Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Together: Spirit-Pairing Dinners

A great way to experience a spirit’s nuances is by pairing it with food. Chefs are beginning to take note, and spirit-pairing dinners are rivaling wine-pairing meals as fun opportunities to savor and learn about your favorite beverages. Last Saturday at Red Star Tavern and Roast House in Portland, Ore., beverage director Christine Schuman paired five courses with bourbons and rye from the Sazerac family in honor of the Kentucky Derby. Also in Portland, caterer Jenn Louis of Culinary Artistry teamed with the House Spirits Distillery team on Sunday for a "spring ginner," matching five dishes with cocktails made from Aviation Gin and fresh produce.

You can follow suit at home with your own spirit-pairing dinner. A good place to start is by locating characteristics of the tipple and choosing foods that compliment them—for instance, Red Star chef Tom Dunklin’s halibut sashimi with jalapeno highlighted the spiciness of Sazerac Rye. For cocktails, consider what foods would match well with different mixers. Aviation mixologist Ryan Magarian's classic-inspired, citrusy Sparkling Gin Daisy (see recipe below) went perfectly with the Dungeness crab and scallop at Culinary Artistry.

For more ideas, check out the cocktail recipes in "Drink Your Way Through the Farmers Market" in the May/June Imbibe—use their fruit and veggie elements as pairing cues. Just be sure to keep alcohol portions under control for multi-course dinners, or you’ll be pairing Alka Seltzer with aspirin the day after. —Shoshanna Cohen

The Aviation Sparkling Gin Daisy
1 1/2 oz. gin
1/4 oz. orange curaçao
1/2 oz. simple syrup
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: orange peel

Combine all ingredients with ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
Strain into a glass. Sparkle with one ounce prosecco and garnish with orange peel.
Recipe from Ryan Magarian, Aviation Gin


Anonymous said...

i know it's not very original, but my favorite spirits-food pairing is vanilla ice cream with homemade bourbon-caramel sauce and a snifter of a good chewy bourbon. of course, a dram of good single-malt with a rich, truffled beef tenderloin is a close 2nd.

jem said...

I love any kind of lemon cocktail (lemondrops, limoncello) with my greens--a spring/summer salad (arugula, pine nuts, berry vinagrette) or asparagus or grilled artichokes. Basically I like a cocktail at lunch.

Anonymous said...

Great cocktail ideas. Thanks. you may also check this cocktail recipes:)