Thursday, May 27, 2010

OTHER STAFF DESTINATIONS

v) Trainee / Commis De Barraseur
The trainees work closely with the waiters, fetching orders
from the kitchen and the bar, and clearing the side station in
a restaurant. They serve water and assist the waiter. They
are mainly responsible for the mise-en-place, and stacking
the side board with the necessary equipment for service. The
debarrasseur is the ‘learner’, having just joined the food
service staff, and possibly wishing to take up food service as
a carreer.
vi) Wine Waiter / Sommelier
Wine waiters have an important role to play in reputed
establishments. Their job is to take orders for the service of
wine and alcoholic beverages and serve them during the
meal. Hence they should be knowledgeable about wines that
accompany a particular dish and the manner in which they
should be served. They should also be aware of the licensing
laws prevalent in the city and should be efficient sales
persons.
vii) Room Service Waiters / Chef D’etage
Room service waiters work in the room service outlet,
serving food and beverage to guests in their rooms. The
order is placed by the guest on telephone, and is recorded on
a Kitchen Order Ticket (K.O.T). It is then passed on to the
duty captain. The duty captain in turn places the order in the
kitchen or the bar, as the case may be. The room service
waiter who has been assigned that order, sets the tray
according to the food or beverage ordered, picks up and
delivers the order when it is ready.
viii) Carver / Trancheur
The carver is responsible for the carving trolley and the
carving of joints at the table as required. The carver will plate
up each portion with the appropriate accompaniment.
ix) Floor Service Staff / Floor Waiter
The floor service staffs are often responsible for an entire
floor in an establishment or, depending on the size of the
establishment, a number of rooms or suites. Floor service of
all meals and breakfast is offered either throughout the day or
in a limited time depending on the size of the establishment.
The floor service staff would normally work from a floor pantry
or from a central kitchen with all food and drink reaching the
appropriate floor and the required room by lift and in a heated
trolley.
x) Lounge staff / Chef de sale
Lounge staff may deal with lounge service as a specific duty
only in a first class establishment. The lounge staff is
responsible for the service of morning coffee, afternoon teas,
aperitifs and liqueurs before and after both lunch and dinner,
and any coffee top ups required after meals. They would be
responsible for setting up the lounge in the morning and
maintaing its cleanliness and presentation throughout the
day.
xi) Cocktail Bar Staff
The person who works on the cocktail bar must be
responsible, well versed in the skills of shaking and stirring
cocktails and should have thorough knowledge of all alcoholic
and non-alcholic drinks, the ingredients necessary for the
making of cocktails and of the licensing laws.
xii) Buffet Assistant / Buffet Chef / Chef de buffet
The chef de buffet is in charge of the buffet in the room, its
presentation, the carving and portioning of food and its
service. This staff would normally be a member of the kitchen
team. The cashier is responsible for the takings of the food
and beverage operation. This may include making up bills
from food and drink check or, alternatively, in a cafeteria, for
example, charging customers for their selection of items on a
tray.
xiii) Counter Assistants
Counter assistants are found in cafeterias where they would
stock the counter and sometimes serve or portion food for
customers. Duties may also include some cooking of call
order items.
xiv) Table Clearers
Table clearers are responsible for clearing tables and
trolleys, specially designed for good stacking of crockery,
glassware, cutlery, etc.

OTHER STAFF DESTINATIONS

The following are the various designations with their job
specifications in the food and beverage department.
i) Senior Captain or Maitre d’ Hotel
The senior captain has overall responsibility for operations.
He prepares the duty charts in consultation with the outlet
manager. He oversees the Mise-en-place, cleaning, setting
up of the outlet and staffing to ensure that the outlet is always
ready for service. The senior captain receives the guests and
hands them over to the captain or station holder. He takes
orders from guests if the captain is unable to do so. The
senior captain should be an able organiser and also be
prepared to take over the duties of any member of the staff
as and when required.
ii) Reception Head Waiter
This staff member is responsible for accepting any booking
and for keeping the booking diary up-to-date. He / she will
reserve tables and allocate these reservations to particular
stations. The reception head waiter greets guests on arrival
and takes them to the table and seats them.
iii) Captain / Chef de Rang
This position exists in large restaurants, as well as in the food
and beverage service department of all major hotels. The
captain is basically a supervisor and is in charge of a
particular section. A restaurant may be divided into sections
called Sations, each consisting of 4 to 5 tables or 20 to 24
covers. A captain is responsible for the efficient performance
of the staff in his station. A captain should possess a sound
knowledge of food and beverage, and be able to discuss the
menu with the guests. He should be able to take a guest's
order and be an efficient salesperson. Specialised service
such as gueridon work involves a certain degree of skill, and
it is the captain who usually takes the responsibility to do this
work.
iv) Waiters / Commis de Rang / Server
The waiters serve the food and beverage ordered by a guest
and is part of a team under a station captain. They should be
able to perform the duties of a captain to a certain extent and
be a substitute for the captain if he is busy or not on duty.
They should; also be knowledgeable about all types of food
and beverages, so that they can effectively take an order
from a guest, execute the order and serve the correct dish
with its appropriate garnish and accompaniment. They should
be able to efficiently coordinate with the other staff in the
outlet.

BANQUET MANAGER

The banquet manager supervises the banquet operations,
sets up break-down service according to the standards established
by the hotel. He co-ordinates the banquet service in conjunction with
other departments involved and prepares weekly schedules for the
banquet personnel.
From the time the bookings are done till the guest settles the
bill, the banquet manager is in charge of all aspects of banquet and
conference operations. He supervises the work of the banquet sales
assistants, who do the banquet bookings and the captains and
waiters who perform the food and beverage service activities under
his guidance. He is responsible for organising everything right down
to the finest detail.
The banquet manager projects the budget of the banquets,
and works in close coordination with the chef in preparing menus. He
is responsible for making an inventory of all the banquet equipment
and maintaining a balance between revenue and expenditure.
Banquet managers may also be designated as assistant
managers in the food and beverage service department.

BAR MANAGER

Bar Manager organises and controls a bar's operations. A bar
manager arranges the purchase and pricing of beverages according
to budget; selects, trains and supervises bar staff; maintains records
of stock levels and financial transactions; makes sure bar staff follow
liquor laws and regulations; and checks on customer satisfaction and
preferences.The bar manager should have good interpersonal skills and
good memory. He must be efficient and speedy, must enjoy working
with people. He should have good cash-handling skills.

ROOM SERVICE MANAGER

The room service manager reports directly to the food and
beverage manager and is responsible for the room service outlet.
The room service manager checks that the service rendered to the
guests conforms to the standards set by the hotel. He also monitors
all operational aspects of the outlet such as service, billing, duty
charts, leave and absenteeism, in addition to attending to guest
complaints regarding food and service.
The room service manager is also in charge of the sales and
expenditure budget. The room service is most liable to have
problems. The room service manager should ensure coordination
among the room service order taker, the captain and the waiter. It is
necessary for the room service manager to be present in the outlet
during peak hours to interact with other departments of the hotel and
to take regular momentums of all the equipment used In the event of
the hotel offering valet service and the room service manager takes
charge of that service as well .

RESTAURANT MANAGER

Restaurant Manager is responsible for directing and
supervising all activities pertaining to employee relation, food
production, sanitation, guest service and operating profits. The
restaurant manager is either the coffee shop manager, bar manager
or the specialist restaurant manager. The restaurant manager
reports directly to the food and beverage manager and has overall
responsibility for the organisation and administration of a particular
outlet or a section of the food and beverage service department. The
restaurant manager's job includes:
i) Setting and monitoring the standards of service in the outlets.
ii) Administrative duties such as setting duty charts, granting leave,
monitoring staff positions, recommending staff promotions and
handling issues relating to discipline.
iii) Training the staff by conducting a daily briefing in the outlet.
iv) Playing a vital role in public relations, meeting guests in the
outlets and attending to guest complaints, if any.
v) Formulating the sales and expenditure budget for the outlet.
vi) Planning food festivals to increase the revenue and organising
advertisement campaign of the outlet along with the chef and the
food and beverage manager.

ASST. FOOD & BEVERAGE MANAGER

The assistant food and beverage manager assists the food
and beverage manager in running the department by being more
involved in the actual day-to-day operations. This position exists only
in large organisations. An assistant food and beverage manager's
job includes:
i) Assisting section heads during busy periods.
ii) Taking charge of an outlet, when an outlet manager is on
leave.
iii) Setting duty schedules for all the outlet managers and
monitoring their performance.
iv) Running the department independently in the absence of
the food and beverage manager.

FOOD & BEVERAGE MANAGER

The food and beverage manager is the head of the food and
beverage service department, and is responsible for its
administrative and operational work. Food and Beverage Managers
direct, plan and control all aspects of food and beverage services.
Food and Beverage Managers require excellent sales and
customer service skills, proven human resource management skills,
and good communication and leadership skills. Desired knowledge
for this position includes knowledge of the products, services, sector,
industry and local area, and knowledge of relevant legislation and
regulations, as well. Hence it is said that food and beverage manager
is a Jack-of-all-trades, as the job covers a wide variety of
duties.
In general, food and beverage manager is responsible for:
i) Budgeting
The food and beverage manager is responsible for preparing
the budget for the department. He should ensure that each
outlet in the department achieves the estimated profit
margins.
ii) Compiling New Menus and Wine Lists
In consultation with the chef, and based on the availability of
ingredients and prevailing trends, the food and beverage
manager should update and if necessary, compile new
menus. New and updated wine lists should also be
introduced regularly.
iii) Quality Control
The food and beverage manager should ensure quality
control in terms of efficiency in all service areas, by
ascertaining that the staffs are adequately trained in keeping
with the standards of the unit.
iv) Manpower Development
The food and beverage manager is responsible for
recruitment, promotions, transfers and dismissals in the
department. He should hold regular meetings with section
heads, to ensure that both routine as well as projected
activities of the department go on as planned. He must also
give training, motivate and effectively control staff.

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES OF RESTAURANT STAFF

All types of catering establishments require a variety of staff
positions in order to operate effectively and efficiently. The food and
beverage service department usually has the largest staff. Able
leadership and supervision is required to effectively direct the
department and guide the staff. The personnel in the food and
beverage service industry require practical knowledge of operations
as even a small error can cause displeasure to the guest.
Coordination of activities of all outlets is essential to provide the
guest with quality service at all times. Teamwork is the watchword in
any food and beverage service department. A dedicated and
committed team, with able leadership, under ideal working
conditions, helps in fulfilling the establishment's ultimate goal of
guest satisfaction
The important duties and responsibilities of the restaurant
staffs are discussed in this section.

STAFF ORGANISATION

Staff organization is basically concerned with matters such as
the decision of tasks within the restaurant, position of responsibility
and authority and the relationship between them. It helps in
introducing the conceps of span of control, level of management and
delegation of power and responsibilities.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

TYPES OF RESTAURANTS

Restaurants often specialize in certain types of food or
present a certain unifying, and often entertaining, theme. For
example, there are seafood restaurants, vegetarian restaurants or
ethnic restaurants. Generally speaking, restaurants selling "local"
food are simply called restaurants, while restaurants selling food of
foreign origin are called accordingly, for example, a Chinese
restaurant and a French restaurant.
Depending on local customs and the policy of the
establishment, restaurants may or may not serve alcoholic
beverages. Restaurants are often prohibited from selling alcohol
without a meal by alcohol sale laws; such sale is considered to be
activity for bars, which are meant to have more severe restrictions.
Some restaurants are licensed to serve alcohol (‘fully licensed’), and
/ or permit customers to ‘bring your own’ alcohol.


Cafeterias
A cafeteria is a restaurant serving mostly cooked ready to
food arranged behind a food-serving counter. There is little or no
table service. Typically, a patron takes a tray and pushes it along a
track in front of the counter. Depending on the establishment,
servings may be ordered from attendants, selected as ready-made
portions already on plates, or self-serve of food of their own choice.
In some establishments, a few items such as steaks may be ordered
specially prepared rare, medium and well done from the attendants.
The patron waits for those items to be prepared or is given a number
and they are brought to the table. Beverages may be filled from selfservice
dispensers or ordered from the attendants. At the end of the
line a cashier rings up the purchases. At some self-service
cafeterias, purchases are priced by weight, rather than by individual
item.
The trays filled with selected items of food are taken to a
table to eat. Institutional cafeterias may have common tables, but
upscale cafeterias provide individual tables as in sit-down
restaurants. Upscale cafeterias have traditional cutlery and crockery,
and some have servers to carry the trays from the line to the patrons'
tables, and/ or bus the empty trays and used dishes.
Cafeterias have a wider variety of prepared foods. For
example, it may have a variety of roasts (beef, ham, turkey) ready for
carving by a server, as well as other cooked entrées, rather than
simply an offering of hamburgers or fried chicken.

Fast-Food Restaurants
Fast-food restaurants emphasize speed of service and low
cost over all other considerations. A common feature of newer fastfood
restaurants that distinguishes them from traditional cafeteria is
a lack of cutlery or crockery; the customer is expected to eat the food
directly from the disposable container it was served in using their
fingers.
There are various types of fast-food restaurant:
· one collects food from a counter and pays, then sits
down and starts eating (as in a self-service restaurant or
cafeteria); sub-varieties:
· one collects ready portions
· one serves oneself from containers
· one is served at the counter
· a special procedure is that one first pays at the cash
desk, collects a coupon and then goes to the food
counter, where one gets the food in exchange for the
coupon.
· one orders at the counter; after preparation the food is
brought to one's table; paying may be on ordering or
after eating.
· a drive-through is a type of fast-food restaurant without
seating; diners receive their food in their cars and drive
away to eat
Most fast-food restaurants offer take-out: ready-to-eat hot
food in disposable packaging for the customer to eat off-site.

Casual Restaurants
A casual dining restaurant is a restaurant that serves
moderately-priced food in a casual atmosphere. Except for buffetstyle
restaurants, casual dining restaurants typically provide table
service. Casual dining comprises of a market segment between fast
food establishments and fine dining restaurants.

Fast Casual-Dining Restaurants
A fast casual restaurant is similar to a fast-food restaurant in
that it does not offer full table service, but promises a somewhat
higher quality of food and atmosphere. Average prices charged are
higher than fast-food prices and non-disposable plates and cutlery
are usually offered. This category is a growing concept that fills the
space between fast food and casual dining.
Counter service accompanied by handmade food (often
visible via an open kitchen) is typical. Alcohol may be served. Dishes
like steak, which require experience on the part of the cook to get it
right, may be offered. The menu is usually limited to an extended
over-counter display, and options in the way the food is prepared are
emphasized.
Many fast casual-dining restaurants are marketed as healthconscious:
healthful items may have a larger number of items than
normal portion of the menu and high-quality ingredients such as freerange
chicken and freshly made salsas may be advertised. Overall,
the quality of the food is presented as a much higher class than
conventional factory-made fast food. An obvious ethnic theme may
or may not be present in the menu.

Other Restaurants
Most of these establishments can be considered subtypes of
fast casual-dining restaurants or casual-dining restaurants.
i) Café
Cafés and coffee shops are informal restaurants offering a
range of hot meals and made-to-order sandwiches. Cafés
offer table service. Many cafés are open for breakfast and
serve full hot breakfasts. In some areas, cafés offer outdoor
seating.
ii) Coffeehouse
Coffeehouses are casual restaurants without table service
that emphasize coffee and other beverages; typically a
limited selection of cold foods such as pastries and perhaps
sandwiches are offered as well. Their distinguishing feature is
that they allow patrons to relax and socialize on their
premises for long periods of time without pressure to leave
promptly after eating.
iii) Pub
A pub (short for public house) is a bar that serves simple food
fare. Traditionally, pubs were primarily drinking
establishments with food in a decidedly secondary position,
whereas the modern pub business relies on food as well, to
the point where gastropubs are known for their high-quality
pub food. A typical pub has a large selection of beers and
ales on tap.
iv) Bistros and Brasserie
A brasserie is a café doubling as a restaurant and serving
single dishes and other meals in a relaxed setting. A bistro is
a familiar name for a café serving moderately priced simple
meals in an unpretentious setting. Especially in Paris, bistros
have become increasingly popular with tourists. When used
in English, the term bistro usually indicates either a fast
casual-dining restaurant with a European-influenced menu or
a café with a larger menu of food.
v) Family Style
"Family style restaurants" are restaurants that have a fixed
menu and fixed price, usually with diners seated at a
communal table such as on bench seats. More common in
the 19th and early 20th century, they can still be found in
rural communities, or as theme restaurants, or in vacation
lodges. There is no menu to choose from; rather food is
brought out in courses, usually with communal serving
dishes, like at a family meal. Typical examples can include
crabhouses, German-style beer halls, BBQ restaurants,
hunting lodges, e tc. Some normal restaurants will mix
elements of family style, such as a table salad or bread bowl
that is included as part of the meal.
vi) BYO Restaurant
BYO Restaurant are restaurants and bistros which do not
have a liquor license.
vii) Delicatessens Restaurant
Restaurants offering foods intended for immediate
consumption. The main product line is normally luncheon
meats and cheeses. They may offer sandwiches, soups, and
salads as well. Most foods are precooked prior to delivery.
Preparation of food products is generally simple and only
involves one or two steps.
viii) Ethnic Restaurants
They range from quick-service to upscale. Their menus
usually include ethnic dishes and / or authentic ethnic foods.
Specialize in a particular multicultural cuisine not specifically
accommodated by any other listed categories. Example:
Asian Cuisine, Chinese cuisine, Indian Cuisine, American
Cuisine etc.
ix) Destination Restaurants
A destination restaurant is one that has a strong enough
appeal to draw customers from beyond its community.
Example: Michelin Guide 3-star restaurant in Europe, which
according to the restaurant guides is "worthy of a journey”.

CLASSIFICATION OF RESTAURANTS

Restaurants can be classified by whether they provide places
to sit, whether they are served by wait-staff and the quality of the
service, the formal atmosphere, and the price range. Restaurants
are generally classified into three groups:

1. Quick Service - Also known as fast-food restaurants. They
offer limited menus that are prepared quickly. They usually
have drive-thru windows and take-out. They may also be selfservice
outfits.
2. Mid scale - They offer full meals at a medium price that
customers perceive as "good value." They can be o f full
service, buffets or limited service with customers ordering at
the counter and having their food brought to them or self
service.
3. Upscale - Offer high quality cuisine at a high end price. They
offer full service and have a high quality of ambience.

RESTAURANT

Eating is one of life’s pleasure and pride – so is cooking and
serving good food to others. A restaurant is a commercial outfit
which specializes in the preparation of quality food and to serve
them to satisy the customer’s demands. Their motto is “Customers
are our assets and satisfied customers are our source of wealth”.
Restaurants do have state of the art kitchens in their premises,where food items are prepared, following a fixed menu to serve the
customers. Most restaurants are also equipped with infrastructure
facilities, table settings, dining halls of various sizes to cater to needs
of small gatherings to grandiose banquets to suit customer demands
and above all, trained personnel to provide a satisfactory service.
The term restaurant (from the French word restaurer, to
restore) first appeared in the 16th century, meaning "a food which
restores", and referred specifically to a rich, highly flavoured soup.
The modern sense of the word was born around 1765 when a
Parisian soup-seller named Boulanger opened his establishment.
Whilst inns and taverns were known from antiquity, these were
establishments aimed at travellers, and in general locals would rarely
eat there. The modern formal style of dining, where customers are
given a plate with the food already arranged on it, is known as
service à la russe, as it is said to have been introduced to France by
the Russian Prince Kurakin in the 1810s, from where it spread
rapidly to England and beyond.

A restaurant is a retail establishment that serves prepared
food to customers. Service is generally for eating on premises,
though the term has been used to include take-out establishments
and food delivery services. The term covers many types of venues
and a diversity of styles of cuisine and service.
Restaurants are sometimes a feature of a larger complex,
typically a hotel, where the dining amenities are provided for the
convenience of the residents and, of course, for the hotel with a
singular objective to maximise their potential revenue. Such
restaurants are often also open to non-residents.
Restaurants range from unpretentious lunching or dining
places catering to people working nearby, with simple food and fixed
menu served in simple settings at low prices, to expensive
establishments serving expensive speciality food and wines in a
formal setting. In the former case, customers usually wear casual
clothing. In the latter case, depending on culture and local traditions,
customers might wear semi-casual, semi-formal, or even in rare
cases formal wear. Typically, customers sit at tables, their orders are
taken by a waiter, who brings the food when it is ready, and the
customers pay the bill before leaving. In class or porche restaurants
there will be a host or hostess or even a maître d'hôtel to welcome
customers and to seat them. Other staff’s waiting on customers
include busboys and sommeliers.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CATERING INDUSTRY AND ALL OTHER INDUSTRIES

Food is the sustainer of life regardless of whether they belong
to animal kingdom or plant kingdom. All living beings consume food
as they come in nature. Subsequently they may convert the raw
natural food into usable form on their own. This transformation never
involves the art and science of coking, which is a speciality of human
beings alone.
Importance of food for the human beings is amply, accurately
and appropriately stated in the following age old sayings: “hungry
man is an angry man” and “even the army marches on stomach”
where stomach implies food Employment of largest number of
people in the world in general terms (at home) and in commercial
terms (catering) is in food preparation and servicing. Roughly half
the world population (women) is actively engaged in the art and
science of food production and then alone comes reproduction.
Food production, simply stated, is the transformation of raw
food material into palatable, appetizing and easily palatable tasty
food. Unlike all other living organisms, man has to “buy” food by
paying money. Where does the money come from? It comes only
from industries. Any industry in the world has the primary objective of
making money. Money so generated by the industrial activity is
shared between the employer and the employee, however
disproportionate it may be. Money so shared is used to take care of
the three important objectives: food, clothing and residence.
Whatever left after meeting these primary objectives may go towards
acquiring wealth.
As clearly stated above, food is the very basis of existence or
survival. To buy food, man needs money. The money comes or must
come from industries, all of which have the primary objective of
making money and share with those who help generate it. Since the
raw food needs to be transformed into palatable food fit for
consumption which is achieved, as already stated, through general
cooking (household) or commercial cooking (catering). Therefore,
there is no industry in the world which is not directly or indirectly, one
way or the other, related to the food (catering) industry. Commercial
food industry or the catering industry is the only industry that
provides food, at a price, away from home. Various types of catering
services available would include general or speciality services such
as transport catering, welfare catering, industrial catering, etc.

TYPES OF CATERING ESTABLISHMENTS

Various catering establishments are categorised by the
nature of the demands they meet. The following are some of the
catering establishments.
Restaurant
A restaurant is an establishment that serves the customers
with prepared food and beverages to order, to be consumed on the
premises. The term covers a multiplicity of venues and a diversity of
styles of cuisine. Restaurants are sometimes also a feature of a
larger complex, typically a hotel, where the dining amenities are
provided for the convenience of the residents and for the hotel to
maximize their potential revenue. Such restaurants are often open to
non-residents also.
Transport Catering
The provision of food and beverages to passengers, before,
during and after a journey on trains, aircraft and ships and in buses
or private vehicles is termed as transport catering. These services
may also be utilised by the general public, who are in the vicinity of a
transport catering unit. The major forms of modern day transport
catering are airline-catering, railways catering, ship catering and
surface catering in coaches or buses which operate on long distance
routes.
Airline Catering
Catering to airline passengers on board the air craft,
as well as at restaurants situated at airport terminals is
termed as airline catering. Modern airports have a variety of
food and beverage outlets to cater to the increasing number
of air passengers. Catering to passengers en route i s
normally contracted out to a flight catering unit of a reputed
hotel or to a catering contractor or to the catering unit
operated by the airline itself as an independent entity.
Railway Catering
Catering to railway passengers both during the
journey as well as during halts at different railway stations is
called railway catering. Travelling by train for long distances
can be very tiring; hence a constant supply of a variety of
refreshment choices helps to make the journey less tedious.
On-board meal services are also provided on long distance
trains.
Ship Catering
Ship catering is catering to cargo crew and passenger
ship passengers. Ships have kitchens and restaurants on
board. The quality of service and facilities offered depends on
the class of the ship and the price the passengers are willing
to pay. There are cruises to suit every pocket. They range
from room service and cocktail bars to speciality dining
restaurants.
Surface Catering
Catering to passengers traveling by surface transport
such as buses and private vehicles is called surface catering.
These eating establishments are normally located around a
bus terminus or on highways. They may be either
government run restaurants, or privately owned
establishments. Of late there has been a growing popularity
of Punjabi style eateries called dhabas on the highways.
Outdoor Catering
This catering includes the provision of food and drink away
from home base and suppliers. The venue is left to the peoples’
choice. Hotels, restaurants and catering contractors meet this
growing demand. The type of food and set up depends entirely on
the price agreed upon. Outdoor catering includes catering for
functions such as marriages, parties and conventions.

Retail Store Catering
Some retail stores, apart from carrying on their primary
activity of retailing their own wares, provide catering as an additional
facility. This type of catering evolved when large departmental stores
wished to provide food and beverages to their customers as a part of
their retailing concept. It is inconvenient and time consuming for
customers to take a break from shopping, to have some
refreshments at a different location. Thus arouse the need for some
sort of a dining facility in the retail store itself. This style of catering is
becoming more popular and varied nowadays.
Club Catering
Club catering refers to the provision of food and beverages to
a restricted member clientele. Some examples of clubs for people
with similar interests are turf clubs, golf clubs, cricket clubs etc. The
service and food in these clubs tend to be of a fairly good standard
and are economically priced.
Night clubs are usually situated in large cities that have an
affluent urban population. They offer entertainment with good food
and expensive drinks.
Welfare Catering
The provision of food and beverages to people to fulfil a
social obligation, determined by a recognised authority, is known as
welfare catering. This grew out of the welfare state concept,
prevalent in western countries. It includes catering in hospitals,
schools, colleges, the armed forces and prisons.
Industrial Catering
The provision of food and beverages to ‘people at work,’ in
industries and factories at highly subsidised rates is called industrial
catering. It is based on the assumption that better fed employees at
concessional rates are happy and more productive. Catering for a
large workforce may be undertaken by the management itself, or
may be contracted out to professional caterers. Depending on the
choice of the menu suggested by the management, catering
contractors undertake to feed the workforce for a fixed period of time
at a predetermined price.
Leisure-Linked Catering
This type of catering refers to the provision of food and
beverages to people engaged in ‘rest and recreation’ activities. This
includes sale of food and beverages through different stalls and
kiosks at exhibitions, theme parks, galleries and theatres. The
increase in the availability of leisure time and a large disposable
income for leisure activities has made it a very profitable form of
catering.

TYPES OF CATERINGS

There are two main types of catering on-premises and offpremises
catering that may be a concern to a large and small
caterer. On-premise catering for any function - banquet, reception, or
event - that is held on the physical premises of the establishment or
facility that is organizing / sponsoring the function. On-premise
catering differs from off-premise catering, whereby the function takes
place in a remote location, such as a client’s home, a park, an art
gallery, or even a parking lot, and the staff, food, and decor must be
transported to that location. Off-premise catering often involves
producing food at a central kitchen, with delivery to and service
provided at the client’s location. Part or all of the production of food
may be executed or finished at the location of the event.
Catering can also be classified as social catering and
corporate (or business) catering. Social catering includes such
events as weddings, bar and mitzwahs, high school reunions,
birthday parties, and charity events. Business catering includes such
events as association conventions and meetings, civic meetings,
corporate sales or stockholder meetings, recognition banquets,
product launches, educational training sessions, seller-buyer meets,
service awards banquets, and entertaining in hospitality suites.
On-Premise Catering
All of the required functions and services that the caterers
execute are done exclusively at their own facility. For instance, a
caterer within a hotel or banquet hall will prepare and cater all of the
requirements without taking any service or food outside the facility.
Many restaurants have specialized rooms on-premise to cater to the
private-party niche. A restaurant may have a layout strategically
designed with three separate dining rooms attached to a centralized
commercial food production kitchen. These separate dining rooms
are available at the same time to support the restaurant’s operation
and for reservation and overflow seating. In addition, any of the three
dining rooms may be contracted out for private-event celebrations
and may require their own specialized service and menu options.
Other examples of on-premise catering include hospital catering,
school, University/ college catering.

Off-Premise Catering

Off-premise catering is serving food at a location away from
the caterer’s food production facility. One example of a food
production facility is a freestanding commissary, which is a kitchen
facility used exclusively for the preparation of foods to be served at
other locations. Other examples of production facilities include, but
are not limited to, hotel, restaurant, and club kitchens. In most cases
there is no existing kitchen facility at the location where the food is
served. Caterers provide single-event foodservice, but not all
caterers are created equal. They generally fall into one of three
categories:
Party Food Caterers:
Party food caterers supply only the food for an event. They
drop off cold foods and leave any last-minute preparation,
plus service and cleanup, to others.
Hot Buffet Caterers:
Hot buffet caterers provide hot foods that are delivered from
their commissaries in insulated containers. They sometimes
provide serving personnel at an additional charge.
Full-Service Caterers:
Full-service caterers not only provide food, but frequently
cook it to order on-site. They also provide service personnel
at the event, plus all the necessary food-related equipment—
china, glassware, flatware, cutleries, tables and chairs, tents,
and so forth. They can arrange for other services, like décor
and music, as well. In short, a full-service caterer can plan
and execute an entire event, not just the food for it.

CATERING SEGMENTS

Catering management is executed in many diverse ways
within each of the four segments. The first, commercial segment,
traditionally considered the profit generating operation, includes the
independent caterer, the restaurant caterer, and the home-based
caterer. In addition, hotel / motel and private club catering operations
are also found in this category.
FOOD SERVICE CATERING INDUSTRY
Military
Segment
Commercial
Segment Non-commercial Segment
1. Military
Functions
2. Diplomatic
Functions
1. Independent
Caterers
2. Hotel / Motel
Caterers
3. Private Clubs
4. Restaurant /
Catering Firms
1. Business / Industry Accounts
2. School Catering
3. Health Care Facilities
4. Transportation Catering (in-flight
catering)
5. Recreational Food Service
(amusement and theme parks,
conference and sport arenas)
6. College and University Catering
7. Social Organizations (fraternal
and social clubs)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CATERING INDUSTRY

The food service industry (catering industry in British English)
encompasses those places, institutions and companies that provide
meals eaten away from home. This industry includes restaurants,
schools and hospital cafeterias, catering operations, and many other
formats, including ‘on-premises’ and ‘off-premises’ caterings.
Catering is a multifaceted segment of the food service
industry. There is a niche for all types of catering businesses within
the segment of catering. The food service industry is divided into
three general classifications: commercial segment, noncommercial
segment, and military segment. Catering management may be
defined as the task of planning, organizing, controlling a n d
executing. Each activity influences the preparation and delivery of
food, beverage, and related services at a competitive, yet profitable
price. These activities work together to meet and exceed the
customer’s perception of value for his money.

INTRODUCTION TO HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY

Hospitality is probably the most diverse but specialized
industry in the world. It is certainly one of the largest, employing
millions of people in a bewildering array of jobs around the globe.
Sectors range from the glamourous five-star resort to the less
fashionable, but arguably more specialised, institutional areas such
as hospitals, industrial outfits, schools and colleges. Yet of these
many different sectors, catering has to be the most challenging.
Whatever the size of the catering operation, the variety of
opportunities available is endless. “The sky is the limit with catering”.

Monday, May 24, 2010

SHERRY

Pairing Sherry with Food:

Anything with nuts in it probably has a friend in some sort of sherry. Finos and Manzanillas make great aperitifs, and match perfectly with many tapas and hors-doevres such as olives, shrimp, nuts, and hard cheeses; light Manzanillas are also a hit with raw oysters. Amontillados are a little more robust; I find they're great with creamy soups like chowders and bisques and may be the best sherry for main courses like game birds and white meats generally. Oloroso, Cream, and Pedro Ximenez Sherries can all work with a variety of desserts, and the latter also complements blue cheeses like Cabrales or Valdeon very well. A dry Oloroso or even a Palo Cortado can also suit beef dishes; although they lack tannins that would cut through fattiness, their inherent intensity often balances well and the Oloroso's flavor can add depth to the meat

SHERRY

Some Thoughts on Serving Sherry

While most people have a good idea how to store and serve red and white table wines, sherry sometimes trips them up. In fact, poor service and storage is one of the reasons sherry is less popular than it deserves. Here are some guidelines to help you get the most out of drinking sherry.
Temperature: Finos, and Manzanillas should be served chilled, as should Amontillados and Palo Cortados, if somewhat less so. Opinion is divided on Olorosos, and I tend to let the occasion dictate; in warmer weather I prefer to chill it ever so slightly. Cream sherries are drank at all sorts of temperatures, even on the rocks with a slice of lemon. This is in keeping with their commercial character; the more ways that can be recommended to serve a drink, the more occasions a consumer might purchase it. If for some reason I have to drink a poor-quality cream sherry - for politeness' sake, let's say - I try to drink it as cold as possible to mask its flaws as much as possible.
Glasses: Because it is fortified and therefore stronger than many wines, sherry is usually served in small, tulip-shaped glasses. The traditional variety is called a copita. However, I must admit that at home I drink it from a larger Chardonnay glass so I don't have to go to the fridge so often.
Storing: Sherry has had all the aging it needs before it is released. The richer styles will last quite some time in an unopened bottle, but will not perceptibly improve from the experience. Finos and Manzanillas are much more delicate and should be drunk as soon as possible after purchase as they tend to lose their freshness just as many crisp, light, unfortified white wines do. Some experts even suggest confirming that your local supplier moves enough sherry to ensure that the bottles haven't been sitting around the store too long.
There is a common misperception that sherry, once opened, remains fresh for quite some time, like some other fortified wines (madeira, for example) and liquors. This is unfortunately not the case, and another reason that sherry is not as popular as it deserves to be with Americans is that they try it at a restaurant that has kept a bottle of Fino sitting on the bar for several months developing dust on the bottle like a reminder of the flor that once helped make the wine great. In restaurants it is definitely important to order sherry at a place that takes wine seriously and sells a fair amount of sherry. They should keep their finos and mazanillas chilled and ideally use some sort of vacuum stopper to help protect the wine once it has been opened.
At home try to finish a bottle of any of the drier sherries within a few days, and keep the wine refrigerated and stoppered after opening. Amontillados, Olorosos and Cream sherries will last much longer whether chilled or otherwise; usually a couple of months or so. This makes them a safer bet in restaurants that may not sell too much sherry generally.

SHERRY

Sherry and Food

Sherry is a blended wine of several years, not a single vintage. The differences between the various types of Sherry are much more marked that those of table wines from the same bodega with different vintages.
The diversity of Sherry makes it difficult to acquire a good knowledge of them, which is in itself a challenge to any gourmet.
Sherry has traditionally been thought of as an aperitif, but its diversity gives it an amazing versatility and makes it perfectly adaptable to different events and meals. There's a Sherry for every occasion:
Fino
Fino is pale straw colored, with a delicate crisp aroma (nutty), dry and light on the palate, and aged under "flor". Ideal with "tapas" and to accompany soups, seafood, fish, ham and mild cheese. It must be served chilled.
Manzanilla
Exclucively from the bodegas of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where it is aged under "flor". Manzanilla is straw colored, has a crisp aroma, and is dry and light on the palate. Ideal with all sorts of "tapas" or to drink with soups, seafood, fish, ham and mild cheese. It must be served chilled.
Amontillado
Amber in color, naturally dry but with a deep fresh nutty aroma. Smooth and full-bodied on the palate. Besides being a perfect aperitif, it's a good match for fowl, stronger tasting fish and ripened cheese.
Oloroso
Initially dry, amber-mahogany in color, with a strongly fragrant aroma as its name implies. Full-bodied (nutty). Oloroso is very good before meals, and ideal to accompany game and red meats.
Pale Cream
A smooth wine of pale or very pale color, with a crisp aroma, and a sweet taste. It is an excellent companion to fois-gras or a fresh fruit salad.
Cream
Cream Sherry is an Oloroso sweetened with rich Pedro Ximenez. Its color is dark of very dark mahogany. Its aroma is rounded, crisp and velvety being full-bodied on the palate. It's the ideal type of Sherry to accompany desserts

SHERRY

The Varieties of Sherry

Here are the various types of Sherry, depending on the evolution of the "veil of flor"
(Editor's Note: For those less familiar with true sherry, it's important to note that, aside from the Pedro Xinemez, none of these wines are usually sweet. The "Cream" sherries one sees outside of Spain are blends sweetened especially for the export market, which is why Mr. Benito does not address them. The Cream style was developed to cater to the 19th century British market; while there are some quality wines made in this style, by-and-large these wines have only hurt the reputation of sherry abroad):

FINO: The most popular and delicate of the sherries. Finos are made with 100% Palomino grapes and develop and retain the veil of flor for their entire aging process. Usually the flor does not provide a hermetic seal, so some oxidation occurs which gives the fino a marked and penetrating aroma.
MANZANILLA: A fino, but made in the bodegas in Sanlucar de Barrameda, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir river. Here the humidity pretty much guarantees a permanent cap of flor that insulates the wine, making this the palest and lightest of the sherries, with a very characteristic iodine note.
AMONTILLADO: A wine that starts being aged as a fino, but which loses its veil of flor during the solera aging process and so is fortified and aged oxidatively (exposed to the air). This gives the wine greater acidity and a darker, golden shade; sharp notes of dried fruits stand out on the nose, with a fuller body than a fino.
MANZANILLA PASADA: Made in the same manner as the Amontillado of Jerez, but more elegant, but less well-known; like Manzanilla, it is made exclusively in Sanlucar de Barrameda.
OLOROSO: This wine is fortified early on to 18% alcohol, and so never develops any flor. All the aging is oxidative and lasts much longer - it usually takes at least 10 years before the wine is brought together into the solera process. Complex and full-bodied, with a dark, mahogany color, olorosos show notes of walnuts and hazelnuts.
PALO CORTADO: This is an oloroso with very special characteristics; it begins by "wanting" to be a fino; the flor develops, but falters and so the wine evolves into an amontillado. Then the winemaker decides to age the wine extensively, like an oloroso. This wine earns its name when the winemaker marks the cask by cutting (cortado= cut) a mark on the cask to set it apart for this prolonged aging. They are classified with one, two, three, or four cuts depending on the wine's age. A joy.
PEDRO XIMENEZ: A wine made solely from grapes of the same name, the grape clusters are picked, raisinated in the sun and then collected again; this process concentrates the richness of the sugars. During fermentation a neutral grape brandy is added to the must which stops fermentation with some residual sugar remaining. The result is a sweet fortified wine which is then aged to balance the wine. These wines are smooth and velvety on the palate, with a refreshing acidity.

The wines of Montilla-Moriles are classified in the same manner as those of Jerez with the notable exception that they are made with the Pedro Ximenez grape, which does not need to be fortified to develop the veil of flor. This difference means some subtle differences such as more body, smoothness, and some bitterness. Some of the Pedro Ximenez (P.X.) sweet wines made here are truly spectacular, above all in special vintages like the 1939.
Sherry is a very special and often under-valued contribution to the world of wine which regales our senses and enchants us with its extraordinary character.

SHERRY

Quality Control

All wines entitled to carry the label Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and Sanlúcar de Barrameda are protected by the Denomination of Origin that guarantees their control from vine to bottle.
The Romans were the first to establish control over our wines, making it compulsory for the amphorae containing wine from the region to be marked with four "A"s. In 1483, the town council of Jerez issued decrees governing the export of wines and rasins and establishing the laws that should control the production and ageing of wine, the characteristics of the casks and the wood they should be made, as well as rules for grape harvesting and transportation. Only casks which complied with these regulations could be marketed with the town seal as a guarantee of quality.
On 27 October, 1733, the Consejo Real de Castilla (The Royal Council of Castille) endorsed the Decrees of the Wine Trade Guild regulating the storage, ageing and transport of wines from the the called Xerez (Sherry), even establishing a register of inns authorized to dispense Sherry.
Finally, in January 1935 the Consejo Regulador of the Denomination of Origin Jerez-Xérès-Sherry was created.

SHERRY

Ageing

Sherry is aged by an original system called "criaderas y solera" in American oak casks of 600 liters, filled to 5/6ths capacity. While in other Denominations (D.O.) the casks are hermetically sealed, in Jerez they are open to allow the wine to be aired by the southwest breezes which, when in contact with the natural yeasts of the Palomino grape, form a veil of growing yeast or "flor" that isolates the wine from the air, thus giving it its characteristic nutrients, aroma and taste.
Sherry butts (casks) are stacked in at least three rows. The first row (solera), that is nearest to the floor, contains the oldest wine ready to be drawn for bottling. The quantity that has been taken from the bottom row (solera) is replaced from the row above (1st criadera), which is refilled in turn from the row above (2nd criadera), and so on until the youngest criadera is topped off with carefully selected "new" wine.
All sherry wines must age for at least three years - the minimum for Finos and Manzanillas. Amontillados are left to age for (at least 5 years), and Olorosos 7 years.

SHERRY

The Solera

Flor is the first element unique to sherry; the solera aging system is the second. This special aging method was thought up to balance the characters of the different wines. In principle, long lines of casks are stacked on top of each other at least three casks high. This stack is called the solera, and each layer of barrels is called a criadera. When the time comes to bottle the wine, one third of the contents of the lowest cask in the solera is siphoned off; the cask is then topped off with the same amount of wine from the cask immediately above it in the solera. Similarly, each criadera is replenished with wine from the "younger" criadera above it. The barrels at the top of the solera are topped off with wine from the most recent vintage. This process unifies the aromas and provides a consistency which makes them unique.
The Finos are required to pass through a minimum of three criaderas before bottling, but it is possible to find complex soleras with as many as 14 levels. If the flor dies during the solera aging process the wine becomes an amontillado. It is refortified to prevent future flor development and transferred to a separate solera for further aging.

SHERRY

The Veil of Flor

When fermentation has finished, the wine has reached a minimum of 13.5% alcohol; the wine is racked into 500 liter casks, but they are not filled to the top as they would be in almost any other wine region of the world. Inside the cask an unusual biological aging begins under what is known as the "veil of flor," a white cap resembling foam which forms on the surface of the wine. However, for this to occur the wine must possess between 15% and 17.5% alcohol, so in Jerez and Manzanilla the winemaker fortifies it with neutral grape brandy; in Montilla-Moriles this higher level of alcohol is reached naturally during fermentation as the Pedro Ximenez grape ripens to a higher level of sugars than Palomino. The cap of flor only forms in the very particular climate of the southwest of Andalucia; humidity is a fundamental factor, and the sherry casks are left open inside the bodega to promote flor growth. For the same reason the bodegas are not cellars but are instead at ground level. Flor is actually a form of yeast; it absorbs any remaining sugars in the wine while lowering volatile acidity and glycerine. At the same time it also increases aromatic esters and aldehydes that give sherry its characteristic aromas.
Each wine will become quite different according to their individual evolutions in the cask. Here the winemaker has many different classifications to choose from, deciding which will become the finest and most elegant wine. Those with an abundance of flor are destined to become "fino" sherries, but may become classified as amontillados instead, depending on their future aging. The casks which do not develop enough flor, or whose quality is otherwise insufficient, are used to make olorosos; they are fortified again up to 18% alcohol (flor can not survive at more than 17.5%) and are aged in separate casks.

SHERRY

Grape Varieties

The viticulture of Jerez is practically mono-varietal. 95% of the vines are of the Palomino grape variety, which was brought to the region by Yañez Palomino, a knight in Alfonso X The Wise's court, after the conquest of Jerez in 1264 A.D.
The Pedro Ximenez grape was brought from Germany to the region by Pieter Siemens, a German soldier from the Flanders Regiment. Over time the name "Siemens" was corrupted into "Xímenez".
Finally there's the Moscatel grape, a variety common to both French (Muscat), and Spanish denominations.

SHERRY

The Soil

El Marco's soil is a chalky composition of earth know as "albariza" (alba means white in Latin). This is a white organic marl, formed by sediments of an inland sea that covered the area in the Oligocene era.
Albariza soil is rich in organic remains (shells, sea urchins, starfish ..) which explains its great fertility. It also has a great capacity to retain moisture, storing the winter rainfall to sustain the vines during the long dry season.
The Jerez growers plant their vines on low ridges of albariza, facing southwest.

SHERRY

The Climate

El Marco's climate is southern one, with mild winters and hot summers. The average temperature is 17.5º C (63.5º F), although in July and August the vine endures temperatures well above 40º C (104º F!). The southwest wind off the Altantic brings the vines the right amount of moisture, especially during the summer at dawn.
The annual average rainfall is 600 liters/square meter (23.64"). These are just the right conditions for the vines to thrive, and for the grapes to ripen easily.

SHERRY

Sherry Wine Information


Jerez is locateded, in Andalucia, southwest Spain. Sherry, at the time a simple red wine, was started by the Phoenicians here around 1100 BC, and the practice was continued by the Romans. The Arabs invaded in 711, renaming the town here 'Sherish'. This became 'Jerez'. And so a tradition was born.
The Region
The cradle of Sherry is a region roughly triangular in shape, with vertices at Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
The region, locally known as "el Marco", is limited on the north by the river Guadalquivir, to the south by the river Guadalete, to the east by longitude 6º5' West, and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean.
El Marco covers contains some 11,250 hectares (27,800 acres) of vineyards.

SHERRY



The History

It was the Roman historian Avienus who first wrote about the wines of Jerez and stated that there were already vines in the region in the fifth century B.C. He said that it was the Phoenicians who, around the year 1,100 B.C. introduced the first vines fron the land of Caanan into the region.
In the year 138 B.C. the region was conquered by Escipion Emiliano, from that date on, and for 500 years, there were wine exports to Rome with an annual average of some 8 million liters, an extrordinary amount for that time. Recent excavations have shown that the Monte Testaccio in Rome is nothing but an immense pile of amphorae that contained either Sherry or olive oil from the region, each with its corresponding identity seal.
The Arabs settled in Jerez from 711 until 1264 A.D. They renamed the town Sherish, hence the english word Sherry by which the British, who have been buying "Jerez" ever since the XIth century know these wines.
In 1264 A.D. King Alfonso X conquered the town. The Wise King, as he was called had his own vineyards that he like to cultivate himself. At the end of the XVIIth century, the first foreign investments took place in the area of Sherry production. English, Scottish, Irish, French and Dutch investors established their own bodegas, thus emphasizing the international reputation of our wines.

Monday, May 17, 2010

OTHER SPIRITS - SLIVOVITZ

This is one of our best selling Slivovitz. Made from fine plums from Croatia, produced by means of traditional method of distililng fresh and ripe plums. This fresh plum distillate is then aged in wooden casks made of Slavonian Oak.

The result of lovingly and carefully tended vineyards, of knowledge and great experience in distillation and strong tradition of supreme brandy production. This superb brandy lends itself well after a fine meal and good conversation.

Flores Zuta Oza Slivovitz

The leading product of the company was released under the name "Zuta Osa" -Yellow Wasp, a natural plum brandy with 45% alcohol, packed in original, brown glass bottles of 0.75 liters. In spite of all events in the past ten years, it is sold with a reputation of the best plum brandy in the international market. In all leading exhibitions and fairs throughout the world, it won 13 gold medals. Yellow Wasp is a premium brand of plum brandy, prepared and aged according to traditional distilling recipes passed from father to son in "master distiller" families of Southeastern Europe over hundreds of years.

Jelinek Slivovitz

The history of brandy distillation goes back some 400 years in Vizovice. At the beginning of the 18th century some people came to realize that plums too are suitable for making quality brandies. The overproduction of plums had motivated local farmers to establish in 1894 the distillery in Vizovice called Rolnick? akciov? z?od ovocn?sk?- RAZOV. In 1934 has been bought this company by Mr. Rudolf Jel?ek. This year, therefore, originated the Rudolf Jel?ek brand. In the present offers the company RUDOLF JEL?NEK a.s. the complete series of branded fruit distilleries, which are produced by the traditional progressions. The association of friends the Jel?ek's brandy was festive established on 25th of August 2000 in the new opened Jel?ek's room in the area of Vala?k? ?nk in Vizovice. The founder of The association is the company RUDOLF JEL?NEK a.s. Vizovice, which is also its organizer. The member of The association of friends the Jel?ek's brandy could be everybody, who profess the quality Jel?ek's brandy and who endorses with.

OTHER SPIRITS - SCHNAPPS

Schnapps is a type of distilled beverage. The word Schnapps is derived from the German word Schnaps.

There are two different types of Schnapps. The first one is the traditional German kind. In Germany itself, as well as in Austria and the German-speaking part of Switzerland, the spelling Schnapps is virtually unknown and Schnaps, as a purely colloquial term, can refer to any kind of unsweetened distilled beverage. Outside of German-speaking countries, German Schnapps refers to usually clear alcoholic beverages distilled from fermented cereals, roots or fruits, including cherries, apples, pears, peaches, plums and apricots. Often, the base material for making schnapps is the pulp that is a by-product in juice production. True Schnapps has no sugar or flavoring added. Traditional German Schnapps is similar in flavor and consistency to vodka, with light fruit flavors, depending on the base material. The alcohol content is usually around 40% by volume or 80 proof.

The second type of Schnapps is of American origin. These distilled beverages are liqueurs, such as peach schnapps and butterscotch schnapps. They can be the result of differing processes that do not involve direct fermentation. Some of these use a primary alcohol, such as schnapps, vodka or rum, to extract flavors out of fruit. Often, additional ingredients are added, most commonly sugar. The alcohol level of these schnapps may be only half that of the German kind, usually around 20% by volume or 40 proof. Because of the wide variety of Schnapps (or Schnapps-imitative) flavours available, it has been spoofed in several ways. In an episode of the program South Park, a fictional flavor called "S'more Schnapps" is released; and in the film Little Nicky one of the characters shows a penchant for Peppermint Schnapps. The 1984 snap election in New Zealand was dubbed the 'schnapps election' by Tom Scott, in reference to Prime Minister Robert Muldoon calling the aforementioned election while he was drunk. It's also mentioned a lot of times on the sitcom Seinfeld, being the key to open Elaine's "vault".

OTHER SPIRITS - SAKE

Sake barrels at Itsukushima ShrineSake (Japanese: ; pronounced IPA: [s?.k?] Listen?) is a Japanese word meaning "alcoholic beverage", which in English has come to refer to a specific alcoholic beverage brewed mainly from rice, and known in Japan as nihonshu (??? "Japanese alcohol"). This article uses the word "sake" as it is used in English.

Sake is widely referred to in English as "rice wine". However, this designation is not entirely accurate. The production of alcoholic beverages by multiple fermentation of grain has more in common with beer than wine. Also, there are other beverages known as "rice wine" that are significantly different than nihonshu.

OTHER SPIRITS - PULQUE

Pulque, or octli, is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of the maguey, and is a traditional native beverage of Mesoamerica.

A Six pack of Agave Pulque.The maguey plant is not a cactus (as has sometimes been mistakenly suggested) but an agave, elsewhere called the "century plant". The plant was one of the most sacred plants in Mexico and had a prominent place in mythology, religious rituals, and Meso-American industry.




Pulque is depicted in Native American stone carvings from as early as 200 AD. The origin of pulque is unknown, but because it has a major position in religion, many folk tales explain its origins. According to pre-Columbian history, during the reign of Tecpancaltzin, a Toltec noble named Papantzin found out how to extract aguamiel from the maguey plant. Prior to the Spanish conquest, the Aztecs consumed it at religious ceremonies.

Pulque is made in the following fashion: When the plant's flower stem shoots up, it is hollowed in the centre, normally 8 to 10 years are required for the plant to mature to the point where this can be done. The juice, aguamiel, that should have supplied the flowers is taken from it daily, for a period of about two months. The aguamiel is then fermented, (usually in large barrels inside in a building known as a tinacal which is specially reserved for pulque fermentation) after which it is immediately fit for drinking. Pulque is usually sold directly in bulk from the tinacal or by the serving a version of a cantina known as a pulqueria. Traditionally in pulquerias, pulque is served a glass known as a tornillo (screw, for its shape) or a bowl known as a jicara.

Pulque is still made and drunk in limited quantities in parts of Mexico today. However, because it cannot easily be stored or preserved (its character and flavor change over a short period of storage time, as little as a day), it is not well known outside the country. A process for preserving and canning pulque has been developed, and now canned pulque is being exported to the US in limited quantities (see photo), the alcohol content of the canned product is 5%. Aficionados of pulque usually consider canned inferior to the fresh product.

Often pulque is mixed with fruit juices such as mango and pineapple to render it palatable to those who do not appreciate its unusual flavor.

OTHER SPIRITS - POTEEN

Poteen is a kind of Irish, Irish whiskey, Irish whisky — made in Ireland chiefly from barley

OTHER SPIRITS - POIRE WILLIAMS

Type: Brandy, unaged
Also known as
Pear brandy
Description:Generic for French pear eau de vie, distilled from Williams pears, and of some fame. Strong, and strongly-flavored. Often produced in a signature style whereby a live pear is grown in its bottle and filled with the distillate thereafter.
Flavor:pear
Availability
Generally available. Produced and sold in France. Known to be distributed in England, Europe and United States and parts of United Kingdom, Europe and North America. Regional. Available for on-line ordering in some markets.
Substitute other pear brandy

OTHER SPIRITS - PASTIS

A glass of diluted pastis
French Pastis: Pastis is an anise-flavored liqueur and apéritif from France, typically containing 40-45% alcohol by volume, although there exist alcohol-free varieties.

When absinthe was banned in France in 1915, the major absinthe producers (then Pernod and Ricard, who have since merged as Pernod Ricard) reformulated their drink without the banned wormwood component, a heavier focus on the aniseed flavor using more star anise, sugar and a lower alcohol content creating pastis, which remains popular in France today. Pastis has changed considerably since its first creation based on market preference.

Pastis is normally diluted with water before drinking (generally 5 volumes of water for 1 volume of pastis). The resulting decrease in alcohol percentage causes some of the constituents to become insoluble, which changes the liqueur's appearance from dark transparent yellow to milky soft yellow. The drink is consumed cold, with ice, and is considered a refreshment for hot days. Ice cubes can be added after the water to avoid crystallization of the anethol in the pastis. However, many pastis drinkers refuse to add ice, preferring to drink the beverage with cool spring water.

Although it is consumed throughout France, especially in the summer, pastis is generally associated with southeastern France, especially with the city of Marseille, and with the clichés of the Provençal lifestyle, like pétanque.

Some well known cocktails use pastis and syrups:

• The perroquet (parrot) with green mint syrup
• The tomate (tomato) with grenadine syrup
• The mauresque (moorish) with orgeat syrup

OTHER SPIRITS - OUZO

The history of ouzo is somewhat murky, but some claim it may date back in one form or another to ancient times. Its precursor is tsipouro (or as it is known by Easterners as raki), a drink distilled throughout the Byzantine [1] and later Ottoman Empires, often in those days of quality approaching moonshine (similar liquors in Turkey and many Arab countries still go by that name).

Modern ouzo distillation largely took off in the 19th century following Greek independence, with much production centered on the island of Lesbos, which claims to be the originator of the drink and remains a major producer. In 1932, ouzo producers developed the method of distillation using copper stills, which is now considered the canonically proper method of production. One of the largest producers of ouzo today is Varvayiannis (?a?ßa???????), located in the town of Plomari in the southeast portion of the island. While another producer on the mainland of Greece is Ch. Pavlides Brothers. (Older people in Lesbos, still refer to ouzo as "raki")

Commonly, but not at all traditional in the western world, ouzo is served with cola either in premixed cans or bottles or simply mixed to the desired taste.

On October 25, 2006 Greece won the right to label ouzo as an exclusively Greek product. The European Union now recognizes ouzo, as well as the Greek drinks of tsipouro and tsikoudia, as 'geographically protected' products . The 'geographically protected' designation prohibits makers from outside of Greece to label their products with this name. Now, makers outside of Greece will need to use names like "Greek-style ouzo" instead of simply calling the product ouzo. This type of labeling can already be seen in other 'geographically protected' products like Feta cheese. If the Feta cheese is produced outside of Greece, it's labeled as "Greek-style feta".

OTHER SPIRITS - MEZCAL

Mezcal is a Mexican distilled spirit made from the agave plant. There are many different types of agaves, and each produces a slightly different mezcal. Agave is part of the Agavaceae family, also called maguey. While Tequila is a mezcal made only from the blue agave plant in the region around Tequila, Jalisco, spirits labeled "Mezcal" are often made using other agave plants.

Mezcal is made from the agave plant. After the agave matures (6-8 years) it is harvested by jimadores (field workers) and the leaves are chopped off using a long-handled knife known as a coa or coa de jima, leaving only the large hearts, or piñas (Spanish for "pineapple"). The piña is cooked and then crushed, producing a mash.


Baking and mashing

A distillery oven loaded with agave "pineapples", the first step in the production of tequila. Traditionally, the piñas were baked in palenques: large (8-12 ft diameter) rock-lined conical pits in the ground. The pits were lined with hot rocks, then agave leaves, petate (palm fiber mats), and earth. The piñas are allowed to cook in the pit for three to five days. This lets them absorb flavors from the earth and wood smoke.

After the cooking, the piñas are rested for a week, and then placed in a ring of stone or concrete of about 12 ft diameter, where a large stone wheel attached to a post in the middle is rolled around, crushing the piñas.

Modern makers usually cook the piñas in huge stainless steel ovens and then crush them with mechanical crushers.
Fermentation
The mash (tepache) is then placed in large, 300-500 gallon wooden vats and 5%–10% water is added to the mix. The government requires that only 51% of this mix be from agave. Cane and corn sugars, as well as some chemical yeasts, may also be added. It is then placed in large stainless steel vats, covered with petate and left to naturally ferment for four to thirty days.

Distillation and aging
After the fermentation stage is done, the mash is double-distilled. The first distillation yields ordinary low-grade alcohol. After the first distillation, the fibers are removed from the still and the resulting alcohol from the first distillation added back into the still. This mixture is distilled once again. Sometimes, water is then added to the mix to reduce the proof down to 80. At this point the mezcal may be bottled or aged.

Mezcal ages quite rapidly in comparison to other spirits. It is aged in large wooden barrels for between two months to seven years. During this time the mezcal acquires a golden color, and its flavor is influenced by the wooden barrels. The longer it is aged, the darker the color and more noticeable the flavor.

OTHER SPIRITS - KIRSCH

KIRSCH

kirsch is a kind of brandy — distilled from wine or fermented fruit juice

OTHER SPIRITS - GRAPPA

Grappa is a fragrant grape-based pomace brandy of between 40% and 60% alcohol by volume (80 to 120 proof), of Italian origin. Literally a word for "grape stalk", grappa is made by distilling pomace, grape residue (primarily the skins, but also stems and seeds) left over from winemaking after pressing. It was originally made to prevent wastage by using leftovers at the end of the wine season. It quickly became commercialised, mass-produced, and sold worldwide. The flavour of grappa, like that of wine, depends on the type and quality of the grape used as well the specifics of the distillation process.

In Italy, grappa is primarily served as a "digestivo" or after dinner drink. Its purpose is to aid in the digestion of the heavy Italian meals. Grappa may also be added to espresso coffee to create a caffè corretto. Another variation of this is the "amazza caffè" (literally, "coffee-killer"): the espresso is drunk first, followed by a few ounces of grappa served in its own glass.

Among the most well-known producers of grappa are Nonino, Sibona, Nardini and Jacopo Poli. While these grappas are produced in significant quantities and exported, there are many thousands of smaller local and regional grappas, all with distinct character.

Most grappa is clear, indicating that it is an un-aged distillate, though some may retain very faint pigments from their original fruit pomace. Lately, aged grappas have become more common, and these take on a yellow, or red-brown hue from the barrels in which they are serve.

OTHER SPIRITS - FRAMBOISE

A bottle of Lindeman's Framboise Lambic.Framboise (from the French word for raspberry) or Frambozenbier (Dutch) is a Belgian lambic beer that is fermented using raspberries. It is one of many modern fruitbeer types that have been inspired by the more traditional kriek beer, made using sour cherries.

Widely available in bars and pubs, these unique beers are usually served in a small glass that resembles a champagne class, only shorter. It has a sweet taste, with an aftertaste of "weak beer". This style is gradually becoming more common outside of Belgium; in many "posh" bars in Britain, you can now find raspberry and cherry flavoured-beer available in bottles, and occasionally even on tap. Some Belgian restaurants in North American and Europe also serve this beer. It can also be commonly found in supermarkets located in England, such as Sainsbury, ASDA, or Oddbins.










FRAMBOISE

Rasberry syrup, all natural
No additives
2 sizes available
Imported from France
Many flavors available

Product Description

Product Description
All natural strawberry syrup in an old-fashioned glass bottle (very decorative when empty, use for something else). Use this syrup in drinks, as a dessert topping, add to soda water for a refreshing lemonade, and of course use to make flavored ices. Manufactured in Morteau in the purest tradition, these syrups are made with natural extracts of fruits and plants. Their conservation is ensured thanks to the quantity of dissolved sugar of 800 grams per Liter.

OTHER SPIRITS - FENNY

Fenny is an Indian liquor made from either coconut or the juice of the cashew apple. Fenny (also feni) originated in Goa, and the Goan fenny is generally considered superior, with the best brand being "Big Boss" (available both in coconut and (slightly more expensive) cashew versions). The other popular brands of Fenny are 'Cashyo' (the makers of which spell it as feni) and 'Reals' (pronounced as Reaals). Feni made from the cashew apple is known as Kaju feni (cashew feni).

In the traditional method of making cashew feni, the cashew apples are manually crushed in a coimbi, a rock on the hill which is carved or shaped like a basin with an outlet for the juice. The juice is collected in a huge earthen pot called Kodem, which is buried in the ground. The juice is then distilled in earthen or copper pots.

When the cashew apples are crushed, the pulp is arranged in the shape of a cake in the coimbi and tied with a string. A huge boulder is then placed on top of it. The final quota of juice which trickles out in a clean form is called Neero. Many people like to drink Neero since it helps bowel movement and provides relief from constipation.

The traditional method of distilling cashew feni on the hill is very interesting to watch. The cashew juice is put in a big pot called Bhann. The Bhann serves as a closed boiler. It is connected to a smaller pot called Launni by means of a conduit. The Launni serves as a receiver or collector.

The juice in the big pot is then boiled by burning firewood under it. As the process of vaporisation and distillation goes on and the concentrated liquid collects in the smaller pot, the pressure in the receiver is kept in check by pouring cold water on it, typically with a wooden ladle. The first stage of processing may be done on big fire but the later stage of distillation has to be done on slow fire to keep the pressure and heat under control. The process of distilling feni with such apparatus takes about 8 hours and is locally called Bhatti.

One can tell from a distance that feni is being distilled since the surrounding area is filled with its aroma. And this aroma attracts many feni consumers, who halts in their tracks when their nostrils receive the smell.

The liquor produced from cashew is of three grades: Urrac, Cazulo and Feni. The Urrac is the product of first distillation. It is light and can be consumed neat. Its strength ranges between 14 and 16 grao. However, when consumed in excess, Urrac intoxicates the mind like any other hard liquor. The Urrac is said to go well with orange or lemon.

The Cazulo is the product of second distillation. It is moderately strong. The Cazulo can be consumed either neat or in a diluted form depending upon the lining and resistance of one’s alimentary tract. However it is not seen in the market today.

The product, which we get after the process of third distillation is called feni. Its strength ranges between 20 and 24 grao. It has a long shelf life. Now that the Cazulo is not made, feni is produced after second distillation itself. The second or third-hand feni is a product par excellence.

High-grade feni is 42% alcohol by volume. There are known to exist about 4,000 such traditional mini-distilleries or stills in Goa that manufacture cashew feni and about 2,200 manufacturing coconut feni. About 75% of stills making cashew feni are in north Goa and the rest are in south Goa. As far as the stills making coconut feni are concerned, south Goa has about 65% of them and the rest are in north Goa. This is an indication that north Goa abounds in cashew trees while south Goa has more coconut trees.

Fenny is often used in cocktails. Two common mixers are tonic water and lemonade, but it can also be enjoyed on its own, on the rocks, or perhaps with a slice of lime.

OTHER SPIRITS - CALVADOS (SPIRIT)

A bottle of calvados Pays D'AugeCalvados is an apple brandy from the French région of Lower Normandy.

HISTORY

Apple orchards and brewers are mentioned as far back as the 8th century by Charlemagne. The first known Norman distillation was carried out by ‘Lord’ de Gouberville in 1554, and the guild for cider distillation was created about 50 years later in 1606. In the 17th century the traditional ciderfarms expanded but taxation and prohibition of cider brandies were enforced elsewhere than Brittany, Maine and Normandy. The area called ‘Calvados’ was created after the French Revolution, but ‘Eau de vie de cidre’ was already called ‘calvados’ in common usage. In the 19th century output increased with industrial distillation and the working class fashion for ‘Café-calva’. When a phylloxera outbreak devastated vineyards calvados experienced a ‘golden age’. During World War 1 cider brandy was made for armaments. The appellation contrôlée regulations officially gave calvados a protected name in 1942. After the war many cider-houses and distilleries were reconstructed, mainly in the Pays d'Auge. Many of the traditional farmhouse structures were replaced by modern agriculture with high output. The calvados appellation system was revised in 1984 and 1996. Pommeau got its recognition in 1991; in 1997 an appellation for Domfront with 30% pears was created.


PROCESS OF FABRICATION

The fruit is picked and pressed into a juice that is fermented into a dry cider. It is then distilled into eau de vie. After two years aged in oak casks, it can be sold as Calvados. The longer it is aged, the smoother the drink becomes. Usually the maturation goes on for several years. A half-bottle of twenty-year-old Calvados can easily command the same price as a normal-sized bottle of ten-year-old Calvados.

Double and single distillation

A calvados pot stillThe appellation of AOC calvados authorizes double distillation for all calvados but it is required for the AOC calvados Pays d’Auge.

Double distillation is carried out in traditional alembic pot-still ‘l'alambic à repasse’ or ‘charentais’. Gives complex, delicate and rich fruity aromas with potential for longer aging.
Single continuous distillation in a column still. Gives a fresh and clean apple flavour but less complex flavour to evolve with longer aging.


Tasting
Calvados is the basis of the tradition of le trou Normand, or "the Norman hole". This is a small drink of Calvados taken between courses in a very long meal, sometimes with apple sorbet, supposed to re-awaken the appetite. Calvados can be served as aperitif, blended in drinks, between meals, as digestive or with coffee. Well-made calvados should naturally be reminiscent of apples and pears, balanced with flavours of ageing. You will notice that the less aged calvados distinguishes itself with its fresh apple and pear aromas. The longer the calvados is under the influence of oak, the more the taste resembles that of any other aged brandy. Older calvados get the colour of gold, darker brown with orange elements and red mahogany. The nose and palate is delicate with concentration of aged apples and dried apricots balanced with butterscotch, nut and chocolate aromas.

Producers
• Père Magloire
• Christian Drouin Coeur de Lion
• Comte Louis de Lauriston
• Lecompte
• Manoir d'Apreval
• Huet
• Charles de Granville
• Calvados Roger Groult
• Chateau du Breuil
• Coquerel
• Boulard
• Dupont
• Ferme du Ponctey

Calvados in popular culture
In the 1963 novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming, James Bond drinks a glass of ten-year-old Calvados.

Calvados is the main characters' favourite drink in Erich Maria Remarque's novel Arch of Triumph.

Calvados is often referred to in the writings of mystic George Gurdjieff.

Cornelius Bear is known to have a stash of several well-aged bottles of calvados in the webcomic Achewood.

OTHER SPIRITS - RAKI

Raki (Turkish raki IPA: [rak?]) is an anise-flavored apéritif that is produced by twice distilling either only suma or suma that has been mixed with ethyl alcohol in traditional copper alembics of 5000 lt volume or less with aniseed.[1] It is similar to several kinds of alcoholic beverages available in the Mediterranean and parts of the Balkans, including orujo, pastis, sambuca, ouzo, tsikoudia, tsipouro, and mastika. The general consensus is that all these liqueurs preceded arak, a similar arabic liqueur, but it remains a theory. In the Balkans, however, Raki refers to a drink made from distilled grapes or grape skins and pips, similar to Italian Grappa.

Raki-water, the national drinking tradition, is called Aslan Sütü, meaning Lion's Milk in Turkish, milk because of its color, and, lion as it stands for courageous, strong, a true man's beverage.


ETYMOLOGY

The word Raki itself derives from the Arabic ??? [?araq], other variants being Araka, Araki, Ariki[3]. There are many theories behind this beloved beverage's name. Araq means sweat in Arabic[4], which could refer to "condensate"[4]. or to that which makes one sweat (If one drinks too much raki one does sweat and when raki is being distilled it falls drop by drop like sweat).[5] It has also been suggested that the word may derive from Iraq-i, which could be translated into of-from Iraq.[6]. But the origins of the word remain a mystery.

History

Raki has been established in Greek territory since Byzantine times. Early references to Raki are made in numerous Byzantine manuscripts, one particular manuscript the Mount Athos Manuel (469) which dates from the eighth century mentions raki (that is raqi or alcohol) which is distilled four or five times.[7]

Until 19th century, meyhanes, mostly run by non-muslim Ottomans, would mainly serve wine along with meze. Although there were many Muslims among meyhane attendants, sharia authorities could, at times, persecute them. With the relatively liberal atmosphere of Tanzimat Turkey, meyhane attendance among Muslims rose considerably. However, believers would still approach wine with a certain suspicion. Raki, which at those times resembled arak, became a favourite among meyhane-goers. By the end of the century, raki took its current standard form and its consumption surpassed that of wine.

During the days of the Ottoman Empire raki was produced by distillation of grape pomace (cibre) obtained during wine fermentation. When the amount of pomace was not sufficient, alcohol imported from Europe would be added. If anise was not added, it would take the name düz raki ("straight raki") or douziko (in Greek). Raki prepared with the addition of gum mastic was named sakiz rakisi or mastika, especially produced on the island of Tenedos.

Mustafa Kemal (later to have his surname Atatürk), the founder of the Turkish Republic, had a great appreciation for the liquor and consumed vast quantities of it. During the first years of the Republic, the grape alcohol (named suma) began to be directly distilled from grapes by the state-owned sprits monopoly, Tekel. With the increasing sugar beet production, Tekel also began to distill the alcohol from molasses. A new brand of raki with an amount of sugar beet alcohol was called Yeni Raki ("New Raki"). Molasses gave raki the famous bitter taste and helped it to become a table drink.






Types

The standard raki is a grape product, though it may also be produced from various fruits. Raki produced from figs, particularly popular in southern provinces of Turkey, is called incir bogmasi, incir rakisi or, in Arabic, tini. Tekel ceased producing fig raki in 1947. However, to this day, it has been produced clandestinely.

Suma is generally produced from raisins but raki factories around established wine producing areas (Tekirdag, Nevsehir, Izmir) may also prefer to use fresh grapes additionally, which help to obtain a better quality. Recently, the types of raki produced from fresh grapes, called yas üzüm rakisi, have become quite popular. A recent brand, Efe Raki, was the first company to produce raki exclusively of fresh grape suma, called Efe Yas Üzüm Rakisi (Efe Fresh Grape Raki). Tekirdag Altin Seri (Tekirdag Golden Series) followed the trend and many others have been produced by other companies.

Dip Rakisi ("bottom raki") is the raki that is concentrated in the bottom layer of tanks during the standard production process. Bottom layer is the layer that is thought to capture the dense aroma and flavour of raki. It is named özel raki ("special raki") and it is not presented to general consumption but kept at raki factories as a prestigious gift.

BRANDS
The most well known brands are Yeni Raki and Tekirdag Rakisi from the region of Tekirdag, which is famous for its characteristic flavour. The secret of this flavour is the artesian water from Çorlu, used in the production. While Yeni Raki has an alcohol content of 45% and 1.5 grams of anise per litre, Tekirdag Rakisi has 0.2 grams more anise per litre. There are also two top-quality brands called Kulüp Rakisi and Altinbas with 50% alcohol. Yeni Raki contains about 20% sugar beet alcohol, the other brands of Tekel are produced only from suma. Today with the privatisation of the state-owned sprit industry different producers and brands emerged. There are currently a considerable number of different brands and types of raki available, including Efe Raki, Mercan Raki, Fasil Raki, Burgaz Raki. Sari Zeybek Rakisi, another recent brand, is kept in oaken aging barrels, which give the raki a distinctive golden colour.

Raki is served with white cheese, melon and meze.

OTHER SPIRITS - ARRACK

Arrack refers to the strong spirits distilled mainly in South and South East Asia from fermented fruits, grains, sugarcane, or the sap of coconuts or other palm trees. The word itself originated from the Arabic word 'araq', which means "juice". The name is said to signify, in the East, any spirituous liquor; but that which usually bears this name is toddy. Generally fermented from coconut sap today, it is then distilled to produce an alcoholic beverage that tastes somewhat like something between whiskey and rum. Originally from India, where it is distilled from Kallu, Arrack is mainly produced in Sri Lanka. It is generally distilled between 37% to 50% alcohol by volume (70 to 100 proof).

Arrack is traditionally taken straight or with water. Contemporarily it also often taken with ginger ale or soda, or as a component of various cocktails.


Batavia Arrack is used as a component in herb liqueurs, bitter liqueurs, in Swedish Punsch, but also used in the confectionery industry and the flavour industry. It is said that batavia arrack has a flavour enhancing application when used as a component in other products, as it's used in the herb and bitter liqueurs.

OTHER SPIRITS - AKVAVIT (AQUAVIT)

A bottle and glass of Linie brand akvavit. Akvavit, also known as aquavit or akevitt, is a Scandinavian distilled beverage of typically about 40% alcohol by volume. Its name comes from aqua vitae, the Latin for "water of life".


INGREDIENTS

Like vodka, it is distilled from potato or grain. It is flavoured with herbs such as caraway seeds, anise, dill, fennel, coriander, and grains of paradise, among others. The recipe differs between the different brands, but typically caraway is the dominating flavour. Akvavit usually has a yellowish hue, but is available in many colours, from clear to light brown depending on how long it has been aged in oak casks. Normally, darker colour suggests higher age or the use of young casks, but this may also come from the use of artificial colour (caramel - E150). Clear akvavits called Taffel akvavits are typically matured in old casks which doesn't colour the finished product.







ORIGIN AND TRADITIONAL VARIANTS


The earliest known reference to Akvavit is found in a 1531 letter from the Danish Lord of Bergenshus castle, Eske Bille to Olav Engelbretsson, the last Archbishop of Norway. The letter, accompanying a package, offers the archbishop "some water which is called Aqua Vite and is a help for all sort of sickness which a man can have both internally and externally."

While this claim for the medicinal properties of the drink may be rather inflated, it is a popular belief that akvavit will ease the digestion of rich foods. In Norway it is particularly drunk at celebrations, such as Christmas or May 17 (Norwegian Constitution Day). In Sweden it is a staple of the traditional midsummer celebrations dinner, usually drunk while singing one of many drinking songs. It is usually drunk as a snaps during meals, especially during the appetizer course— along with pickled herring, crayfish, lutefisk or smoked fish. In this regard it is popularly quipped that akvavit helps the fish swim down to the stomach. It is also a regular on the traditional Norwegian Christmas meals, including roasted rib of pork and stickmeat (Pinnekjøtt). It is said that the spices and the alcohol helps digest the meal which is very rich in fat.

Among the most important brands are Gilde and Løiten from Norway, Aalborg from Denmark and Skåne and O.P Andersson from Sweden. . While the Danish and Swedish variants are normally very light in colour, most of the Norwegian brands are matured in oak casks for at least one year and for some brands even as long as 12 years. While members of all three nations can be found to claim that "their" style of Akvavit is the best as a matter of national pride, Norwegian Akevitt tend to have, if not the most distinctive character, then at least the most overpowering flavour and deepest colour due to the aging process.

Particular to the Norwegian tratidion is the occurrence of Linie akvavits (such as "Løiten Linie" and "Lysholm Linie"). These have been carried in oak casks onboard ships crossing the equator ("Linie") twice before it is sold. While many experts claim that this tradition is little more than a gimmick, some argue that the moving seas and frequent temperature changes cause the spirit to extract more flavour from the casks. Norwegian akvavit distillers Arcus has carried out a scientific test where they tried to emulate the rocking of the casks aboard the "Linie" ships while the casks were subjected to the weather elements as they would aboard the same ship. The finished product was according to Arcus far from the taste that a proper "Linie" akvavit should have, thus the tradition of shipping the akvavit casks past the "Linie" and back continues.


AKVAVIT DRINKING CULTURE
There are several methods of drinking akvavit. It is surprisingly often shot a glass at a time, and although this is usually attributed to tradition, it is suspected that it has something to do with the fact that some people have problems with the spirit's special taste. Akvavit connoisseurs, on the other hand, tend to treat akvavit like fine whisky, sipping slowly away and delving into flavours and aromas.

Akvavit arguably complements beer better than many other spirits, and in a drinking situation, any quantity of akvavit is usually preceded (or succeeded) by a swig of beer. Enthusiasts generally lament this practice, claiming that the beer will ruin the delicately balanced flavour and aftertaste.

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