Not only at aperitif time: food pairing with cocktails is exceptional from brunch time to dinner. And even later, if you don't disdain dessert.
With a much fresher and more modern allure than the ubiquitous wines and beers on our tables, cocktails are a divine accompaniment to many of the dishes and foods we cook every day.
We asked our mixology expert to create for us some combinations between cocktails and food that could be recreated at home by anyone, without any special skills as a bartender or chef experience.
So...follow our advice and throw yourself into experimenting with new flavors and tantalizing combinations with the most famous drinks.
Matching cocktails and food: the rules
Creating a menu that includes a food pairing with cocktails is a bit like cooking a new recipe: there are some rules to follow. The first of all is that the cocktail must never overpower the taste of food.
As the term pairing suggests (cocktail and food pairing saw the light years ago as a food trend in the Anglo-Saxon world), it is more of a gentle pairing, which must follow one of these two principles:
Pairing by similarity: playing on the syntony of flavors, structure, or aromaticity of the elements;
Pairing by contrast: combining ingredients that have nothing in common, therefore playing on the contrast of flavors.
Your taste and imagination will guide you to the best choice. In the meantime, here is a selection of the best pairings between famous cocktails and foods that we can easily find in our fridge or the nearest supermarket.
The best combinations of food and cocktails
Drink from the great conviviality, the Spritz is ideal to accompany shared dishes. It works very well with rich and opulent notes, with toasted, buttery, and salty sensations, and is so versatile that it allows you to range a lot.
This is a dry, complexly textured drink with sweet notes and a bitter aftertaste that works very well with fatty foods such as aged cheeses, olives, gorgonzola, and pears. Perhaps placed on a yeast base. Excellent also with other classic aperitif bites such as stuffed cherry tomatoes or in oil.
Avoid pairing with pasta and meat dishes such as beef steak.
Given the robust and aromatic nature of the Negroni, we can successfully combine it with caramelized, toasted, smoked, and, why not, even slightly spicy notes.
Negroni is an aperitif cocktail made of gin, vermouth, and bitter and its bittersweet taste recalls the salty notes of Cetara anchovies, but it also goes very well with buttery textures such as avocado, salmon, and buns in general.
Pairings between Negroni and rich, salty foods also work so well because the drink leaves the mouth clean for the next bite. So aperitif appetizers are welcome but, even in this case, it is better to avoid pasta.
The matching between food and Mojito - which is made of rum, mint, lime, and a sugary part - is extremely versatile.
The cocktail mix recalls spicy foods that need to wash the mouth often. Among possible pairings try tacos or roast pork or beef, softened by spicy condiments or sauces. Also very good with sushi. The degreasing freshness of the drink pairs it well with fried foods and foods having savory notes.
The Mojito does not get along well with the bitterness. Better with spicy.
The Old Fashioned is a very sweet after-dinner drink in which the whiskey is combined with a sugar cube soaked in Angostura.
It goes well with strong flavors typical of the game but also beef, pork ribs, and smoked fish. The savory part is dampened by whiskey.
MANHATTAN AND BOULEVARDIER
Two after-dinner cocktails that go well with a chocolate and orange dessert. Boulevardier's whiskey and vermouth also recall strong-flavored cold cuts, spicy or spicy meat dishes such as chili, or a nice crispy chicken.
Savory cheeses are also highly recommended.
The "Cosmo" goes perfectly with a risotto with fresh and delicate flavors, or with saffron. A tip: try it with eggs or raw fish.
Cranberry combined with vodka and orange of Cointreau goes well with risotto but also with fruit desserts, such as a Tarte Tatin or a lemon or cherry tart. The important thing is to always maintain a bit of contrast.
Daiquiri goes well with fish and spicy dishes. The citrus part of the drink recalls the taste of crustaceans such as prawns and scampi, which can be served alone or as a condiment for pasta, also combined with sauces such as mango or lychee chutney.
Margarita is a drink made from tequila, an agave distillate, combined with triple sec, a sweet liqueur flavored with orange, salt, and lime.
It goes well with many dishes of Mexican cuisine, from tacos to meat burritos to corn tortillas. It is also very good with classic potato omelets, which can be spiced or flavored. We can also recommend it with bluefin tuna with sesame - the classic tuna tataki - and with grilled crispy vegetables.
Dry Martini is a very dry drink and goes well with oysters and with all the raw seafood. The mouth remains clean at all times and the marine flavors are paired with vermouth and gin.
Sushi is the ideal combination because it recalls just the gin, which is a very fragrant cereal distillate.
A gamble to try? Lamb chops and fried artichokes.
The flavor of vodka, the pungent side of ginger, and the thirst-quenching power of lime make the Moscow Mule one of the most interesting cocktails you can pair with a fantastic paella.
You can go wild with the combinations, even with raw fish. Try it with a zucchini and shrimp pasta or with grilled salmon, a contrast of fragrances that leaves a mark. An unexpected combination is with potatoes: whether boiled, roasted, fried, or baked, they explode with flavor when paired with a Moscow Mule!
Lovers of international cuisine can try it with a Pad Thai (rice noodles with shrimps, soy sprouts, and lime) as ginger and lime are the protagonists of both Thai cuisine and Moscow Mule and the attraction between the two is irresistible.
This velvety drink is ideal as an after-dinner drink and pairs perfectly with baked goods, chocolate, and traditional Italian desserts. To try a daring (but delicious!) pairing of Espresso Martini with roasted meats, bacon, smoked meat, and fish.