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Wine and Wasabi (and Cocktails) – A Start

Secret Origins

Food and everything around it has been on my mind for a while now, almost as long as time itself, as far as I am concerned. While W&W is relatively new, a vague shape was always there, slowly trying to come to life in me. From when I was in culinary school endless walks around a cold London and a need to keep myself entertained gave me opportunity to think about what I wanted to do with my passion, time, and life.

It came from being around a passionate, encouraging, positive, and talented milieu which opened my eyes to endless possibilities and exposure to the world at large.

On returning home inspired, I wanted to start this blog immediately, but couldn’t. What my partner and mum (who shall also be contributors here) thought was procrastination was simply a tiny voice in my heart and head that just wasn’t convinced. Nothing I came up with seemed like it was good enough. Something or other seemed off and I couldn’t commit.

I wanted everything to be perfect. For that, I needed to wait for the perfect first post, or the inspiration of it to strike like a bolt of lightning. I’m a romantic and dramatic. It was my version of a quest for a unicorn. I had committed to myself that I’d find it, and I’m nothing if not stubborn.

With time, W&W was born and became other things I hadn’t really imagined for it to be, or become. We began with organising themed pop-ups occasionally and then branched out to taking orders for baked goods. Along the way we’ve had a lot of fun on Instagram as well, for what it’s worth. All was well.

At least I was doing something I cared about and found fulfilling.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BedT8nZg4E1/

Secretly though, the stress of not finding this magical piece of content I wanted to share was getting to me; and to make matters worse, 2018 had begun and was starting to get weird.

Let’s talk a little about the year that has been:

2018, simply put, slowly but steadily turned to shit, and boy was it a roller-coaster ride, both in my personal as well as my professional lives. But from what I’ve gathered, I’m not alone.

It was terrible for most – both in general and also for the environment. As I sit and type this in a city where the air quality is increasingly hazardous, the only redeeming quality 2018 has to offer is that it is ending.

People have something new – another year and change to look forward to.

Hitting the Ground Running

In the course of all of this – my reading, cooking and all the content I consumed (also age, because let’s face it, at 23 my millennial mind is constantly anxious about starting all of this way too late) – that is to say, life, opened me up to a new school of thought:

What if the perfect first post was just a myth?

Yes, any friend of mine reading this is probably rolling their eyes and thinking ‘I told you so!’ but you’re not ready to listen till you’re ready. A lot of people reading this might relate to that, and otherwise. That’s the way I roll anyway, and I’ve made peace with that.

It’s had a lot to do with insecurities and fear and a severe lack of confidence, but I’ve finally come to accept that maybe it’s time to let the unicorn (much like the overdone trend) rest in peace.

So finally, after years of just thinking and planning, I’m putting myself and my first post out there.

Salud, 2019: Recipe for NY Cocktail

I’m dedicating it to beginnings. I grew up in a family where we spend the beginning of a year together, no matter how frugal or extravagant the celebration. The start of a new year means so much to so many people whether it’s a new chance or a starting point. It’s warm, and comforting and gets you smiling, just like the recipe that’s about to follow!

It’ll be short and simple, and a cocktail to make and celebrate with to ring in the new year, new beginnings or anything new really, just like this space and is meant to be a hopeful, no-nonsense but still exceptional tasting start.

Glass and bottle of wine with a peg measurer against a background with a cocktail glass full of red liquid (the cocktail).
Just the thing to ring in the new year. © Sulagna Maitra, 2019.

To make yourself one drink1, here’s what you’ll need:

Equipment:
– Peg measurer/digital scale
– Cocktail shaker
– Strainer
– Ice box
– Tongs
– Champagne glass2

Ingredients:
– 1.5fl oz/45ml cherry brandy
– 0.75fl oz/25ml port
– 0.75fl oz/25 ml orange juice
– 4fl oz/120 ml champagne

And here’s how to mix your very own new year’s cocktail:

  • Fill the shaker with ice (make your own, it’s free that way).
  • Measure and pour the brandy, port and orange juice into the shaker. It doesn’t need to be in any specific order, you’ll mix it.
  • Shake well. (there are tutorials on youtube on how to do it in entertaining ways in case you’re hosting or showing off at a party)
  • Strain into a champagne glass. I mean, you could use other glasses but if you’ve done this much, might as well make the full effort. (You can buy disposable ones online !)
  • Pop open a bottle of champagne (or prosecco, if you’re saving like me) and top it up till full.
  • Enjoy!
A closer look. © Sulagna Maitra, 2019

Good luck and cheers!

Notes, Facts, and Other Trivia:

1 – Strength – It is a relatively light cocktail and is about as strong as a wine concoction. It might affect people differently so err on the side of caution and give it a try before you take a call.

2 – Glass – There are several kinds of champagne glasses out there. I’d recommend one with a long stem and a fluted or a trumpeted design.

3 – Ingredient choices – You needn’t worry about the combination of the individual elements when purchasing. It should taste great no matter which way you decide both in terms of brands and/or price. Try for a sweeter port if you’re new to it.

4 – Alterations – One elevation you might want to consider is freshly squeezed orange juice, it does make a difference. But not the pulpy kind – nobody likes that. Garnishing is optional.

5 –Flavour – Fruity and clean both on the nose and the palette. Crisp and tart but so satisfying is my take on the notes.

Hope you try and like this as much as I did when experimenting in the kitchen. I also originally found this recipe and gave it a bit of a spin. As always, please make sure you’re of the legal drinking age of your country and that you are responsible. Don’t drink and drive, obviously.

Let us know what you thought, send pictures, tell us what you might want to see in the future, what you think needs improvement, etc.

Tl;dr We love feedback!

I’m starting somewhere, feeling hopeful and looking forward to sharing this journey with you!

Sulagna.

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