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Drinking and learning at the same time

Bring wine, cocktail and spirit masterclasses into your living room.

With the current ban on dining in, you can have bespoke concoctions, hard-to-find wines and rare craft beers delivered to you. But instead of just guzzling them in the comfort of home, why not learn a bit more about what you’re drinking? Alcohol purveyors are jazzing up the home drinking experience with fun and educational programmes.

Meet the winemakers

Those who want to learn more about wine but never had the time to attend an in-depth tasting session can now do it via Vivant – an interactive platform that helps to demystify wine know-how through lively sessions, hosted by wine specialists.

Vivant is the brainchild of founder and CEO Michael Baum, an American tech entrepreneur and owner of Château de Pommard, in Burgundy. Established in 2019, it claims to be the first virtual wine experience platform streaming live and on-demand (pre-recorded) from wine regions around the world.

He says, “We started working on innovations to build a sustainable future for the wine industry. But to share our story with the world would mean travelling physically, adding to our carbon footprint. So we challenged ourselves to create the magic of visiting a chateau, but online.”

Mr Baum adds, “We created a new platform where people can meet responsible winemakers and taste their wines alongside expert wine advisers, no matter where they are. We invested heavily to create a sophisticated platform for Live Experiences where participants interact and engage actively instead of just watching a masterclass.”

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    Try wines, beers and spirits via samples and selections from Vivant (above), Bad Decisions and Spiffy Dapper along with expert advice online.

Vivant’s wine advisers will share how to evaluate the range of organic or biodynamic wines, made with minimal intervention.

Tasting Kits in 100ml tubes (by-the-glass format), are couriered to your doorstep.

If you enjoy the tasting portions, full-sized bottles can be ordered and delivered too.

Recently, Vivant 2.0 was launched with new interactive features and six new experience categories: Essentials, Travel, Tasting, Spotlight, Food & Wine, Music & Wine.

You’ll get to taste sustainably-made wines and “meet” their producers in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Alsace, Loire, Champagne and Provence. Experiences to the Rhône, Italy and Spain will be introduced soon.

Users can have complimentary access to their first three experiences, purchase tasting kits and wines without a membership.

Members who pay S$19 per month or S$199 annually have unlimited access to all the Vivant experiences and 10 per cent savings on tasting kit and wine purchases.

For more details: www.vivant.eco

(Related: How CEO and co-founder of Endless West Alec Lee is tearing up the whiskey rule book and making his own)

Good choices for beer

Bad Decisions Imports was started in 2021 by beer advocates Christian Young, Shuo Koh and Chris Hallberg, who have collectively worked in the beer industry for over 20 years. Their goal is simple – to share their passion with beer lovers in Singapore. They want to make beer intriguing and accessible for everyone, by encouraging learning as well as enjoyment, through a series of curated beer boxes and masterclass events.

Mr Hallberg says: “We pride ourselves on being the most knowledgeable beer importer in Singapore that offers the highest quality goods. We also want to bridge the gap between beer experts and beginners, and help educate the community.”

Despite their quirky branding, the team strives to import the best products from around the world. “We want to take away the uncertainty of purchasing the wrong beer – or worse, not purchasing at all,” adds Mr Hallberg. To address this, the team aims to hold monthly masterclasses, to get people interested in learning the finer details of beer. They have launched the new “Little Black Box of Bad Decisions,” featuring two different boxes and selections each month.

The box contents will change monthly, and feature craft beers from both sought-after regions as well as places that may not be known for craft beers – yet are considered some of the best in the world.

The August box, for example, focuses on beers from America, particularly Hazy IPA, a beer style that’s been highly popular the last few years. “We will be going through the history of the beer, where it originated, some prominent breweries, beers in this style, and finally taste them,” says Mr Hallberg, adding that these beers are from Cushwa Brewing, in Maryland, considered one of the world’s best.

The second box is a four-pack from Mountains Walking Brewing in Bozeman, Montana – an “amazing” brewery considerig Montana is not known for beer-making. “This box includes a regular IPA, Double Dry Hopped Hazy IPA, “Oat Whip” IPA and a S’mores Pastry Stout.” In September, the beers will come from Greece, Estonia, Poland and Germany.

The masterclasses are free even if you don’t buy the boxes, but priority is given to customers. Lasting about 90 minutes, the first masterclass will be held on Aug 6.

For more details: www.baddecisionsimports.com

(Related: Russia just banned the use of the word “Shampanskoye” – the Russian word for champagne – on imported bottles)

Cocktail fun

EC Proof, known for its top-notch gins, rums, and other spirits, currently offers private virtual events, focusing on spirit tasting sessions with cocktail making. Customers get to choose their favourite spirit and one cocktail, and full kits with ingredients will be sent to their homes (multiple locations are possible if your friends want to join in the fun). EC Proof’s Spirit Evangelists will host you over Zoom for about one and a half hours. The passionate team will share their knowledge, tips, tricks and advice on cocktail making and spirits. Go to ecproof.com for details or call 8228-0113.

Meanwhile, Amoy Street’s indie bar Spiffy Dapper presents online cocktail masterclasses via the Curated Singapore platform. Timings are flexible and at your convenience. Prepared ingredients for each cocktail – booze, garnishes, tools and a recipe book – will be delivered to you.

The team will connect via Zoom, and go through some history and the science behind each cocktail. You’ll then get detailed instructions on how to make different drinks from Old Fashioned & Manhattan to Martini & Negron. The same kits can be delivered to multiple locations too.

For more details: spiffydapper.com

This article was originally published in The Business Times.

(Related: The Auld Alliance’s co-owner is putting up his rare whiskies for auction)