Selecting a drink to serve your guests at dinner can be challenging, even if you are going to pick wine, there’s just so many to choose from. But if you want to go outside the box as it were and pick something a little different, then it can be even more challenging.
Generally, it comes down to what you are going to be serving up as to what you might choose to pair with it. in order to give you a bit of help, we thought we’d give some basic guidance as to the kinds of drinks on offer and what foods you might choose to pair with them.
If you’re serving pork, the general convention would be to serve a pallet-cleansing white wine or a robust red able to cut through the fattiness of the meat. However, there are numerous other non-wine alternatives that pair just as well that will surprise and delight your guests.
The first among which is cider. Everyone knows that apple goes well with pork, apple sauce an even raw apple are routinely served with it, but the fermented option is just as good. The sweetness of the cider compliments the natural sugars in the pork and gives a fabulous and thirst-quenching paring.
Beer is another popular choice. If you’ve ever been to Germany, you may well have seen ham hock and ale advertised on the bar menu. But the Bavarian’s are not alone in recognising the symphony of the pairing. Most beers are robust enough to cope with the pork’s strong oils and fats and the malt in ales or stouts is especially complimentary. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.
For a bit of an outside the box choice, especially if serving a summer BBQ or spiced pork dish, a mojito is a viable option. Drunk quite traditionally with pork in Cuba the mojito’s combination of sweet and sour flavours enhance pork nicely and cool the spices in anything at the hotter end of the scale!
The traditional paring with beef is of course a full-bodied and flavourful red wine. But, for an alternative you might just change a few people’s minds!
Beer is another contender here. Again, a stronger ale or stout is usually recommended to hold its own against the richness of beef, especially if you’re serving a rib of beef or the ribeye or sirloin cut. For the leaner fillet or rump cuts a nuttier brown ale might work better
Whisky is a different option altogether. Its rich caramel notes can pair rather well with the more flavourful cuts of red meat. If you’re serving grilled or BBQ steak, then a Scotch whisky can be an excellent paring choice. The smoky notes in the drink pair and perfectly complement the charred flavour provided by the grilling and the flames. We recommend the whiskey is served neat over ice to properly accompany the steak experience.
A martini can be another interesting choice. Its flavour is palate-cleansing and will not compete with the richness of the beef. Overall allowing you and your guests to enjoy the experience of both without any clashes taking place.
The definition of a fish meal can be rather wide. You’re not just taking your standard battered cod fillet here, lobster, crab, scallops, prawns, octopus and numerous other sea-dwelling animals all fall into the broad category of fish dishes.
Again, the traditional fish accompaniment would send one to the fridge for a nice cooled bottle of crisp white wine. But, consider if you will a few other options.
If you’re going for battered fish, then the traditional pub-grub can pair very well indeed with the traditional pub beverage – beer. A pale ale or even a light larger is typically the best recommendation here.
Acidic notes really help draw out the flavour of great seafood. So, if you’re serving up the king of seafood – lobster, then you might consider a Sangria or a Mai Tai to accompany it. These drinks contain a good amount of citrus flavours and really enhance the beautiful lobster meat.
If you’re going for something a bit special and serving up oysters, traditionalists again would possibly opt for Champaign. But consider for a moment the British classic Gin and Tonic. This cleansing, refreshing drink goes down superbly with the delicacy, trust us!
There are of course numerous other food types that pair with a variety of drinks and we’ll be writing about them too in the future. For now, visit our shop to find a great alternative pairing for your next dinner party!