Cocktails and Food: This Is How to Find the Perfect Match

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The margarita is America’s favorite cocktail, so if you make a big batch for your next dinner party, it is sure to be a winner. But that does not mean it will go with your food. 

Like different wines can pair well with certain dishes, you can pair certain cocktails and food together too. Amazing cocktail combinations can make both the drink and meal taste even better.

But how on earth do you figure out how to make a cocktail that goes with your courses? Don’t worry, this simple guide will show you how.

Pair the Cocktail to a Cuisine

If you are a newbie to mixology or cooking in general, the easiest way to start pairing cocktails and food is to stick within the same cuisine. The flavor profiles in the cocktails and dishes likely have similar base ingredients.

Here are some classic cocktail pairings you can try:

  • Mexican cuisine = Margaritas and tacos
  • Cuban cuisine = Mojitos and tamales
  • Italian cuisine = Aperol spritzes and pasta
  • Spanish cuisine = Sangrias and paella
  • French cuisine = French 75s and coq au vin
  • Eastern European cuisine = Black Russians and stroganoff

The lime in the margarita should complement the lime in the tacos. And the spices in Jack from Brooklyn‘s sorel liqueur cocktails will go with flavorful Caribbean cuisine.

Use traditional cocktail recipes so those essential flavors shine through. Strawberry frozen margaritas have a very different flavor profile to classic ones. 

Lead With the Cocktail’s Main Spirit

But this is difficult to do with some of the most popular and best cocktails like old-fashioned or bloody mary drinks. In this case, you can pair a cocktail’s main spirit with a type of meal.

Here are some great spirit and food pairings to try:

  • Tequila = Spicy dishes with dark sauces and chocolate
  • Vodka = Asian food and dishes with strong flavors
  • Gin = Seafood and light risottos
  • Bourbon = Beef and other red meat dishes
  • Rum = Desserts with fruit and chocolate

When making a cocktail, you may not have one signature spirit. But the rule of thumb is dark, strong liquids pair well with hearty dishes and light liquids with lighter meals. 

Don’t Reinvent the Cocktail Umbrella

Are you still struggling with your cocktails and food pairings? Try wine cocktails. There is tons of information out there documenting which types of wines pair well with every meal under the sun.

Here are some great wine cocktails and food pairings based on their wine:

  • Sangria = Roast pork, chorizo, and strong cheese
  • French 75 = Chicken, creamy potatoes, and oysters
  • Aperol Spritz = Desserts, light bites, and egg-based dishes

Wine pairings are a tried-and-tested artform, so you cannot go wrong.

Perfect Cocktails and Food Combos for Your Next Dinner Party

Pairing cocktails and food is an exciting way to spice up your next dinner party. Try not to overdo it on the alcohol and everyone will have a safe and wonderful night they will remember for a long time.

Looking for more inspiration for your next dinner party? Browse our website for tons of expert culinary tips and advice!


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