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Charcuterie and Cocktail Pairings: Know how to pair drinks with your food

Charcuterie and Cocktail Pairings: Know how to pair drinks with your food

While we pair up different meats, fruits, cheeses, and dips on the charcuterie board, we usually have no idea which drinks to serve with that.  Remember that it is not only about savory tastes, but there are some technicalities you need to consider when pairing up charcuterie with different drinks. Every drink has its delicacy and must be complemented with the right type of meat.

Everything to keep in mind before pairing up charcuterie with cocktails.

As you fill your charcuterie board with different meats, you must know if it stays spicy, savory, or sweet. It is because the cocktail pairing must be done accordingly. Here is everything you must keep in mind when pairing up your cocktails with a charcuterie board:

  • Foods that are over-spicy or have a strong garlic taste will overpower the flavor of your drink, so skipping them is better.
  • Matching stronger cocktails with stronger flavor foods and lighter ones together may work out sometimes, but it is not necessary to try.
  • Cask-strength or less diluted cocktails taste much better when diluting them a bit. Try for yourself and go as you like.
  • Adding fresh fruits and dried fruits makes pairing with cocktails much easier.
  • Avoid citrus on your charcuterie when pairing it with a cocktail. You may only use it on a marmalade or a cake.
  • You may not find a better match for spicy foods than Plata tequila.
  • Gin and Tonic pairings taste well, especially when using a premium tonic.
  • Be careful when adding seafood to your charcuterie board. Some items like sushi may not taste as good when paired with wrong drinks like single malt.
  • Scotch whiskies go well with fatty foods

Top 5 Charcuterie and Cocktail Pairings

Now that you know the do’s and don’ts of pairing drinks with charcuterie, here are the top 5 categories of cocktails you can pair up with your meats.

1. Whiskey

Whiskies usually pair up well with many foods because of their sweeter and fruitier taste. You can pair these with spicy as well as lighter meats. Under the whiskey category, you can pair Speyside single malts with spicy and lighter meat types. Apart from meats, these taste amazing with mince pies, roasted nuts, ginger, dark chocolate biscuits, and varieties of cheese.

If you keep your flavors strong, try Spicy and rich, as this scotch works well with steaks and lamb. Here you may try coffee or dark chocolate flavors. When you add fish to your charcuterie board, try heavily peated single malts, as these pair up well with fish dishes and sushi, especially when it is ahead in a sherry cask.

Lightly peated, however, pairs well with oysters and other lighter foods. It is a savory whiskey that can polish the lighter taste of foods, making them taste much better. Bourbon will be good with sliced ham and sweets on your charcuterie board.

2. Tequila

Several types of tequila pair up with different types of foods. For instance, Plata tequila pairs up extremely well with spicy food, white meat, and seafood, including sushi. On the other hand, Anejo comes with a sweeter touch from caramel and winter spices. With a lighter feel, it also feels good with lighter foods and does not pair up well with spicy foods.

Reposado is good with fatty foods, including cheese types and pork. If you plan to add spicy Mexican food to your charcuterie, Reposado will make a great pick as a cocktail pairing. You can also try Mezcal for spicier foods because it has a spicier tone.

The flavors of Mezcal include earthly and smoky flavors that go well with roasted veggies, mushroom dishes, and also with different types of cheese.

3. Rum

You may find many options in Rum when pairing up with your charcuterie board. Learn that darker and fruitier rums go well along with lighter foods and add to their sweetness. On the other hand, going for Daiquiri or a Mojito will help keep the heat low when you eat fatty foods like salami and sausages. Rums usually come with fruity and sweet tastes, so these are considered light cocktails.

4. Gin

Gin like Oak-aged gin is considered a better choice when you have fish dishes like cured salmon on the charcuterie board. Gin also makes the tangy flavor of pickles on your charcuterie board develop better. To make it feel even better, you can try the savory gins with herbal notes in their taste from olive or rosemary.

Such Gins make a great choice for chicken liver and other white meats. If you are keeping a combination of sweets and spicy meats on your charcuterie board, then go for the sweeter fruity Gins. The spicy varieties of Gin usually go well with fish dishes and oysters. These pair up well with lighter cheese types as well. Gin also comes in floral flavors, which make a great cocktail pairing for lighter and sweeter charcuterie boards.

5. Fortified wine

The fruity, white, and tawny port all taste good with lighter and sweeter charcuterie boards. If you have more white meats, chicken, and seafood on your board, give Amontillado a try. Manzanilla and Fino also make good cocktails with seafood, sushi, and oysters. If you have a combination of blue cheese, beef, and fruits, then you will like Oloroso. Similarly, Mulled wine works well with savory meats like duck.

Drinks are usually sweet, spicy, or savory; for the best experience, you must pair them up with the right meat. It is because you want to offer a balanced experience instead of a blunt one.

Final Remarks:

Remember that you don't want the meat or the cocktail to overpower the taste of the other. Instead, they must complement each other. Setting up a charcuterie board with the right meats and pairing a cocktail with it gives you that little extra entertainment you want. So, instead of selecting any drink on your mind, check if its taste matches everything else on your charcuterie board.


Image by Katja Heigl from Pixabay