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Expert Guide Pairing Cocktails With Food
Expert Guide: Pairing Cocktails With Food – by Diana Wills
How many times did you order (or prepare) food, and when you start eating, you see that there is no Coca Cola in the fridge or wine to wash that tasty meal down with? It is quite impossible to imagine a meal without a proper drink on the side, but then again, there is also the question of what kind of drink you should choose and what matches nicely with what. Cocktails are, for example, a popular choice, so what kind of cocktails should you have in mind while eating a specific meal?
Mind the size
The size of the portion is actually quite important in determining the type of cocktail that you will drink. You will, of course, decide on the type of cocktail based on the dish that you will eat, but let’s talk sizes. It is often a good idea to match smaller portions for smaller dishes. Smaller portions are always richer in flavor, and these cocktail flavors can match amazingly with them. They are concentrated and stronger, which means that the person drinking it will feel a plethora of different flavors in just a minute. Keep both elements small and savor the taste in the best possible way.
As far as the actual pairings are concerned, you can always ask a mixologist for suggestion. But if you want to play it safe, these are the best pairings that you might be able to find:
- If you are eating cheese (especially Pecorino or Parmesan), make sure to opt for Negroni;
- In case you want a chill night in with your friends with a bowl of nachos, make sure to make some home-made margaritas as this cocktail works perfectly with salty and crispy food;
- For those of you who are a bit more elegant, the best pairing might be a Martini and oysters;
- If you’re eating melons, then make yourself a Last Word with honeydew or cantaloupe;
- For the best feeling while eating a vanilla or chocolate dessert, a Sazerac might just be what you need.
Know the roots
This is something that not many people know, but food and drinks that come from the same area are usually the best pairings when it comes to taste. One example of that is tequila, which comes from Mexico, and this matches nicely with mole sauce, which also comes from the same place. This is also why cheese matches well with white wine – as both of them originate from France, and this is the best way to savor the flavor of both of them. Sake is also a great combination with sushi, and it will give you that dash of Japan. On the other hand, you can also think a bit less formal – such as mixing pork ribs American style with some of the best examples of American craft beer.
Now let’s talk about certain foods and the type of cocktails that fit them nicely. What is important to mention here is the fact that different types of meal ask for different cocktails, and so you are not supposed to drink the same cocktails while you are eating sweet or savory meals. It all requires some thinking and planning. For example, being a good mixologist is quite a challenging yet rewarding job, because you have to know what kind of cocktail you need to make in case it’s salty finger food that’s on the buffet. A successful mixologist in NYC is often inspired by certain dishes and food flavors when he crafts his own cocktail recipes, and that’s why hiring one can teach you a lot about the art of creating unique cocktails.
Step by step
If you will be the one organizing a theme party where people will explore the different ways cocktails and food match, make sure to start with baby steps. Note that even though this is a very fun activity, it is not for everyone, as you have to be trained in order to fully understand and develop a sense for good cocktail-food pairings. So, the first step would be to invite your closest friends and see how it works for all of you. Once you realize that you know what you are doing, you can think about moving this dinner party to the next level. What is also important to mention is that you should not talk while eating and drinking, if you really want to enjoy the exquisite combination of flavors.
Do not be afraid, as there are no right or wrong food and drink pairings – there are those that are excellent and those that are OK. If you want to excel in this department, read a lot about it, try it at home, and mix different cocktails together to see if you will like it matched with a certain type of food. Create different finger food options and different cocktails and let that palate work!