Great alcohol never goes out of fashion when it comes to celebration gifting. And when it comes to Father’s Day, you will never go wrong with drinks. So here is my list, culled from the best of beverages that I had in recent times, a healthy mix of the Indian and international names. I am sure you will like it.
Smoke Vodka: Homegrown brands always win, and this vodka has bravely stepped into a segment where few dare to tread: the premium local liquor one. The straight and the aniseed variant are great for cocktails, and the bottle looks great on any shelf, especially if you have them both side by side to complete the “S” logo.
Terai Gin: Speaking of premium Indian spirits, let’s not forget the one which recently made the country proud by winning a medal (a silver no less) at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The dry gin is refreshing and herbaceous, and beautifully balanced. It works well with tonic and shines in a Martini. The very Corinthian bottle is just asking to be turned into a lamp or money plant holder once empty!
Kamet Whisky: Another Indian spirit to round off the list, and this is another brave venture – making a premium single malt in a country where even rum passes for whisky! Well, Kamet, named after the second highest peak in the Garwhal region, is a subtle sip, nothing too potent or marked but the mix of ex- wine, Bourbon, and Sherry oak casks still give their dram quite a distinctive edge.
Maka Zai Rum: A new Indian rum that isn’t trying to be another Old Monk copy is quite a feat. This one comes in two versions: a light and a slightly aged gold. Drink it with a mixer or neat; both work very well. Slickly packaged with an easy-on-the-eyes aesthetic, the label displays the Ridley turtle, and the catchy name will be easy to recall when ordering the fifth round on a Saturday night.
Shunya: I love my cola, but I hate that it can be detrimental to our health. That’s after they even took all the cocaine out of it! Step in Shunya, which does a very decent cola beverage that’s tasty, fizzy, and a can of the stuff, comes in under a single calorie sans aspartame. Try it, it won’t become your favourite just yet, but it’s a worthy supplement.
Jade Forest: A new look and upgraded recipes, Jade Forest is a whole new beast this time around, one to be seriously reckoned with. The tonics are balanced even if on the gentler side of bitter, and the ginger-ale is a crisp bubbly sip. Great mixers that can go with anything from whisky and rum to gin and vodka.
Martell XO: The granddaddy of great Cognacs, there is no denying that a good aged Cognac is a genuinely versatile sip, one that can be had before a meal, with it, or even after one! An XO, as the name suggests, Extra Old, is aged considerably longer, and the Martel version is usually a mix of eaux-de-vie going back decades! While I have nothing against Cognac being enjoyed with tonic water and such, I’d exclude the XO from that indulgence as a mark of respect to the tradition of this style of Cognac.
Ardbeg Wee Beastie: I love the name. In fact, I love everything Ardbeg does. This new one is quite the tyke – aged only five years, it packs a pretty solid and vivacious punch on the palate. It’s super smokey and, surprisingly, pricier than even the standard 10-year aged version. While it may work neat, I feel the austerity of a young spirit would be best blended into a cocktail. Peaty Whisky Sours anyone?