September 7, 2022
Co-op Wine Spirits Beer Sommelier Coordinator Katherine Mindach has some advice for cooking with alcohol:
“When you pour a little in the pot, make sure to pour the rest in your glass!”
Mindach offers this advice with a smile and tongue firmly in cheek, but says whether it is beer, wine or a spirit, when you cook with alcohol you allow the ingredients to marinate in the complex flavours and have new and unexpected notes added to your dish.
“When you finally sit down to eat your hard work pairing the meal with some of the alcohol you used in the recipe will pull the flavours out of the dish and highlight your carefully chosen addition.”
Mindach has crafted some perfect pairings for the holiday season, featuring beer, wine and spirits so there’s a choice for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re choosing to dine with your household only or feasting with members of your ‘bubble’, Co-op Wine Spirits beer can help you round out the meal.
What to pair with: Royal Prime Rib with Roasted Vegetables
When pairing food and alcohol you typically have two options, you can pair with the main component or with the side dishes, but sometimes you can find a pairing that benefits all portions of the dish.
“When pairing with red meats and roasted root vegetables look for drinks with bold flavours and rustic notes like earth, leather or mushroom to pair with both the meat and the vegetables,” Mindach suggests.
Wine: Chateau Rousselle Bordeaux Rouge 2017
Offers notes of red fruit, herbal spices and graphite. Bold and tannic, this will complement both the meat and the side dish.
Beer: Erdinger Dunkel
Medium body with a dark hue, sturdy enough to stand up to prime rib with complementary notes for the roasted vegetables.
Spirit: Bruichladdich Octomore Scotch Whiskey
Octomore is famous for its heavily peated scotch, the peat brings in earthiness to match the vegetables but has the structure and acidity to tame the rich prime rib. Look for Islay scotch for appropriate levels of peat.
What to pair with: Royal Prime Rib with Shiraz Jus
The base of the jus sauce is a bold and peppery shiraz wine, and Mindach’s wine selection will add flavours of cassis, black pepper, sweet tobacco and an array of black fruits.
“Heavy red meats with flavourful sauces are best paired with equally bold and flavourful drinks that can stand up against the meats rich flavour and the robust shiraz jus,” she advises.
Wine: Langmeil Valley Floor Barossa Shiraz
If you cook with a wine, you should always try a glass with the meal! This Shiraz offers black pepper with a slew of brambled fruit and will make an amazing jus while complimenting the prime rib.
Beer: Ribstone Creek Old Man Winter Porter
A robust dark brown Porter with pronounced chocolate and roast coffee notes, balanced by light caramel sweetness, this well-bodied brew has fruity and roasted aromas on the nose and is the perfect companion for a cold winter night.
Spirit: Basil Hayden Bourbon
Try adding two dashes of bitters and a sugar cube to create a smooth Old Fashioned cocktail that will highlight the star of the show—the prime rib.
What to pair with: Smoked Salmon Salad with Cucumbers and Dill
One of the most important aspects when pairing food with delicious drinks is acid, according to Mindach.
“It cuts through fats and adds fresh vibrancy to a dish. The proper pairing can elevate an amazing dish to a full-blown culinary majesty. Smoked salmon, cream cheese and penne are all hinting towards wanting a drink pairing that has fresh acid and maybe even a little minerality but nothing to heavy to lose the delicate flavours.”
Wine: Louis Jadot Chablis
A style of unoaked Chardonnay from France. Offers exactly what this dish needs, refreshing acid with notes of wet stone and citrus. Chablais are made is mostly similar styles so anything from this region will be a match made in heaven.
Beer: Fat Tug IPA
This beer offers citrus notes all wrapped in a slight bitterness and will offer the body and acid needed to pair with this dish.
Spirits: Confluence Headwater Vodka
Make a simple cucumber vodka soda – it has everything to complement this refreshing and zesty dish. 1 oz Vodka, 4 slices of cucumber, soda water to taste.
What to pair with: Smoked Trout Potato Bites
Fish can be a difficult meat to pair with wine because there are so many different styles, flavours and textures. Mindach thinks trout(being a medium body fish) calls for a drink pairing with both crisp acid and a textural body. The body is also important when pairing with earth vegetables like potatoes.
Wine: Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Fume Blanc
Barrel fermentation and lees contact add an extra textural component to this Sauvignon Blanc making it the perfect balance between body and acid for this dish.
Beer: Banded Peak Chinook Saison
Saison beers are crisp with a hint of tart but can vary in style depending on producer. The Chinook Saison is perfect in body, texture, acid and deliciousness for pairing with smoked fish and potatoes.
Spirit: Confluence Headwater Vodka
Great on the rocks or add vermouth to make a martini—the vermouth will add body and texture to match the smoked trout.
What to pair with: Coffee Marinated Tomahawk Steaks
With the boldness of coffee in the marinade, you’ll need a sip that can hold its own. Mindach recommends looking for drinks with enough flavour to stand up to the coffee notes—and that offer complimentary notes to both the coffee and the steak.
Wine: Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga D’Alba 2014
This Barolo-esque wine is prefect for the vigorous flavours of the coffee marinade and with a large tannic body and racy acid will uplift the flavours and fats in the tomahawk steak.
Beer: Old Engine Oil Stout
Deep, rich and dark (don’t let the name put you off), this beer is the perfect balance of bittersweet flavours with an opulent round texture and a hint of coffee notes. Adds an extra touch of coffee and chocolate while having enough oomph to stand up to steak.
Spirit: Patron X.O. Café
Tequila coffee liqueur makes the perfect coffee themed compliment to the marinade. With just a hint of tequila flavour to add supporting acid, this pairing will make your steak’s fat melt in your mouth (if It didn’t already).
What to pair with: Ham or Turkey
Most festive dinners highlight either turkey or ham and both are versatile options for pairing with delicious drinks that can be consumed before, during and after the feast.
Wine: Cuvee Grand Esprit Marquis de La Mysteriale Champagne N/V
Champagne is one of the most versatile wine pairings: the lively bubbles make exceptional texture and there is always vibrant acid to back it up. Champagne will not only pair with turkey or ham but everything else that is featured in a festive dinner.
Beer: Eighty-Eight Brewing Night Gallery New England Pale Ale (NEPA)
Similar to champagne, NEPA is a crowd pleaser that pairs with most (if not all) meats and side dishes. Light, with medium hop and citrus-driven aromas, this beer will pair with all festive foods, good company and close friends and family.
Spirits: Flor de Cana 7-year Gran Reserva Rum
Notes of fig and vanilla will complement turkey or ham when on the rocks but mix in cranberry juice to your preference for a spiced yet tart drink that will refresh your palate with every bite.
At Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, we know you want quality products and are also looking for the best value.
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