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Choosing Wine To Impress

Selecting wine for your own consumption is one thing, but what if you were asked to bring a bottle to an important dinner party? Naturally, you'd want to make a good impression, so how do you know of what you've chosen is going to sit well wish the other guests and, more importantly, the host?

Your choice of wine should reflect, not your social and economic status, but the status you are hoping to achieve. Always trade up-your choice of wine should convey the message that you have arrived, particularly if the dinner party in. Now that you've chosen a wine you like, don't let your efforts go to waste - store your buy correctly to prevent it from going `off'.

Wine, both red and white, should be stored at a cool, constant temperature, preferably between 15 to a little under 20 degrees Celsius. The refrigerator is ideal. Storage conditions are equally important for bottles that have been opened. An opened bottle of red wine can probably keep for about three days in the fridge, white, no more than 24 hours.

If you leave a bottle open for too long, the wine will lose its freshness. If it takes you ages to finish a standard bottle, a sensible thing would be to buy smaller bottles that you can finish in one sitting. How can you tell if a wine has gone bad? If you notice an aroma that's vinegary, mildewed, stale or sulphuric, that's one sign.

Vodkas: Acquired Taste

From raspberry to green tea, vodkas now come in all kinds of favors. The clear spirit has no discernible aroma or flavor, but vodka packs a punch. Just ask the Russians who drink it neat. Or the Scandinavians, the Poles and the British. Now, with the introduction of flavored vodkas to the mass market, the rest of the world is set to follow suit. We gives you a trivial guide to the world of flavored vodka.

  • One of the earliest recorded use of the word "vodka" in Eastern Europe appears in a 1405 Polish manuscript describing vodka production there. The Poles have been using lemons to flavor vodka since the 16th century.
  • Zubrowka, or bison grass vodka, was banned in the United States in 1978 as it was discovered the essence of bison grass thins the blood.
  • Zubrowka is made only in the Bialoweiska Forest in eastern Poland. The Polish drink their Zubrowka neat, over ice or with apple juice.
  • Making your own flavored vodka is easy. To make a lime flavored one, push slices of lime into any bottle of vodka. Leave in the refrigerator for three to four weeks. Once it toms a mucky yellow-green, it is ready.
  • The first flavored vodka is said to have been invented in Russia in the 16th century. Honey was used to sweeten it.
  • Strawberry, kiwi, vanilla and even banana vodka are common but have you heard of green tea vodka? In July last year, Charbay, a winery and distillery in Napa Valley, California, launched a green tea vodka, which uses extractions of four tea varieties from China's Anhui province.
  • A sake-infused vodka, Wokka Saki, took the US and Britain by storm last year. It is a blend of micro distilled British grain vodka and Japanese honjozo-shu sake.
  • Skiiers in the French Alps have been drinking toffee-flavoured vodka. In February, a new toffee vodka, Thunder Toffee Vodka, was launched in the English seaside town of Brighton. It was inspired by its creator Jon Lilly's stints in bars in Val d'Isere.
  • In January, toffee vodka, Toffoe, by Welsh entrepreneurs Dewi Roberts and Padrig Huws stirred up a storm in Britain when the Institute of Alcohol Studies said Toffoc encourages teenagers to drink alcohol as the sugar disguises the taste of vodka.

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