There are many different types of cocktails, but things can become a little more complex when it comes to pairing cocktails with food. Some fantastic cocktails can expand your palate and enhance your senses, make the tastes and the flavours of the dishes come to life, and give you a whole new eating experience, even if you have been eating oysters and ceviche for years. Here's our guide to food and cocktail pairing.
Best cocktails and appetisers for a party
Appetisers are invariably an excellent idea when hosting, but we all know that specific food/cocktail pairings are encouraged over others to maximise flavour.
Moscow mule and sushi
The Moscow mule cocktail is a delicious and easy drink to make at home, so it's no wonder it’s become a staple in bars worldwide. A classic Moscow mule contains vodka, lime juice and ginger beer, and we commonly consume sushi with a side of ginger. So why not indulge in this effervescent ginger cocktail while savouring a delicious sushi roll?
Old fashioned and crostini with pork
The old fashioned cocktail contains bourbon whiskey, Angostura bitters, a sugar cube, and water. Bourbon and pork? The fatty goodness in the pork plays off of the sweetness of the bourbon and a sugar cube. Pork pairs nicely with a classic old fashioned. This bourbon cocktail standard brings out the subtleties in crostini with pork and red cabbage.
Cocktails and pasta: pairings to try at home
Pasta tastes best when paired with an appropriate drink. A well-chosen cocktail and a dish of perfectly prepared pasta will be an excellent way to caress your palate. Here are our suggestions for the ideal cocktails to pair with pasta.
Negroni and cacio e pepe
The only addition that this pasta dish requires is a cocktail that adjusts the taste of the cacio e pepe’s ingredients. Here negroni comes to our aid – considered as an aperitif, this cocktail intertwines wonderfully sweet, sour and citrus. This ideal balance will help you digest the recipe's strong Pecorino cheese accompanying rigatoni.
Margarita and spaghetti with clams
Seafood combines exceptionally well with the margarita cocktail. The delight of the freshly prepared spaghetti with clams is total when served with a cocktail containing tequila and lime juice.
Classic cocktails to pair with steak
We’re big fans of pairing steaks with cocktails, and we know that the perfect pairing of a tender and juicy steak with a delicious cocktail improves both while giving you a combination of flavours that work well together on your palate. So, which cocktails pair best with a juicy slab of steak? Read on for our top two picks.
The classic whiskey sour is a perfect drink to pair with meat – it’s light enough to contrast the meat's heaviness yet deep enough to complement its richness. Cane sugar syrup, egg white, and fresh lemon juice make this bourbon-based cocktail ideal for any steak. You can ask your bartender to add a couple of ounces of pineapple juice if you want something sweeter and more acidic at the same time. Pineapple sweetness balanced with lemon juice acidity creates an exciting cocktail that pairs great with steak.
Would you like a drink with a more assertive taste? Bloody mary is the perfect cocktail for any steak. The right mix of Worcestershire sauce, vodka, tomato juice and Tabasco complements the steak in all the ways it would. Despite the particular savouriness of this cocktail, the flavour of your steak won't be overwhelmed.
Delicious cocktails that go well with seafood
When it comes to seafood, there is a wide variety of cocktails you can have, from the classics, to the fruity or the dry varieties, giving you a whole new experience to make your palate go crazy. Here are our two picks for the ideal cocktails to pair with seafood.
Caipirinha with seafood
Caipirinha is an example of how a sweet cocktail can work with the flavours of your seafood – it perfectly complements a fish entrée without overpowering its flavours.
Fortunately, making a caipirinha doesn't have to be an all-night affair – it isn't rocket science. The first step is the lime. Ripe and juicy limes are the cornerstone of good caipirinha. Use too little, and what you have is just a cachaça on the rocks with a twist. Then there’s the refined sugar to mix with the lime juice to balance the acidity. At this point, you mash the sliced lime and sugar together using a muddler. Next, fill the mixing glass with ice and pour it over the cachaça.
Mojito and Peruvian ceviche
Salty rum cocktails made with lime such as classics mojitos can complement seafood perfectly – fish tacos, salmons, and ceviche are among the best choices. A classic mojito and Peruvian ceviche make a lovely match. This pairing will leave you cool and refreshed after a hot summer’s day. On the one hand, we have one of the best classic vacation cocktails out there – sweet and sour and very refreshing with bright citrus tones which complement any fresh fish. On the other, we have the Peruvian ceviche, a zesty dish with fish that has been cooked in citrus juices, and then mixed with onion, tomato and cilantro.
Pairing cocktails with dessert
Champagne, wines and many different sweet liquors such as Amaretto, Grand Marnier or Cointreau are the classic favourites when looking for an alcoholic drink to pair with dessert. However, some cocktails can be designed to perfectly match a dessert course. Try Irish cream coffee and doughnuts for breakfast or during a relaxed brunch. You could also create an espresso-based cocktail, such as an espresso martini or Spanish coffee, to enjoy with chocolate cake.