Matching Drinks & Food

November 15, 2016
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The beverage you choose is an integral part of any meal. The right glass of wine, the correct cocktail, or even the proper beer can provide an excellent complement to an already tantalizing dish, while the wrong beverage can overpower your food or your taste buds and actually have a negative impact on your dining experience. Today, we will take a look at some of the more popular food and beverage pairings in order to give you a better idea of what cocktail may work best for your favourite foods.

  • Wine – when it comes to wine, the key is simple. Pay attention to what part of the meal you want to show off. If the wine is the main attraction, such as if you have purchased a great vintage bottle or have just discovered a new favourite, keep the food choices simple. If, on the other hand, you have created a rich, wildly flavourful dish, you will need to keep your wine choice subtle to keep from overpowering it. Choose the item to be the highlight of the meal, and make your other choices based on it.
  • Beer – when it comes to beer, the goal is again to pair choices that complement one another or that provide a pleasant contrast without overpowering your food choices. A light beer, for example, is an excellent pairing with light or delicate dishes, while a bold pale ale might be the perfect beverage for a barbecue or a heavy meal. You will certainly want to keep your mind open to new things, but knowing what definitely won’t work is important. Vinegar based dishes will certainly negate a great deal of flavour from your beer, and pairing strong cheeses or very spicy foods will overwhelm your taste buds so that you can no longer appreciate a beer with a unique flavour.
  • Cocktails and Spirits – while pairing wine and beer with food are certainly conventional choices, for many years liquor based drinks have been placed into the category of after dinner beverages. In restaurants and homes around the country, however, this is finally changing and aspiring bartenders are starting to get more creative. Today, it is not altogether uncommon to see a lemon flavored cocktail paired with a nice citrusy dish, such as lemon chicken or fish. A nice scotch, on the other hand, could fit well with a spicy dish or a very flavourful one. The key is to choose mixed drinks that are not overwhelming in terms of flavour. A very sweet drink could certainly make slightly sweet dishes taste a bit bitter, but choosing cocktails that slightly contrast your dish can have a great result.

At the end of the day, pairing foods and beverages is not an exact science. While there are many people who claim that you should only serve red wine with red meat and white wine with seafood, the truth is that any wine can be well paired with a dish when it is prepared properly. The biggest factor is what your drinkers will enjoy, and any cocktail can be the hallmark of a meal when you are able to find the perfect balance of tastes.