Everyone has their own favourite when it comes to washing down a meal, whether it’s ice cold bottle of beer with your Kathi roll or a frosty mug of icy soda to go with your pepperoni pizza. Select a beverage that complement a dish and bring out its subtle elements of flavour. But how do you get started? The trick is in identifying the key flavours in your food and pairing it with those in your beverage. Here are some of the best alcohol-food pairings. There are no strict rules; but if you really enjoy your drink, raise a toast to the foods that bring out its flavour to the optimum.
Rich, hearty and dark foods go well with strong red wines.
Pair It: A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with a rare steak because the wine has a bitter dark fruit flavour with mouth drying tannins (the same sensation you get from drinking well-brewed tea) and hence, finds its best match in a juicy protein-rich steak.
Consider: Wines like Merlot and Shiraz are well worth considering, if you are eating a portabella mushroom dish. If you are drinking a Chianti, have pepper chicken as an accompaniment. Wines like Zinfandel and Syrah can be served with any pasta cooked in tomato sauce. If you want an appetizer that goes well with most red wines, opt for a bruschetta.
Whites generally come to mind when the food is simple and light.
Pair It: White wines should be served with lighter meats like chicken, turkey and simply cooked fresh fish. If you are looking for something fancy, caviar or a salmon pate with crackers is a great option.
Consider: Starters like a simple Swiss cheese fondue with some fresh bread or even different kinds of cheese are recommended. If you are a vegetarian, go for garden salads sandwiches.
Although you should choose ingredients and recipes that match the authentic Scottish palate, you will be surprised to discover how well fine single malt whiskey can be paired with different kinds of cuisines.
Pair It: Japanese sushi, Mediterranean cheeses and Italian ravioli are a few dishes you can enjoy with your glass of whiskey. Smoked meat dishes, especially those that have a strong flavour such as duck, lamb and gourmet sausages taste very good.
Consider:Want to try something different? Have some dark chocolate with a very fine scotch. A small brownie or chocolate bread puddings, along with scotch after dinner or for a late night cocktail party is ideal. If you like coffee, an Irish coffee cocktail is apt for you. A traditional Irish fare is best to have after dinner with dessert, as the acidic flavour in the coffee complements the sweet taste of sugar in the desserts. Since chocolate and coffee are a perfect pairing, you can also have it with chocolate rice crispies.
Beer is a versatile beverage that complements an array of dishes, especially appetizers. Heavier beers go best with heavier foods, while lighter beers pair best with light foods.
Pair It: While lagers pair well with fish and poultry, ale usually taste great with red meat and strong cheese. Wheat beers make a superb accompaniment to a creamy herb risotto with plenty of parmesan cheese and served with lobsters or prawns. Choose a light beer to go with strongly spiced dishes, as a power-packed one will intensify the ‘burn’ to unpleasant levels.
Consider: You can also drink beer with salads such as a Waldorf or a grilled chicken one. When it comes to appetizers, chicken wings, Mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, onion rings and nachos with a salty salsa sauce taste delicious with a chilled beer.
A long, cold glass of gin and tonic goes perfectly with any prawn dish.
Pair It:Also, it is a far better taste partner than wine for most styles of Asian food (like Thai) because the spicy, dry flavours complement each other.
Consider:Gin goes very well with cucumber and shrimp crackers.
Termed as the world’s most complex cocktail, it is a mixture of vodka, tomato juice and other spices. The tomato flavor of a Bloody Mary is an excellent choice for brunch. While this will not work well with fruity meals, it is excellent with casseroles and pancakes.
Pair It: Bloody Mary pair well with brunch buffet like casseroles, sausages, pancakes, fully loaded cheese omelets, hashbrowns and toasts.
Consider: Savory egg-based dishes pair exceptionally well with tomato drinks. A vegetable omelet work beautifully when paired with the drink, as well as with Mexican egg dish made with herbs, spices and peppers.
So, how have you planned to pair your favourite drink? Enjoy your meal!!