Treat your taste buds to matches made in culinary heaven!
by Reem Khaleel Feb 9, 2023
Whether you're prepping for Super Bowl LVII or Valentine's Day dinner, there are sure to be two things on your mind: food and booze. Certain combos might seem foul-proof when you're entertaining (who doesn't love a good margarita with tacos or pizza and beer?), but that doesn't make them particularly bragworthy, or even great pairings for that matter. If your go-to dish and adult bev have come to be because they're simple and easy, consider them a part of your past.
Using search data, social media trends, and expertise from in-house mixologist Patrick Pistolesi, NIO Cocktails compiled a list of some of the best food and booze pairings of all time to keep your tastebuds dancing from kickoff to halftime, dinner to dessert. It's time to ditch your comfort zone and give these seven delectable and unexpected pairings a go.
1. Cuba Libre and Pizza
Pairing pizza with cheap beer is a thing of the past! Instead, enjoy your favorite Chicago-style deep dish or fast-food chain pie with a Cuba libre, better known as rum and coke with lime. Both meaty options (say, pizza topped with barbeque chicken) and vegetarian varieties (like smoked aubergine and grilled cheese) complement the vanilla, brown sugar, and toffee flavors of the dark rum featured in this refreshing bev.
2. Tommy’s Margarita and Tacos
Mexican food lovers, refresh your palette with this subtle twist on the classic Taco Tuesday pairing. The secret is in Tommy's margarita, which replaces orange liqueur with agave nectar to delicately enhance the sharpness of the tequila. When sipped alongside the contrasting flavor of spicy tacos, the sweet-tart cocktail adds a crisp finish to an ordinarily great pairing.
3. Piña Colada and Thai Coconut Rice
Need a change of scenery? Indulge in this tropical combo that immediately transports you from living room couch to island dream. Featuring pineapple and coconut, piña coladas are the second most sought-out cocktail for their vacay vibes and creamy decadence. When paired with dishes with similar ingredients (like Thai coconut rice), the bold flavors of the piña colada become enhanced and your relaxation vibes intensified.
4. Sake Martini and Sushi
Whether you prefer sashimi or spicy tuna rolls, sushi is best paired with a sake martini. Unlike a traditional martini, this Japanese-inspired concoction features sake (rice-based alcohol that's off-dry and smooth like white wine) in place of dry vermouth with gin or vodka. According to Pistolesi, the acidity of the rice and high-fat content of the fish in sushi pair well with the complex botanicals in sake; whereas other alcoholic beverages that contain higher amounts of sulfur and iron can create a fishy odor and unpleasant aftertaste that keep you from enjoying the true flavor of the fish.
5. Bloody Mary and Katsu Curry
Although Bloody Marys are a brunch staple (and top cocktail favorite, according to NIO Cocktails) they are actually best served when paired with katsu curry, a famous Japanese dish known for its rich blend of spices. Between their shared inclusion of black pepper and paprika and the addition of cumin and ginger in the katsu curry, the variety of spices in this thoughtful pairing delightfully complements each other for a combo with a punch!
6. Paloma and Lobster
If you find yourself in the presence of a lobster dinner, Pistolesi suggests pairing your crustacean with the Mexican paloma, a tequila and citrus combo that has quickly become an afternoon favorite. The sweet and light taste of lobster meat is perfectly balanced by the crisp taste of the tequila and the tartness of the grapefruit and lime juices for unexpected decadence.
7. Espresso Martini and Tiramisu
If coffee is your kryptonite, you can’t go wrong with this tasty, double dose of caffeine! Next time drinks and dessert are on the agenda, order a tiramisu and an espresso martini, delectable on their own but ultra-rich when paired together. According to Pistolesi, this combo is the only way to end a delicious meal on a bold note.