Spirited Cuisines: Asmani Subramanian

Rare Scotch by the oldest distillery in Scotland, the hottest Craft Gin and Beer, or the rare vintages of the Grand Cru wines – the world of luxury spirits and wines is indeed an exhilarating one. From aristocratic royalty to new money, elaborate alcoholic beverages have always been synonymous with wealth, status and eccentricity.

Thanks to an increase in wealth, independence and empowerment, now even the Modern-She is turning her eye to luxury products and services that were historically a ‘male territory.’ As a result, many brands are seeking to specifically appeal to the rising affluent female consumer.

Hence, it is no surprise that all the luxury spirits (whether it is the rapper-endorsed beverage or the undeniable classics) are getting more and more extravagant with highly detailed packaging designs, rich histories and even extremely expensive price tags.

Coming from a city where food is a religion, it is only imperative for its drinkers to team it correctly with their finest choice of elixir. In order to understand this culture better, we caught up with some connoisseurs from the city, to get an insight on their favourite alcohol, and their recommended pairings.

Asmani Subramanian, Brand Ambassador of Diageo and a Mixologist

Tell us about the luxury spirit market in Hyderabad? Is it brand specific or suggestive?

I can see a continuous decline with the high end white spirits, and its space is being taken over by the Single Malts. As of today, Hyderabad is definitely a brand specific market.

As a mixologist, what do you recommend on pairing with your favourite luxury spirits?

For me personally cocktails work far better with Asian and Indian Cuisine, while Single Malts, Scotch Whiskies and Japanese Whiskies do not complement these cuisines really well.

Some basic tips?

  • Spicy food match-up is a bit trickier to navigate. Alcohol elevates the spicy sensation brought on by capsaicin so, if you’re not careful, you’ll end up feeling the burn and just the burn.
  • If you are looking at whisky evenings – appetisers with gentle spice and citrus work well with a “Mizuwari” made with light fragrant whiskies. Mains finished with smoke work well with medium bodied whiskies such as Johnnie Walker Platinum 18 Year Old with some peat influence Full-bodied rich whiskies like Johnnie Walker XR 21 Year Old or Johnnie Walker Blue Label works amazingly well with roasted dishes, medium spiced north Indian curries, and rich fruit cakes. Strong, peaty whiskies like Lagavulin are best with some nice dark chocolate and strong blue cheeses, especially Roquefort.
  • Cocktails with sweet and fruity flavours are actually spicy food’s ideal mates. The sugar mutes the burn brought on by high-proof spirits and spicy food adds refreshment to the otherwise steamy meals. My favourite picks would be Tiki cocktails such as Ron Zacapa Mai Tai with Asian and Indian cuisines, which often have fruity elements in their dishes. Bright citrus flavours offer similar relief. Classics like Tanqueray No. Ten gin gimlets, Ketel One lemon drops with a hint of fresh coriander offer relief. Talker