This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my affiliate policy.
Last Updated on September 16, 2022
When you’re trying to throw a special dinner or host a dinner party, then it’s far from uncommon to include a drink or two. The choice of that drink is going to matter a lot to the overall experience of the meal. If you want to ensure the best culinary experience, here is when it’s a good idea to serve specific kinds of drinks.
White wine is one of the best foods for playing a role in cleansing the palette, which can make it good for fatty foods that can linger on the tongue, as well as spicy foods. White wine often gets paired with pork, but a simple, small glass of Sauvignon Blanc can work well at the end of any main when you want to help the guests cleanse the palette for dessert.
Full-bodied, flavorful, and with a powerful aroma, red wine can easily overpower some choices of food. However, the heartier red meats tend to contend well with it, such as sausage, duck legs, and beef. Pasta dishes also contend very well with red wine. Naturally, you want to make sure you pick the right red for the occasion, as those with overly fruity notes tend to work better with meat than with pasta, for instance.
Some people might consider it something of a faux pas to serve beer with dinner, but there is something inherently classist about that. For one, the refreshing nature of beer tends to work very well with fish. When it comes to spicy foods, including Mexican or Indian cuisine in general, then a pale ale is going to work wonderfully. In fact, most people would consider Indian food to be incomplete without an Indian pale ale.
A nice scotch goes well with barbecued meat, matching a smoky taste with another to avoid cleansing your palette too much. However, while wine might be commonly served with cheese, bread, and cold cuts, a whiskey sour cocktail, something like a Gold Rush cocktail can work just as effectively. You want something that can contrast the subtler, lower notes of cheeses without washing over it and overwhelming it entirely. Whiskey sours can make the harsh-to-some taste of the liquor a little easier to put down, as well.
The best time to serve coffee is, of course, at the end of the meal, with a dessert or in place of one. Some people use it to counteract the effects of the alcohol that’s consumed during the night but that’s, in reality, a bit of an urban legend. If you’re just looking to kick the night off, then you might want to look at some coffee liqueurs that can do much the same trick.
Of course, there’s nothing to say that you can’t experiment with the choice of drinks you serve, just as you might experiment with the ingredients you use in your meals. Just try to develop the tongue for what works with what before you start getting too creative.