When it comes to choosing an alcoholic beverage to pair with a meal, the right choice can make a good meal even better while the wrong choice can overpower the taste of the food. While no exact formula exists for matching food with drinks, most people aim to achieve contrasting flavors or flavors that especially complement one another. Below are some tips on how to do just that.
Three Important Factors to Consider When Selecting Alcoholic Beverages
Since most people order their food first and then consider a beverage to match, it’s important to consider the ingredients and the strongest flavors of the food when deciding what to drink with it. However, it’s also important to know the alcohol level since drinks with a higher percentage of alcohol go best with lighter or blander foods. The opposite is true of dense, rich foods with powerful flavors.
The level of carbonation and acidity of a drink are also important considerations. That is because both can help to quench thirst and make the tongue feel lighter after the fat contained in some types of foods coats it. Removing the coated-on fat with an alcoholic beverage high in carbonation or acidity helps to restore taste sensations just in time for the next bite.
Tannins, which come from oak barrels, grape skins, or stems, add a slightly bitter taste to most wines. In a red wine without too much added acid, for example, tannins helps to offset the protein and fat in red meat. Unfortunately, the tannin ingredient in wine isn’t a good choice for extra-spicy dishes since the combination can cause irritation of the tongue’s soft tissue. Sweet dishes, such as meat coated in barbeque sauce, pair well with beer or off-dry wine.
The Always Popular and Versatile Beer
Beer can go well with a wide range of dishes, particularly appetizers. The heavier the food, the heavier the beer must be to match. Light beer is an excellent choice to pair with spicy food since the burn from both food and drink might be too strong otherwise. Additionally, wheat-based beer tends to match well with non-fish seafood while lagers pair decently with poultry or fish.
Popular Chinese Food and Alcohol Pairings
As with other types of cuisine, the key to a successful pairing of Chinese food and alcoholic beverages is to carefully consider the strongest flavors in each to ensure that they complement each other well. Roast duck noodle soup served with Bordeaux is just one example. Diners appreciate roast duck noodle soup for warmth, rich flavor, and comfort. Its spiciness requires a drink that doesn’t cause the meal to lose its flavor. The blackberries, pepper, and spice contained in Bordeaux wine blend effortlessly with the duck meat of the soup.
Bordeaux isn’t the only type of wine that makes an ideal combination with a Chinese dish. Sauvignon Blanc is an acidic and creamy-tasting wine that balances the rich meal of zha jiang mian. The rich soy and minced pork in this food need a beverage that can match their power and Sauvignon Blanc does the job well.
Whether eating traditional American fare, Chinese food, or food from another culture, diners who just don’t feel confident in their choice of pairing drinks with food shouldn’t hesitate to ask the wait staff for recommendations.
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