How to Pair Cocktails and Food Together

February 21, 2022

How to Pair Cocktails and Food Together

We usually think that only wine can be paired with food and that cocktails are something that we have at the end of the meal. However, cocktail and food pairings are becoming incredibly popular because of the broad range of flavours that you can experiment with. The right combination can enhance any meal and produce fantastic results. 

Drinks House 247 have put together some top tips on the best way to pair cocktails and food together, so you can make sure you can impress your dinner guests. 

Cocktails & Food Pairings

When pairing cocktails and food together, you should think about balancing those flavour profiles and think about what your taste buds are telling you.

It’s about trying to find that balance between naturally complementing the dish without overpowering either flavour. The food should always drive the flavours of the cocktail.

You might be tempted to pair a chocolate Martini with a chocolate mousse, however, this would be too much chocolate and too heavy on the palate. Instead, choose a cocktail which includes fruits like raspberries or strawberries to pair with the chocolate mousse. 

Here are some combinations you might like to try: 

  • Gin-based cocktails are great to pair with seafood or a vegetarian pasta dish. Plus, if you need a palate cleanse, a gin and tonic will work wonders. 
  • Whiskey-based cocktails are often best paired with red meats or veggie burgers. 
  • Vodka-based cocktails are the most diverse pairings as they could have so many flavours. However, we recommend pairing the coffee-based drinks with chocolate desserts. 
  • If you’re having a cheese board after dinner, forget the wine and pair with a delicious Negroni. 
friends clinking cocktail glasses

Match the Cuisine 

If you aren’t too sure on the flavour combinations, another way to match cocktails and food together is to pair the cuisine with the spirit’s origin. 

For example, tequila-based cocktails would go with any Mexican inspired meal, cognac with French dishes, and a mojito with Caribbean food. 

Add Herbs

Herbs are an excellent way to bond cocktails with food, and they add an extra layer of complexity your dinner guests won’t be expecting. 

You can try pairing sage with tequila or rosemary with gin. However, it doesn’t need to be complicated, sometimes a sprig of garnish provides the aromatic touch you need.

Watch the Alcohol Content

Whilst cocktail and food pairing is fun, control the alcohol levels, especially if you’re planning multi-courses. 

Keep the alcohol servings to a single measure and add some non-alcoholic drinks and water on the table to make sure everyone is hydrated. The last thing you want to do is ruin the meal by over-serving and confusing people’s taste buds.

negroni cocktail with appetisers

Experiment Before Your Dinner

Finding the right cocktail and food pairing can be tricky, so don’t be discouraged if you get it wrong the first time. We recommend, instead of risking it with a combination that might not work, take some time to experiment before you invite guests round. 

Why not try some combinations out with your family or a friend to see what they think and whether they like the pairing? When you dine out at a restaurant, take a look at their cocktail menu to see if they have any pairings or ask the server what the chef recommends. 

Take all the advice on board and create your perfect cocktail and food pairing. 

Get Started! 

There are no right or wrong answers with cocktail and food pairings, don’t stress! Remember, it’s supposed to be fun! Even though you’ll experience some poor combinations along the way, it will help you refine and learn. After all, food and drink are meant to be enjoyable, so shake up some cocktails and see what happens.


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