Spirited Sweets: A Guide to Pairing Desserts with Your Favorite Liquors
What's a better treat for your taste buds than desserts and drinks? When you have the right dessert and drink combination, it perfectly rounds off your meal giving you a satisfying ending. Below are some guidelines that will help you pair the right dessert with the right alcoholic beverage.
Factors To Consider While Pairing Drinks With Desserts
- The key aspect to consider while pairing sweets with most spirits is the sweetness. The drink has to be a little sweeter than the dessert. This is so, especially in the case of wines and beers, because sweet desserts make the alcohol taste drier. If you start with a dry wine or any beer, it will taste bitter after a bite of a sweet dessert.
- While the wine or beer needs to be a tad bit sweeter than the dessert, it also needs to have a good level of acidity to avoid having cloying sweetness.
- When it comes to whisky, ensure it doesn't overpower the texture or taste of the desserts.
- It is important that the dessert and liquor complement each other. What is absent in the sugary treat must be fulfilled by the spirits and vice-versa.
Dessert And Drink Pairings
1. Chocolate Cake
An indulgent dessert like chocolate cake deserves dessert wines such as Madeira, Port, Muscat or Riesling. They bring out a good balance of sweetness and acidity. Chilling the wines for three hours in the fridge before serving will optimise the flavours.
Coffee and chocolate are traditionally popular combinations. An Irish Coffee or Espresso Martini works well with chocolate cake. You can also make a concoction with a spirit of your choice, chocolate liqueur and coffee, topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
Chocolate-based desserts also go well with stouts and porters due to their ashy, coffee-like taste.
Plain or berry cheesecake matches with white wines such as Sweet Rieslings or Sauvignon Blancs. Bourbon whisky also has a subtle sweet finish that complements cheesecake.
3. Key Lime Pie
Lager, especially Mexican lager, allows the tart citrus notes of key lime pie to stand out. In fact, lagers are great accompaniments to any lime dessert. Grained whisky also helps accentuate the delicious flavours of citrus desserts.
4. Fudge Cake
Fudge cake is a decadent dessert! The rich flavour and gooeyness of this dessert pairs perfectly with a bourbon or cognac with subtle sweetness and spiciness.
5. Fruit Salad
Pair fruit salad with fruity alcoholic beverages. You can pair it with fruity liqueurs. Sparkling fizzy wines also blend well with fruit salads. Light scotch blends, with their elegant, smooth aftertaste complement the complex flavours of the fruit-based desserts. So do German wheat ales or English ales!
Wine and chocolates make the best pairing. But make sure the wine doesn't overpower the cacao flavours in chocolates. White chocolate goes well with sweet wines.
Milk chocolate combines well with red, white and sparkling wines. Gin with its herbal notes also works well with white chocolate due to its contrasting flavour.
For dark chocolate, red wine and port is a great match. But red wine is high on tannins and works against the polyphenols in the chocolate, so it is better to opt for vintage red wine. Whisky and peaty scotch also pairs well with dark chocolate. Their smoky flavour matches the bitter cacao notes in the chocolate.
7. Caramel And Toffee-Based Dessert
Light beers with sweet and caramel notes pair well with caramel and toffee-based desserts.
While it's great to learn about making alcoholic beverages, it is important to also consume alcohol moderately. Remember to serve and drink responsibly to ensure you and your guests are healthy and out of harm's way. If you know anyone who has trouble controlling their alcohol intake, please refer them to a professional immediately.