Pairing food and drink can be a daunting task. Most of us stick to one kind of beverage, sipping a favorite wine or beer throughout the evening without considering the flavors in what we're eating. This is an easy route and there’s nothing wrong with it. Yet, understanding the basic ingredients or the origin of the foods you consume can help you tackle the challenge of pairing a beverage with your meal — and it might just happen that the best choice isn't wine or beer at all, but a classic or contemporary cocktail. According to food writer and technologist Dave Arnold, an owner of of New York City’s Booker and Dax, vibrant, intense flavors in bold food work well with cocktails because all flavors are bridged together.
Spirits actually absorb fat and clean the palate. This is especially true when it comes to rich, fatty foods like foie gras because the alcohol prepares the palate for the next bite or course. The logic behind pairing isn’t difficult to follow, but it does require a bit of thought. For instance, mint goes well with many spring and summer dishes and mint is a common ingredient used in many lighter, sweet or semi-sweet cocktails. If there’s a shared ingredient in your dish and your drink, chances are the flavors in both should marry very well together. To get your pairing experience underway, here are a few savory and semi-sweet libations which link very well with dinner any night of the week. Think about what you plan to eat, and then take a look at our list to find a cocktail that pairs best with your meal.