How many times have you asked a waiter to suggest a wine for your selected entree only to be served the most expensive, and not necessarily the most complimentary. And even if it was complimentary, would you really have noticed the difference. Sure, there’s no question some wines go better with some foods, but I’ve always been a fan of the “drink what you like and be happy” approach. And since I drink a lot, I tend to be pretty happy.
But drink and food pairings do provide some really nice experiences when done well. Which is why you shouldn’t expect it done perfectly at most restaurants; too many different flavors, too many different wines, and too many different customers. But for small dinner parties, good pairings are definitely within reach.
The other night I had my first Ginger Shandy (sounds like an “employee” at Delilahs, huh?) when a friend of mine ordered one at Pianos. I had never heard of it before but this extremely simple beer cocktail that combines ginger beer and a wheat beer of your choice (Hoegarden works well), is a perfect summer drink. And with sharp ginger and crisp lemon, food pairing seemed like a perfect fit.
This ginger soy and honey marinated Mahi Mahi served with my favorite sliced and baked potatoes along with a warm salad of spinach, peas, and edamame worked tremendously well with the cocktail. So here’s to more drinking and what Bobby McFerrin really wanted to say…
“Drink cocktails, be happy”.