The 10 food categories & drinks paired perfectly

Traditional food pairing can be achieved across all drinks categories including wine beer and soft drinks

For example, if you were to pair a fish dish with a light dry white wine, serve light coloured beers and soft fruity softs drinks that are crisp and refreshing. Or if you were pairing heavy dark meat with full bodied red wines, consider serving an amber beer or a bold caramel cola to balance more robust flavours in the food.

Oily & filling

Oily and filling dishes such as fish and chips need a palate cleanser.

Beer:
The subtle caramel with bitterness in classic lager cuts through the meat. The crisp, carbonated bubbles in lager will cleanse the palate.

Wine:
A light bodied white such as a Chablis or Chenin Blanc cuts through oily dishes. Champagne and fizzy wine is also great for palate cleansing with oilier dishes.

Soft drinks:
Sweet lemonade pairs well as the light bubbles helps to cut through oily foods while refreshing and cleansing the palate.

Rich & heavy

Rich and heavy dishes such as steak need rich, full-bodied drinks to enhance the unami

Beer:
The balanced bitterness of pale ale will cut through rich dark meat while the sweet malty flavours will pair well the sweetness of a juicy steak.

Wine:
Juicy ripe reds such as merlot and rioja compliment simple red meats while full bodied reds such as cabernet sauvignon are perfect for richer meatier dishes.

Soft drinks:
The high intense and rich caramel notes in cola compliments red meat perfectly while the higher acidity cuts through any fat.

Smokey

Salt and acidity need to work in harmony with smoky dishes to enhance the meal

Beer:
Bitterness in the red or amber ale will cut through the smoky foods while the sweet malty flavours will complement any sticky BBQ sauces.

Wine:
Zinfandel Sauvignon is the perfect partner for smoky dishes as it is bold & jammy. Consider chilling red wine when serving smoky BBQ dishes outside to cool the overall experience.

Soft drinks:
Cola Pairs well with smoky dishes as the smoky savouriness becomes enhanced. There is a good blend of sweetness with highly flavoured smoky dishes.

Salty & savoury

White meat dishes need an acidic based drink to balance any fat in the meat and cleanse the mouth

Wine:
A full-bodied white or a medium bodied red will pair perfectly salty dishes. Consider a richer Chardonnay (California or Australia), Pinot Noir from California or New Zealand and a Zinfandel.

Soft drinks:
Full flavour juice drinks pair well with salty and savoury dishes. The sweetness and fruity flavours of juices enhances plainer savoury dishes while also neutralising the palette from high salt levels.

Creamy & rich

Rich, creamy dishes such as cabonara require drinks with moderate levels of tannin to increase drying sensation to contrast the creaminess of the dish

Beer:
Light cool lagers compliment creamy and rich dishes. The crisp, carbonated bubbles in lager will cleanse the palate.

Wine:
The wines need to be light so as not to create too heavy a meal, so dry aromatic whites such as Chablis or Sauvignon Blanc work well, as do herby Italian reds such.

Soft drinks:
Lemon and lime based drinks work well with creamy dishes as the light sweetness refreshes the palate while enhancing flavour delivery.

Aromatic Thai

Aromatic dishes usually contain strong fragrant herbs and spices which need complimenting with fruit based drinks

Beer:
Fruit beer compliments the fragrant ingredients in aromatic dishes, combining in harmony to deliver a stronger taste.

Wine:
Earthy red wines match well as the fruit and earthy notes balance the spicier aromatic food notes. Malbec and Merlot work particularly well.

Soft drinks:
Exotic juice based drinks with a mango or pineapple base, or cooling ice tea drinks are the perfect partner for aromatic dishes as they balance the complex fragrant herbs in the food.

Sweet & Sour

The drinks need to balance and not over power the sugar and salt within Sweet & Sour dishes. Look for drinks with similar ingredients as the food such as ginger and plum.

Beer:
Fruit beer compliments sweet & sour dishes as they work in harmony to deliver an intense fruity taste.

Wine:
Aromatic whites such as riesling and pinot gris for sweet-and-sour dishes work well as the complex dish needs a simpler wine that balances sugar and salt.

Soft drinks:
Ginger beer and ginger ale works well with sweet & sour dishes The peppery finish compliments the herbs and sauces within Chinese dishes.

Hot & spicy

Hot & spicy dishes require drinks to cool and neutralise the palette. Spice enhances drinks flavours so they need to be more neutral.

Beer:
Wheat beer accompanies hot & spicy dishes as the creaminess of the hops cuts through the spice & complex flavours.

Wine:
Wine needs to be earthy and fruity to compliment hot spices. As spice makes wine taste sharper, wine needs to be strong in fruit flavours to balance out tastes.

Soft drinks:
Softs can be used as a palette cleanser, think about traditional sorbet flavours such as lemon and mango. Use soft drinks full of cooling juicy fruit flavours to balance hot & spicy sauces.

Light & crispy

Light and crisp dishes such as salads need a light refreshing drink to accompany as so not to over power

Beer:
Low ABV beers go well with salads, try something with an afternote of fruit. Pale ale and lager with these fruit notes match well.

Wine:
Crisp white that is clear and light is a great partner with salad. Choose a wine that is lower in ABV so there is a good match in the weight of the wine and food.

Soft drinks:
Lightly sparkling juices and infused softs compliment light meals and snacks. Consider pear and raspberry based drinks with a soft undertone.

Sweet desserts

Choose a drink that is either sweeter than the dessert to allow the drink to stand out, or choose a drink that contrasts and is bitter.

Beer:
Bitter IPA pairs well with chocolate based pudding as the full bodied bitterness cuts through sweetness.

Wine:
Choose a wine that’s sweeter than your dessert - this will allow the wine to stand up to the food rather than coming across as overly bitter and acidic. A sweet, rich, nutty Port with a rich cheese such as Stilton. Ice wine with intense fruit flavours to pair with tarts and pies.

Soft drinks:
Traditional hot drinks like tea and coffee often pair well with desserts but still soft drinks with fruit based notes such as cherry, apple and raspberry can also compliment other dessert items.