Drinks are almost always better when you have something on hand to munch on while sipping them. However, though your go-to pica-pica might go well with beer, it might not taste as good when downed with your favorite cocktail. While picking the right food to match your drink may not be as easy as it may seem, you’ll be bound to get the hang of it in no time with these pointers from Kat Nantes, co-owner of Paire Cocktails and Pastries. Keep reading for a crash course on drink pairing.

1. WHEN IN DOUBT, STICK TO THE BASICS.
“Usually, the rule is, if your food is salty, your drink should be sweet. If your drink is sour, your food should be sweet,” explains Kat. “With wine, normally, red wine goes with meat. White wine goes with fish. With cocktails, actually, the cocktail staple is pica-pica. Vol-au-vents, canapés. It’s safest to pair it with bite-sized savory pastries, cocktails picks. It’s because the drinks are usually sweet, so the food is salty.”

“Sour drinks are paired with sweet food, and some pair them with chocolate,” continues Kat. “For beer, it’s usually fried food, or mushrooms. And anything spicy, so that the beer’s spirit will contrast with the flavor.”

2. KNOW THE DRINK’S COMPOSITION.
“You have to consider the other ingredients of the drink to know what you should pair it with,” says Kat. “If you want to be more daring, you have to know the drink first before you’ll be able to partner it with any food.”

3. SEE WHAT COMPLEMENTS AND ENHANCES.
“Complementing means you have contrasting tastes. Enhancing means that when you mix them, they’ll produce a different flavor,” explains Kat. “When you detect a strange aftertaste, or if one flavor overpowers the other when you mix it, it didn’t complement. They don’t go with each other.”

4. DON’T GO OVERBOARD WITH THE FLAVOR.
“When my food is already rich, I’ll choose a lighter drink, meaning one with less flavors, one that’s less intricate, drier. A perfect example would be a cake, chocolate cake. Do you pair it with milk shake? If you do, you’ll enjoy the first few bites, but you’ll get tired of it,” advises Kat. “With me, when I eat, I want to enjoy my meal until the end. I don’t want to get tired of it."

(Photo by Lance Johnson via Flickr Creative Commons)

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