Recommendations for Pairing Spirits with Food

Pairing your favorite spirit drink with food
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The first thing you will think of when you hear of food and alcohol is wine. In most cases after all red or white wine is the one paired with meals. Many cultures, however, pair their food with spirits.

This does not mean you should pick the nearest bottle of spirit and pour it into an elegant decanter for your dinner table. Pairing your food with spirits requires tact. It is not as easy as pairing it with wine hampers such as prosecco gifts.

You should, for instance, pay attention to the texture, bitterness, body and complement or contrast of your spirit with the dish. Here are guidelines on which spirit should form part of your dinner table depending on the food you are serving.


This is a clear spirit which contains a complex layer of herbs and an intricate infusion of juniper. Some brands of gin are cask-aged and citrusy. The taste of gin will pair exceptionally well with seafood like grilled prawns, shrimp cocktail and a chilled seafood platter.

There are multiple cocktails you can make with gin to match different spice levels in your dish. A cocktail containing cucumber or fruit, for example, will pair well with heavily spiced dishes as it generates a sweet and floral flavor that counters the food’s spice.


This is an agave-based spirit which can be drunk in a cocktail or straight. Shots of Blanco tequila will pair with queso fundido, which is a melted cheese dish or guacamole.

The darker and more complex tequila variety known as Anejo is brilliant for dishes with a hint of chocolate in them. Margaritas, on the other hand, with no salt on the glass’ rim are perfect for tacos or ceviche.


This is a Scandinavian clear grain-based spirit which is flavored using caraway seeds. In a few cases, aquavit can be flavored using spices such as cumin, coriander, cardamom, dill, and fennel. These flavors make a shot of icy aquavit the perfect combination with cured fish, gravlax and smoked salmon.


Shot of vodka with lime wedges

This is the natural alcohol type paired with Russian dishes. When pairing vodka with your food, opt for an icy cold shot. The neutral spirit will create a kick which pairs with all types of flavors.

Herring and smoked fish are typically paired with vodka. Black pepper and horseradish vodka are the most common types of flavored vodkas consumed with food.


This is the perfect spirit to pair with barbecued meats like smoked brisket and ribs. The ideal choice for this instance will be the dark and profound variety. Straight bourbon will also pair very well with chocolate desserts.

When pairing spirits with food, pay close attention to the alcohol level of your bottle. You, after all, would not wish to get your guests too drunk at the dinner table and risk them not savoring the flavor of your dishes.

If your recipe calls for any of the above spirits, you can opt to use the same spirit as the drink on your table to maximize its flavor. With the right pairing, you will set yourself apart as the knowledgeable host and truly tantalize your guests’ taste buds.

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