Looking at the world through a glass yields some interesting discoveries: the ways brewing, winemaking and distilling have impacted culture – and created cultures of their own. The deep, shared passion that leads people to devote their whole lives to the perfect bottle. And the sheer pleasure of sipping the right drink at the right moment in your trip. We’ve gathered some of our favourite recent stories about travel and drink below.
Montreal restaurateur and sommelier Ryan Gray, co-owner of Elena, which was named one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants in 2018, has long-standing relationships with many Italian wineries – his restaurant is even named after Elena Pantaleoni, the winemaker at La Stoppa in Emilia-Romagna. In 2019, Gray shared some of his favourite wineries, from Piedmont to Sicily.
Great whisky takes time. At the 11 distilleries on the small island of Islay, in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, some of the world’s best-known scotch is created and perfected over the course of decades. Writer Jonah D. Campbell visited in 2017, exploring the island’s distilleries, meeting some of the locals and soaking up the unique landscape, which carries the character of the drinks that are made there.
In 2018, writer Nancy Matsumoto journeyed through four prefectures in Japan to explore an emerging movement: marrying the ancient culture of sake brewing with traditional French winemaking. The idea of terroir– the natural environment in which a French wine is produced – is finding its own analogue in Japanese sake brewers who have begun using locally grown rice and indigenous yeast to create new flavour profiles and character.
Where you find sugar cane growing, you’re likely to find rum being distilled as well. Writer Wayne Curtis and photographer Rush Jagoe went on an island-hopping adventure in our March 2018 issue to discover both traditional and new methods of making rum in the West Indies, discovering some memorable characters and delicious meals along the way.