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The ultimate A-Z guide to drink pairings

Everything You Need to know To Impress Your Guest

We’re all about the flavour, and drink pairings are the ultimate way to double your expectations. Classic cocktail pairings have stood the test of time - think of a dry martini with oysters or Margaritas with tacos. However, we believe there are always ways to use innovative drink pairings that make a legendary dinner party.

Cocktail Pairing - going all in on flavour

Because cocktails are profoundly diverse, you can always find the perfect drink to add piquancy to your menu. But while we regularly break all the rules, there are some guidelines …

Great body!

The body, or weight, of foods can be an important consideration when planning your cocktails. Full-bodied cocktails made from whisky, bourbon or rum are going to work well with rich foods. These are foods such as a charcuterie, roast meats and creamy sauces. On the other hand, light, buttery gougeres, soufflés and salmon dishes will respond beautifully to the light, ethereal flavours in champagne cocktails and our own Double Lemon Fizz.  

Double Lemon Fizz

  • 25ml Gin
  • 25ml Lemon juice
  • 1 Egg white
  • Double Dutch Double Lemon

Creating a Lemon Fizz

Pour 25ml gin, 25ml lemon juice and an egg white into a shaker. Shake well, top with a generous serving of ice and shake well again. Double strain the liquid into a glass, filling up with Double Dutch Double Lemon, before decorating with a lemon slice and mint sprig.

Here is the full recipe - Double Lemon Fizz

Pairings for Puddings

Puddings can be tricky - but working with main tastes can be the answer to a good match. so for summer puddings and crumbles, the Bramble cocktail is an obvious winner, while for tiramisu, layer cakes and ice-creams, a Brandy Alexander provides the perfect balance.

>We Highly Recommend Mix and match

Sometimes you want to dial up the flavour with matching tastes, such as combining our Lazy Devil - replete with Tequila and Chambord - with smoky barbecue dishes. replace the classic white wine that accompanies a Caesar Salad with The Dutchess - a high taste, low calorie delight. 

The Dutchess

  • 35ml gin
  • Rosemary stalk
  • Double Dutch Skinny Tonic Water

Creating The Dutchess

Fill a highball glass with ice and pour in 35ml of gin. Top off with Double Dutch Skinny Tonic and finish with a rosemary sprig and juniper berries.

Here is the full recipe - The Dutchess

Punchy Drink & Food Pairing

On the other hand, when you think differently you can create punchy counterpoints, such as Mac and Cheese with a Gimlet to cut through the richness of the dish, or bringing the warmth of a Whiskey Mac to pair with sushi. 

There’s no limit to the ways you can double down on flavour:- 

  • Fish and chips? Try a Moscow Mule.
  • Tapas? We relish a Cuba Libre.
  • Thai fish curry? A Vodkatini will work wonderfully.
  • Kebab? It has to be a Mojito.
  • Beef Wellington? Welcome to our Spiced Rum Fizz.

Spiced Rum Fizz

  • 50ml Spiced Rum
  • Orange slice
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Double Dutch Indian Tonic Water

Creating a Rum Fizz

Fill a highball glass with ice and pour the spiced rum over the top, top with Double Dutch Indian Tonic Water. Garnish with half a slice of orange and a cinnamon stick.

What to Avoid in Drink Pairings?

Well, while you can always celebrate the unexpected by playing around with tastes, some cocktail flavours are truly tough to balance. 

Pastis-based cocktails, for example, are pretty well limited to seafood… although we’d push our luck and try them with chicken in a creamy sauce. If you’re uncertain, you can always hold a pre-event cocktail tasting and test your innovations on your closest friends - you might invent a new classic combination!

Think about your spice levels

One interesting element of cocktail pairing is the way that alcohol and spicy flavours interact. We’re all about the flavour - but high alcohol cocktails will intensify the spiciness of a dish. This can have issues, such as leading to more heat than anticipated! This is because alcohol ramps up the capsaicin, which causes the sensation of heat.

Low or Non-Alcohol Cocktails

If you’re serving something high in chilli flavours, or full of the earthy warmth of garam masala or cumin, think about low or no alcoholic drinks to keep all the complexity of your ingredients. Otherwise you’d be offering nothing but a palate burning warmth. 

Reducing The Heat

You can take two different routes here; one is to offer dairy-based cocktails because dairy contains casein protein which binds capsaicin and washes it away. Think White Russian or a Grasshopper. The other is to dial down the booze but go all in on the taste, so consider our Dutch Island as the no alcohol solution.

Find the frequency

Most things have energy - and cocktails have more energy than most things! If you think about your cocktail pairings in frequency terms, it’s easy to see that a powerful dish needs a similarly powerful cocktail to enhance its potency, while a delicate flavour needs to be balanced by a light, elegant cocktail that will resonate well. Think of it like notes that harmonise - Bellinis sing beautifully with Caprese or Niçoise salads, while an Old Fashioned can be the guitar solo over the solid bass line of a good steak.

Concluding Our Drink Pairing Guide

In conclusion - get inventive with your food and beverage! We’ve created our range of mixers to give you the best tastes and flavours, now it’s your turn to wow your friends with daring and delicious food and pairings… and if you come up with something amazing, send us the recipe!