By Martin Isark
Any drinker trying to stick to their recommended daily allowance (two to three units for women, three to four for men) will be keeping an eye on the percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV) in their favourite beer or wine. But if you avoid every drink carrying a high ABV, you will miss out on some real gems.
Alcohol plays an important role in drinks: it helps to retain flavour in the glass and the mouth, so that the taste lingers on the palate long after the liquid is swallowed. The same product with a lower alcohol level – or with it taken out completely – will have much less flavour retention, and whatever flavour there is will disappear more quickly on the finish.
Our tastebuds respond well to smooth, velvety drinks, and alcohol is the major factor in giving the palate this mouth-feel: the higher the alcohol, the greater the effect. For some people, the down side to this extra silkiness is the increased fiery burn on the palate and the finish, especially in the case of the high octane spirits, but the extra flavour more than compensates for that.
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The Can I Eat It? Team are continually updating and adding more alcoholic drinks to the App’s database. If you have the Can I Eat It? App, you can put the drinks tasted on your iPhone by scanning or entering any of the barcodes below. You don’t have it yet! Download the app now.
Liefmans Kriek Cherry Fruit Beer, Alc 6%
Want to try one of the best Belgian Lambic fruit beers on the supermarket shelves? If the cherry flavour fits – put a bottle or pack in the trolley. Tasted by Martin Isark
Paul Blanck Gewurztraminer Alsace, Alc 14%
Gewurztraminer from the Alsace region delivers heady floral and lychee notes from sniff to swallow. Dry, but the pronounced flavours and high alcohol content present the palate with the impression that it’s off-dry. Complements cold meats and cheese well. Tasted by Martin Isark
Bonterra Vineyards Organic Zinfandel Mendocino California Alc 14.5%
Want a deep coloured red wine that’s going to complement gutsy, BBQ and spicy food? If the price fits – put a bottle in the trolley. Tasted by Martin Isark
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Blackfriars London Dry Gin Alc 43%
This high octane Gin presents a soft rounded palate with delicate juniper flavours. Works well neat or with a mixer. If the style, size and price fits – put a bottle in the trolley. Competing Brands: Tanqueray No 10, Gordon’s, Bombay Sapphire & Beefeater. Tasted by Martin Isark
Talisker 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky Island of Skye Alc 46%
Talisker is produced on the Island of Skye and it delivers pronounced peat, seaweed, salt and spicy notes. Try this – if you relish the taste of Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Caol Ila. Tasted by Martin Isark