The ubiquitous vodka is a global favorite as it works as a great base to mix a delicious cocktail because of its tasteless and colorless nature. While both bartenders and consumers have their own spin on vodka but after doing many consumer training sessions one cannot expect the consumer to know the difference between vegetable-based vodka and grain-based vodka.
To get more clarity on this count, I planned a Distillery Tour to India’s largest distillery that produces the famous brand Magic Moments. The thought became a reality all too quickly. Amar Sinha,COO of Radico Khaitan immediately offered to help by letting me embark on tour to their distillery at Rampur.
When we reached Rampur at night,our suite room was booked for us. The Radico Guest House is a great place on all counts; it boasts of a gym, swimming pool and tennis court for its employees.
The morning breakfast was refreshing and soon we were on our way. We first met up with Mukesh Sharma, AGM Blending department, who introduced us to the blending team.
We started with the printing plant of Magic Moments where bottles of different sizes were getting printed with the latest German printing machines with utmost care. As many as 4-6 people were designated after each step to get everything perfect to match with their standards. We then headed to the bottling plant which was again manned by a lot of technicians, who, at every step were carefully checking the quality of vodka before it gets bottled and labeled.
As many us are aware, vodka and all clear spirits are generally processed in multi column stills or a continuous still. We saw a huge still processing millions of liters of Magic Moments every hour. Sharma then took us to the pot still vicinity where the fresh spirit was under process, with tons of barley waiting outside to get processed.
Now came the best part of the tour which was the warehouse, where all the aged spirits were sleeping. They all become part of 8PM Premium Black whisky or to their entire whisky range. I have been to all the distilleries in Scotland and Japan and must admit that Radico Khaitan has the biggest warehouse in India with millions of liters in thousands of barrels sleeping and waiting for the right time to get blended and bottled. To our surprise we saw two big under construction units outside and upon enquiring Sharma told us that to cater to a large audience they are coming up with fully computerized still units which will be ready in 2-3 months.
We then decided to meet K.P Singh, the man behind this amazingly large setup. He welcomed me in his office and I asked him about the two variants of Magic Moments and Magic Moments Verve. His answer was pretty quick and simple that they use rice for their spirit and the quality of E.N.A makes it special. We promised K.P Singh that we will do a cocktail session with his team and then went to the tasting room to soak in some of their brands. We also met Anup Barik Master Blender and he shared few points:
- The biggest factor is consistency: Since inception they take pride in using in-house specially
distilled Grain Neutral Spirit for Magic Moments Vodka, their USP.
- Quality: For every batch Grain Neutral Spirit is being distilled the same way. After distillation the trained sensory & analytical panel identifies and stores the Grain Neutral Spirit separately in a dedicated storage tank.
- Filtration: They developed an in-house filtration system which is similar at all units. For Magic Moments vodka, they use carbon filtration and a very tight filtration, whereas in Verve they process through a multi stage filtration system consisting of carbon, silver, platinum & a very low micron filter.
- Stringent Blending Procedure: They follow a stringent blending procedure for each blend and the blenders used to follow exactly the same procedure every time they take a new batch.
- Blend Approval Protocol: Even today all batch samples have to approved by the Master Blender before bottling, apart from statutory requirements.
The Master Blender shared that Magic Moments Vodka is triple distilled, rice grain gluten free vodka and launched way back in 2006. Since then, it has won 36 international awards, not only for its standard variant, but also its six flavors. They have also launched two more flavors recently which are Magic Moments Cucumber & Wild Lemon and Magic Moments Watermelon & Grapefruit.
We then decided to make some cocktails with Magic Moments and this brings us to the end of our tour to Radico Khaitan Distillery. I must say the sight of rows of huge patent still and whiskey barrels set is one of its kind experiences. The tour ended on a heady note, literally speaking.
Cocktail with Magic Moments
Magic Moments Popcorn
- 45 ml Magic Moments Orange
- 15 ml Popcorn syrup
- 5 ml Lime juice
- Top it with Orange Juice & Sparkling water
Method: Pour all the ingredients in Collins glass with ice
and stir well and top it with sparkling water
Magic Moments Platano
- 45 ml Magic Moments Vodka
- 15 ml Banana Syrup
- 10 ml lemon juice
- Top up with Ginger Ale
Method: Add all the ingredients over ice in Collins
glass, top up with Ginger Ale, stir and serve.
Magic Moments Florence
- 45 ml Magic Moments Green Apple
- 15 ml Elderflower Syrup
- 10 ml lemon juice
- Top up with Ginger Ale
Method: Add all the ingredients over ice in a
Collins glass, stir and serve.