Whether you have spent hours in the kitchen preparing a dinner party for guests, or have just whisked up a quick snack, having the right drinks to match can make all the difference. Here are some suggestions you may not have thought of when pairing beer, spirits and wine with your home-cooked recipes.

Refreshing Beers

It could be said that having a beer with a meal is not terribly sophisticated, and shows a lack of imagination. However, not only is beer an up and coming trend, but some beers lend themselves particularly well to certain types of food. Spicy food is undoubtedly a good match with an ice-cold lager or sparkling cider, a refreshing drink to soothe your overheated taste buds. Chinese, Indian and Thai food all go well with beer.

Stout is a favourite drink and having a vibrant, roasted flavour can enhance a dessert, such as chocolate truffles or mousse. Amber ales are perfect for cleansing your palate and are a great match to barbequed food, such as pulled pork, jerk chicken or brisket. Their light, almost floral, aroma is an excellent foil to a delicious home-made pizza, perfectly complementing the rich tomato base and melted mozzarella topping.

Spirits with Food?

Although a glass of vodka or gin may not be the most obvious choice to enjoy with a meal, these spirits are the basis of many cocktails, bringing a holiday atmosphere to the dinner table. Matching a particular flavour in the drink with the central element of the dish is a fun way to add interest to your food. Why not try a minty mojito next time you have lamb?

However, be careful not to make the easy mistake of mixing an overly sweet or potent cocktail with a lighter dish, as it will completely overwhelm it, especially if having a high alcohol content.

Which Wines to Complement Your Food?

New Zealand wines are rightly recognised around the world, and it is no surprise that vineyards are large advertisers on TV, promoting their products to interested consumers. Today, the rule book can be thrown out of the window; white wine doesn’t have to be the only choice for fish and chicken, nor red wine the only option for a meat-based dish.

You may undoubtedly be surprised to learn that a salad will have its flavours enhanced by the addition of a glass of wine. An excellent suggestion is to try a spinach and bacon salad with a dry New Zealand white wine, such as a sauvignon blanc. This would be a perfect offset to a creamy blue cheese dressing.

So, whether your choice is a refreshing beer, a top quality spirit or a bottle of delicious wine, there is sure to be a drink to match the excellence of your cooking.