When it comes to the word food, Indian cuisine reasserts control of the front seat and drives our taste goblets crazy.
Your favourite curry needs a partner to mingle with, and this is why the gastronomical and beverage pairing becomes crucial. The complexity of Indian food has always had an effect over its pairing adaptability with different liquors, therefore the opinions on the table have always differed, yet been savoured.
Here are some Indian delicacies that will allure up the flavours of your favourite spirit.
• Scotch –
The barley malt has forever been a favourite of the Indian palate. The complexity of whisky matches well with that of Indian cuisine and they both restrict overwhelming each other’s flavour. The creamy essence of a Scottish dram is complimented really well by creamy curries like Goan Prawn Curry and Kerala stews. The smokiness in Scotch has a very tantalising effect on our tastebuds. Dishes like Mutton Rogan Josh, kadai Paneer , Tandoori delicacies match best with the peaty sips of joy.
• Vodka – Pairing your favourite food items with the lowest calorie liquor could never be a bad idea. The heaviness of your dinner can easily be balanced out with this neutral spirit. Vodka also does not interfere with the digestive system too much. Indian delicacies such as Nethili 65 , Jhinga Nisha go very well with vodka. You can even smoke up your local fish or cottage cheese and pair it up with vodka.
The Russians have associated vodka with a form of eating known as “zakuski”, which translates to ‘a bite after’, meaning a bite after every shot of vodka.
• Gin – Gin and curry nights are a new introduction to the pairing world. The floral and herbal notes of the spirit are known to go well with nuts, seafood, white meat , light red meat and cheese. Our homeland saw the Gin and Tonic pair up for the first time ever, and our deep fried snacks compliment the berry flavour very well. Fried fish, Pakoras, tossed up in freshly ground spices count in for a perfect afternoon or evening munch. The botanicals in Gin allow it go along fantastically with strongly spiced cardamom and clove curries such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Vegetable Jalfrezi.
• Brandy – A perfect hit of mild bitterness accompanied by a distinct fruitiness is how a brandy meets your palate. Dum and Degh cuisine goes very well with brandy, as it is a feast of flavours which compliments the sweetness and oakiness of the liquor. The flavour profile of Brandy romances perfectly with sweet and subtle flavour of korma curries as well. Dishes like Gosht Aloo korma, Biryani, Navratan Korma are some which need to be on your checklist when you next plan to indulge in this french distillate. Cognac with Mutton Dum biryani is a stand out combination.
• Tequila & Mezcal – The famous Blue Agave spirit from Mexico is not just a party beverage to shoot in, rather it holds the capability to be paired up with food all across. When you think of tequila , you think of Mexican cuisine. Well, when it comes to flavours and spice, Indian and Mexican flavours have a similar feel. They love their pan food, and we love our tawa. Tequila pairs up wonderfully with smoked up food as well. Our local street foods like puri and samosa with mint and chilli chutney match up perfectly with the zest of the beverage.
Mezcal on the other hand is much more bolder and smokier which comes along with a creamy touch on the palate. The smokiness pairs up flawlessly with the Tandoori Tikka food items. Chocolate goes explicitly well with Mezcal as the duo represents the cultural and flavoursome segment of the Mexican origin. Moreover when it comes to Chocolate, the gastronomical borders do not exist. Afterall, “Chocolate and Mezcal is a match made in heaven.”
• Rum – Rum has had a long history with the Islands, but it is the time we look past it’s bequest, and cherish the fact that Rum has always been an eager explorer. Be it the liquors sail to the states with the Caribbean sailors or its keenness for unconventional food pairing. Rum is a natural pairing when it comes to desserts, our favourite Gulab Jamun when eaten with the liquor or even soaked up in it, lushes out a perfect blend of flavours. The sweetness and tartness of the Makhani gravies when enjoyed with the Barbadian quaff is also worth relishing.
You can pair it all up according to the books, but your own palate continues to remain the best judge.