Tuesday, 10 June 2014

World Cup Drinking: Group D

Have you been living under a rock for the last few months? Is that rock situated at the bottom of the ocean in the middle of a shipwreck that's buried under 10 miles of sand? Well if that's the case then you may not know - THE WORLD CUP STARTS IN 2 DAYS!!

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be delving into what each nation has to offer, booze-wise. First up, I'll be looking at England's group. Now the patriotic fool in me is saying that obviously England are going to win the whole damn thing and we can finally back up our previous 48 years of bragging, or we'll at least get to the quarters and lose it on penalties but that's okay right because that's what England do?

But unfortunately, like most level headed football fans in this nation, I'm actually struggling to see how we're going to get out of the group. Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica each bring something to the table. But what would they bring to the table for a party?

Italy has a rich history in winemaking. One of the major players on the international football stage with four World Cup wins and a European Championship, they are also one of the major players in the wine world, making some of the finest wines from the Super Tuscans to the Barolos of Piedmont. But you're watching the football, you don't want to be sticking your nose in the glass for five minutes because you might miss an England goal (HA!).

You need something that's easy drinking but still quality. The Primitivo Natale Verga 2013 is perfect for football drinking. It's got layers of juicy red fruit, subtle dry spice and what's more, it's easy going. Currently on offer for £6.74 when you buy 2 from Majestic.

Uruguay is just emerging onto the wine map. Being the fourth biggest wine producer in South America and based on the fact that what I've had the pleasure of trying is phenomenal, it's hard to see why. Very unlike their football footprint.  Two World Cups, three fourth place finishes, Four Copa America wins and a couple of cheeky Olympic Gold Medals. Not to mention potentially fielding the Premier Leagues top scorer, The Mighty Luis Suarez (presuming he recovers from injury in time).

But what of the wine? Atlantico Sur Garzon Vineyard Maldonado Marselan 2013 is an unoaked, fruity and fresh wine. It's packed with ripe berry fruit and a fresh and a slight peppery touch. Very fresh and very approachable. £8.50 a bottle from The Wine Society.

Costa Rica could prove to be a tricky one, having qualified second in their CONCACAF qualification group. Not bad with the likes of Mexico and Honduras finishing behind them. However it's not just in the World Cup, but also in the drinks world. Not really massive on the wine scene, and with their local drinks being exactly that...local...it's hard to recommend a drink from here that is available in the UK. But fear not for I have come up with what I believe to be an adequate subsitution.

Guaro is the National drink of Costa Rica, it's similar to rum in that it's distilled from either sugar cane or molasses. It has a slightly sweeter taste and is 30% abv, so lower than rum. As I mentioned earlier, it's not available in the UK (I suppose you could make some at home...), so what can we be doing shots of whenever someone gets a card, scores or generally does something to warrant drinking, (which in football, is pretty much anything)?

Most white rums will do the job, but go for something a little bit sweeter such as Ron Pampero from Venezuela. It's also slightly weaker than most rums being only 37.5%. Yeah I know right? ONLY 37.5%! Currently it's only £18.25 from Master of Malt so not a bad price either!

So instead of sinking Lord knows how many tins of cheap watered-down swill-in-a-can this World Cup, see what each nation has to offer!

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