The Year in Food 2007

India’s a Classy Drunk

India has long consumed more whiskey than any other country in the world, but that has generally meant cheap brands from the India-based United Breweries Group (UB Group), which has a near choke hold on the nation’s alcohol market. But lately, the growing Indian middle class has begun to thirst for wine and fine spirits. Wine clubs have sprung up around the country, and high-end restaurants like Bangalore’s Olive Beach have started holding wine tastings to teach the moneyed classes the difference between a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sauvignon Blanc. And in July, the government slashed high tariffs on wine and spirit imports, paving the way for a rush of competing Australian Shirazes and Napa Valley Cabernets. Not to be outdone, the UB Group expanded into fancier quaffs, purchasing Scotch distiller Whyte & Mackay and announcing it would soon release a line of wines aimed at the newly chic called Zinzi. Meanwhile, a larger chunk of the population simply hoped to have clean drinking water one day. —Lessley Anderson