Traditionally reserved for fine wine or craft beer, the art of matching great food with quality drinks can sometimes seem a little daunting or even a touch wanky. But why should it be? Your favourite dishes can easily be enhanced by a whole range of drinks, which is why cocktails and their endless versatility provide not only a safe option, but also one that allows for personal creativity.
Whether it’s for entrée, mains or dessert, there are plenty of different cocktail styles that are suitable for food matches; it simply comes down to using your basic knowledge and smarts when deciding on the pair. Firstly, you should think about how cuisines and drinks from the same region might work, or alternatively think about how the herbs and spices in some dishes may compliment the fruits and garnishes of corresponding cocktails.
For example, a tequila and grapefruit based Paloma is a refreshing accompaniment to spicy Mexican dishes, just as a bitter and citrus-driven Negroni is great for cutting through the tasty fats of cured meats and sharp cheeses. On the other hand, the spice contained in a Bloody Mary is a great match for pairing with sashimi, while the classic Mint Julep is an absolute no brainer for enjoying alongside a slow-roasted lamb.
All that said, there are a few things you should definitely remember. Firstly, you should ease up on the alcohol content. Although some of these cocktails are fantastic food matches, you don’t want certain spirits or liqueurs to overpower your meal. Secondly, just because some cocktails may use the same ingredients as the dishes, doesn’t mean it will match so well. Think about flavours that will compliment and you’ll be well on your way.
But for those still a little hesitant on drifting too far away from beer or wine, we recommend you take the opportunity to mix a few wine, beer or cider cocktails to begin. Depending on what food you’re working with, you might want to try pairing it with a floral white or red wine sangria, a fruity cider-based punch or even a sweet, chocolaty twist on a Boilermaker, using stout and Pedro Ximinez for dessert.
The options are endless and the fun is all yours!
Image Credit: Pirate Alice