The Mixology Talk Podcast, Episode Fourteen

Ever ordered a cocktail & food in a restaurant and they were just AWFUL together? Today we’re talking about super easy cocktail pairings to make sure that doesn’t happen again!

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In today’s Episode…

We’re talking all about how to choose food & cocktails that will go well together. For simplicity, we’ll talk about a couple general types of food. Of course, none of these are “hard and fast” rules, but hopefully we can give you somewhere to start!

Lighter Dishes: Salads, Fish, Lighter Pastas

With lighter dishes it’s not a bad idea to stay with lighter colored spirits and bright, fresh flavors.

  • Choose Lighter, Citrus-Driven Cocktails
  • Try to stick with clear spirits (as opposed to barrel-aged, amber or brown colored spirits)
  • Aperitifs like Lillet or Cocchi Americano can also be a good ingredient or drink on their own
  • Sparkling Drinks and drinks with a lower alcohol content are also a good match for a lighter, earlier course

Heavier Dishes:

Heavier dishes mean you can get away with heavier drinks!

  • Red Meat goes well with brown spirits
  • Heavy Pastas & Creamy Dishes: are better with spirits that have not seen oak, and cocktails that are less acidic.  Egg white cocktails could be a good choice for this pairing.
  • Fried Foods: A cocktail with a higher acid content can be a great match for fried food, and help cut through the weight of the dish.  (It’s just like squeezing lemon on your Fish & Chips!)


Since most desserts are fairly sweet, you’ll generally want to stay on the sweeter side of the spectrum for your drinks as well.

  • Rich Creamy Desserts like Ice Cream or Cheesecake: for these heavy desserts, I’d look for a cocktail that’s going to offer a bit of contrast.  Go for a slightly sweet drink that still has an acid component.  The sweetness of the dessert will make the drink seem tart in comparison, but it’ll be a refreshing contrast to your heavy, thick dessert.
  • Baked, Fruit Desserts like Apple Pie or Cobbler: This is an easy one!  For baked desserts I’d just about always choose spirits that have seen significant time in the barrel.  That’s because barrel aging imparts beautiful flavors like vanilla and baking spices – the perfect complement to a baked dessert.
  • Brighter, Acidic Desserts like Gelato: Since these are the least sweet of all the desserts, you can get away with more acidic drinks to go with.  Another good option is a sparkling wine cocktail, as carbonation can go really nicely with frozen desserts.
  • Chocolate! There’s a huge variety of chocolate desserts out there, but I think it’s generally a safe pairing to go with an egg white cocktail or a drink using cream liqueur.  Coffee liqueurs are also usually a great match for Chocolate.

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Thanks for Listening!

Well now I’m hungry! Thanks again for listening and I’m going to try to track down some chocolate cake. See you next week!

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