 2:28 PM IST
Whiskey is Getting a 'New-age' Makeover, Spiked with Butterscotch, Tea
Representational Image (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ The Beast Smoke House)

The overtly masculine image of amber liquid sloshing gently on rocks of ice as gentlemen hold their glasses and clouds of cigar smoke swirl around is changing rapidly with whiskey brands tapping into a diverse customer base and experimenting with flavours as diverse as coffee and tea.

The staid whiskey spirit is getting a fun makeover with cocktail connoisseurs joining in too, either using ingredients to enhance the velvety smooth flavour of whiskey or disguising it, to woo those who usually stayed with sweeter fruity cocktails.

Shreshta Saha, who kept away from whiskey for almost half a decade, now says Whiskey Sour is her drink of choice.

"Whip up a cocktail or dilute it enough with water to make the taste of hard liquor go away," 26-year-old Shreshta told PTI.

A sweet-n-sour concoction, a classic Whiskey Sour mellows the flavour of hard liquor with the addition of a sweetener, a dash of lemon and sometimes egg white.

Leading brands are hoping to break the old school imagery of whiskey in their bid to attract non-conventional whiskey drinkers like Saha.

Dewar's India, a blended scotch whiskey brand owned by Bacardi, is aiming at making millennials aware of scotch's "versatility".

Ernest Reid, brand ambassador for Dewar's India, said the company is expanding on the flavours present in the base spirit.

"All expressions of Dewar's have a base line of honey," he said, adding that apple or cinnamon would be natural extensions of a Dewar's peg.

Going for traditional flavours like ginger, scotch and lemon is another trick that proves to be a safe bet for beginners.

"New whiskey drinkers usually tend to start with something light and comfortable on their palate. The idea is to introduce people slowly and step by step by first acquainting them with basics," said Emily Thompson, also a brand ambassador.

Whiskey happened to 25-year-old Shreya Nanda after she repeatedly found herself socialising with a bunch of whiskey drinkers.

But the smell continued to feel overwhelming, until she finally found her calling — Pure Sin.

"It is my favourite probably because I simply don't realise it contains whiskey," she said.

The creamy cocktail uses a fine blend of Irish whiskey and Irish creme liqueur, topped with dollops of vanilla ice-cream and an assortment of frozen berries.

Glenfiddich's recent initiative — Cocktails Reimagined — experiments with unique ingredients such as Silver Tips Full-Moon tea, Castleton Muscatel second flush, premium Kashmiri walnuts, bay leaf from Assam and the Gung Giri estate's premium coffee.

"These rare findings handpicked from diverse parts of India enhance the flavour of the single malt," said Angad Singh Gandhi, Glenfiddich India brand ambassador.

The brand has also curated celebratory cocktail recipes taking inspiration from the festive spirit and cheer of Diwali such as 'Whisky by Nature', 'Drop it Like It's Hot' and 'Passion Whisky Sour' among others.

Jameson Irish Whiskey by Pernon Ricard introduced a new variant — Jameson Caskmates — in India earlier this year.

The varietal has hints of butterscotch, cocoa and coffee due to the whiskey being finished for six months in whiskey barrels used to age stout beer.

The move came after they noticed a rise in demand for coffee in the country.

"Before introducing a varietal, we keep an eye on the trends of consumption in a market. Coffee in India, for instance, has been on the rise for the better part of a decade now," a brand spokesperson said.

Jack Daniel's (JD) Tennessee too launched a new spirit — Jack Fire — this year, that uses "Ceylon" cinnamon, making the drink aromatic.

The result is a sweet, hot cinnamon kick that complements the smooth and delicious taste of Jack Daniel's.

"We want everyone to enjoy JD in a way that fits their palate. And, through the Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire, we are offering existing fans and new consumers another flavor option," said Vineet Agrawal, a spokesperson for the brand.

According to a Jameson spokesperson, the whiskey-sampling audience has traditionally been "dominantly male", but admits that a shift is evident.

"With more bars offering diverse cocktail menus to cater to their audiences, we are seeing a steady increase in adoption by women as well," he said.

Gandhi added the shift was also visible in the age vertical, where whiskey is becoming a preferred choice of drink also among younger audiences vis-a-vis the traditional "mature consumers".

"More younger audiences are opening up to the taste and experience of whiskey consumption in its classic and experimental form," he added.

And women like Shreya and Shreshta are raising a toast 'new-age' whiskeys.

| Edited by: Naqshib Nisar
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