If your Valentine’s Day plans include the researching, prepping, and executing of an on-theme cocktail hour that gives a nod to romance, truly, you are going above and beyond the call of duty. Most people settle for a bottle of wine, but few dabble with more complex refreshments. However, considering we’ve all flexed our cocktailing muscles at home over the past two years, you are more than capable to pull-off a romantic night at home, whether with a lover, a friend or your roommate.
While most of us are well-versed on wine pairings, when it comes to what to drink cocktails with — other than more cocktails – it gets a little more complex. According to Jeremy Allan, Brand Manager of Twisted Shaker Cocktails, the overall theme here is to choose foods that complement, but not compete with, the flavours of the cocktails being served. You want a drink that naturally fits with the food, extends its principal flavours, and keeps your senses invigorated, anticipating the next bite or sip. There are far more choices with cocktails than there are with wine; this opens up the pairing possibilities, but it can also make it difficult to know where to begin. To give you an introductory lesson, read on for 5 cocktail and food pairings to try at home:
You are going to want a dish or appetiser that complements the lime flavours of the margarita. Guac and chips are an easy and simple match but if you have a bit more time, try raw kingfish ceviche. If you enjoy it, don’t be afraid to add a bit of chilli on top too, that always goes down a treat. Another option is anything grilled or barbecued. The sweet notes of a margarita balance the spice and salt; you can think of this combination with an “opposites attract” mentality.
Instead of heading for the sake to sip with your sushi, you may want to consider mixing it up with a gin gimlet next time. Sushi with cucumber will enhance the flavours already present in the cucumber gimlet plus the cocktail will act as a palate cleanser in between bites. The citrus notes of the lime juice, a touch of sugar, and the flavour of a good dry gin go really nice with all the salty, wasabi goodness of a sushi meal.
Think about what you’d want with your morning coffee. A nutty biscotti or rich chocolate dessert is going to balance the bittersweet-ness of the coffee element. Try pouring it over vanilla ice cream (affogato al caffe style), pairing it with a classic cheesecake or simply with chocolate. Just remember, sweet flavours shut down the palate, so indulge in sweeter drinks at the end of the meal or evening, not the beginning, otherwise your brain will tell you to stop eating.
Whiskey based cocktails pair well with beef, particularly on the BBQ. If you are looking for a bit of extra flavour, try using a smoky BBQ rub on the beef before cooking, the subtle smoky flavours will round off the Old Fashioned nicely. For something on the lighter side, try smoked salmon. The smoky flavour of the salmon gives the cocktail a spicy fruity taste, complementing each other really well.
The cosmo lends itself well to a good old cheeseboard. Go for a bit of flavour in your cheese but nothing too overpowering (stray away from blue). Hard cheeses like aged cheddar and pecorino of softer cheeses like brie will go great with the fruity and floral flavours of the raspberry hibiscus cosmopolitan.
As for making the experience feel like a real bar, having your ingredients prepped always helps to keep the flow of cocktails coming (responsibly, of course). Cut up your garnishes, get your ingredients ready and put your ice in the sink. It’s always helpful to know what you’re making beforehand and what food you will pair with it as well. Twisted Shaker can take the stress out here – they are premixed and ready to go, all you need to do is chill them down and pour. Whoever has the job of mixing the drinks, have them raise the shaker above their shoulders when shaking for a bit of flair. While it’s not entirely necessary to do this, it does make it easier to shake. Remember, if you can’t hear that ice shaking, they’re not working hard enough.
Twisted Shaker is a locally-made, boutique range designed to be served straight from the bottle encompassing an exciting range of both iconic cocktails and exciting new twists on old favourites. The range includes a Raspberry Hibiscus Cosmopolitan, Espresso Martini, Tequila Margarita, Cucumber Gin Gimlet and Whiskey Old Fashioned. So impressing your valentine has never been easier😉 Twisted Shaker Cocktails are available via bevmart.com.au and can be delivered to your door nationwide.