When seeking a good beverage and food pairing, the range of flavors, aromas, colors, and textures all complement food in different ways. To understand how to pair your foods with different, soft drinks, beer, spirits or wines you have to be able to understand the elements that drive their flavors. Beverage and food transform each other unlike any other two things in the world, like Bonnie and Clyde, they were meant for each other.
The most important rule in my opinion in pairing is that there are no wrong answers both there are some guidelines that can help you choose what you like. These three principles can help any novice or master chef with pairing the perfect beverage with their meal.
- Match strength with Strength: Delicate dishes work great with delicate beverages and strong dishes works wonderful with assertive drinks. Matching intensity and subtleness of food and drinks can go a long way to not overpower the other and work in harmony.
- Find Harmonies: Combinations work best they have common flavor or aroma profile. It is important to consider both the food ingredients and the method of preparation. For example, roasted meat items can go well with dark roasts beer and fresh lemon baked fish could go well with a citrus based cocktail.
- Consider Contrast Element: Sweetness, carbonation, bitterness, heat, spiciness, are qualities of food and drinks that can interact with each other in specific and predictable ways. Pairing a spicy dish to a sweet drink can help contrast and pairing a fatty dish with a highball can help cut the fat.