How to Pair Alcohol with Food – a Guide 

Food and drink are just two of many people’s favorite things to enjoy. Whether it be a fancy meal for a special occasion, trying a new cuisine in the kitchen, or choosing to have your favorite takeaway and a beer after a long day at work. They are a staple of western culture and pairing them together often makes the experience twice as good! That being said, it is also important to note that if you do not drink alcohol, there are still some excellent pairing options to help elevate your culinary experience. 

This piece is going to serve as a guide to help you pair alcohol with food to create a tastebud sensation, so read on to find out more.

Red Wine and Red Meat

Red wine and red meat is the most classic pairing of food and drink, and is particularly difficult to mess up. If you are creating a paired dish for the first time, it is best to choose the meat you would like to work with first and select a full-bodied red wine to complement the course. 

Some excellent choices include:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Malbec
  • Rioja 
  • Pinot Noir 
  • Merlot

These types of full-bodied red wines complement the complex and robust flavors of roast beef and lamb, and can also be excellent to go with a chocolate dessert too.

If you don’t eat meat – check out these combinations instead!

Liquors and Light Bites

If you are thinking of having a tapas kind of night and want to know what elevated bar snacks will be a hit, then there are some surprisingly easy and delicious pairings to choose from. 

Some examples could be:

  • Duck breast with Scotch
  • Stinky cheese and Port (a classic)
  • Pickled veg platter with Bourbon
  • Seafood (oysters and shellfish) with Cognac 

You can also upscale these light bites to main meals and serve these suggested drinks with them!

If you are going to a celebratory meal and would like to take a gift, then a personalized present could be the icing on the cake. Choose some custom liquor bottles as a present, and enjoy them together.

Tip: Brandy works great with some chocolate brownies if you want to create the combination as a foodie present!

Light Wine and Fish

Fish and light wines work effortlessly together, though there are nuances that could make the combined flavor ever better. For meatier fishes such as salmon, tuna and swordfish, a rosé or even a very light red can make the perfect companion. Flaky, light fishes such as sole and plaice, which are often garnished with simple lemon and herbs, work divinely with white wines such as Pinot Grigio and Gavi. If you are in the mood to celebrate with your seafood meal, champagne and prosecco can also make an excellent accompaniment. 

A good rule of thumb when it comes to pairing wines with fish is that the lighter the fish (in taste as well as texture) the lighter the wine should be, as to not overpower.  

For those that don’t drink alcohol – try these alcohol free pairings!