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Alcohol Pairing Tips From Experts

by George Swagger about a year ago in how to

What goes best with alcohol?

Planning to host a dinner party soon? Impress your guests by delivering a great dining experience through impeccable alcohol pairing. Alcohol pairing is a skill that can be learned by simply combining good tastes. When you carefully curate your alcohol pairing, you are also enhancing the taste of the alcohol, as well as the food and cigar collection that you paired it with.

Take your next meal to the next level by checking out these alcohol pairing tips below.

White Wine and Seafood

Having seafood for dinner? White wine and seafood is a classic combination that will surely win anyone's taste buds. The reason why this combination works well is that the weight and substance of both selections complement each other. Chardonnay and pinot gris are perfect with lobster, salmon, tuna, ocean trout, and other oil-rich seafood. Champagne and sparkling wine, on the other hand, complement the creamy and salty taste of oysters. For spicy seafood dishes, the sweetness of an off-dry white wine offers contrast and balances the heat and spice of the dish.

Red Wine and Steak

Red wine and meat pairing is already a cardinal rule in our book. The reason behind this old adage is because red wine contains a high level of tannins, which complements red meat's rich fattiness. The best type of red wine to pair with steak depends on the cut of the beef. Light to medium-bodied red wine's acidity cuts through the delicate texture of a rare steak, so it is best paired with lean cuts such as sirloin tip side steak and top sirloin. For fatty cuts like T-bone steak, ribeye steak, and filet mignon, full-bodied wine is greatly recommended.

Cigar and Whiskey

If you are looking for a way to wind down after a long day, cigars and whiskey are a match made in heaven. When pairing cigars with alcoholic beverages, the body of the smoke must match the body of the drink. This is why cigars and whiskey go very well together; they both mirror each other's bold and warm flavors. The cigar connoisseurs at mention that whiskey can work perfectly with any medium- to full-bodied cigar. For sweet filter tip cigars, mild-bodied Irish whiskey is highly recommended. Full-bodied cigars with leather notes are best paired with Canadian whiskey. Tennessee whiskey, on the other hand, is recommended for lighter smokes.

Beer and Food Pairing

Because of beer's versatility, it can go well with a wide variety of food selections. The key to beer pairing is to focus on its distinct style. Factors such as alcohol content, taste, color, and mouthfeel should be taken into account when finding a complementing dish.

Light lagers are known for their clean and crisp taste; that is why they go well with hot and spicy dishes. For a slice of pizza, get yourself a bottle of amber ale or dark lager. If you are a seafood lover, then porters, brown ales, and stouts are your best bet. On the other hand, Indian pale ales are best paired with steak, barbecue, and Mexican food. Amber ales are great for cleansing your palate because of their dry and crisp finish. For salads, spicy food, and fruity desserts, a glass of wheat beer is highly recommended.

Cocktails and Food Pairing

Whether you are hosting a formal dinner party or a casual get-together with your friends, serving cocktails is a great alternative to the usual beer or wine. Did you know that you can have more than canapés when it comes to cocktail pairings? With so many spirits out there, the combinations you can come up with are limitless.

Negroni and cheese is a classic pairing. A bowl of nachos or any grilled food is perfect with a margarita. If you love California sushi, you will love it more with a glass of Moscow mule. For sangria lovers, a bite of teriyaki chicken will match the drink's sweet taste. If you are craving a bowl of chili, pairing it with a glass of highball is a good choice. The trick in mastering cocktail and food pairing is controlling the alcohol levels so that it will not overpower the food's flavor. Balance and power should be taken into consideration when pairing any cocktail with a certain dish.

There are several ways to enrich your dining experience with alcohol pairings. You can start by trying out the vast number of classic combinations. Do your research to get familiarized with some expert advice, and once you get the hang of it, it is best to experiment with various flavors to get the perfect alcohol pairing suited to your personal taste and preferences.

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George Swagger
Read next: 5 Cocktails with Seriously High Alcohol Content
George Swagger
See all posts by George Swagger

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