Pairing Cocktails with Food

  • 17th February 2012

It is becoming a popular dining-out trend to pair cocktails with your meal, rather than the traditional bottle of wine. Unlike wine, cocktails can be modified to your palate as well as designed to suit your specific meal. The following are some tips to follow when pairing cocktails with food.

1. Think About Flavors

What flavors and undertones are in your meal? Olive oil in a dish, or a dish centered around seafood, may take you in the direction of a lemon cocktail. Or the richness of a butter sauce may be well balanced by the sweet smoothness of vanilla. Also consider which condiments go well with which entrees and go from there. For example, cranberry and apple notes in a cocktail go well with turkey, chicken, and game birds.

2. Compare And Contrast

A cocktail is meant to compliment a dish. In some ways, this means being similar to the dish. Such is the case with barbeque-bourbon pairings. The smokiness of barbequed meat or charred vegetables of complimented by the smokey, woody flavors that occur naturally in bourbon. On the other hand, if you have a taste for spicy dishes, you may appreciate a cool, smooth cocktail to balance the spice. Can’t take the heat? Try a refreshing mojito to soothe your taste buds between bites.

3. Go Herbal

Mint is one typical cocktail herb, found in drinks such as mojitos and mint juleps. It is a herb that is responsible for adding a fresh sweetness to these cocktails. But why stop at mint? A sprig of sage in your tequila can awaken the herbal aroma of chicken or fish. Rosemary in your gin? Orange peel in your vodka? Why not?

4. Avoid Competition

Be sure to avoid cocktails that will overpower the aromas and flavors of your meal. The stronger drinks pair better with the stronger entrees. Something as delicate as oysters on the rocks, for example, would be lost when paired with bourbon. Choose wisely! When in doubt, ask your server for cocktail pairing suggestions.

5. Stay Playful

It doesn’t hurt to keep an open mind and approach your food and cocktail pairings with a playful attitude. Instead of a sweet, fruity cocktail with your chocolatey desert, try something dark, dry, and bittersweet. You may be surprised what new flavor profiles your cocktail can open up in your food.

This post was wrote by ....

Make me a cocktail
Make me a cocktail is the world's best online cocktail resource - or so we like to think (I mean, we did build it). Started in 2010 and still going strong, we're passionate about bringing you the best cocktails in the best ways possible.


Recent posts

    • 33F8B9CD00000578-3580296-image-m-52_1462769546907Wacky Cocktails
      The Gold Coast of Australia has always been synonymous with fun, sun and laughter. A tourist hotspot, and home to a multitude of ‘surfer dudes’,
    • Eastertini2-550x830Spring into Easter Cocktails
      Spring has sprung, the grass is risen, I wonder where the cocktails is…! Well look no further, because here I’ve put together a list of my very
    • 35Birthday Cocktails
      What do you get the-man-who-has-everything for his 35th birthday? Well Justin Timberlake got his very own customised cocktail from his personal