Art of Entertaining: Pairing Beverages with the Menu
So much of picking the right drinks to share with your guests depends upon 3 things: the guests, the season and the menu.
As with all entertaining, keep your guests in mind first. If you know that most of your guests prefer wine, offer unique wines that can be the source of conversation (and envy!) and that will complement the menu. If you have beer drinkers, choose a beer, but maybe something off the beaten path. I’m not normally a beer drinker, but last summer I had a lemon beer (Stiegel) that echoed what I would expect summer to taste like and it really enhanced my meal.
I wish I could claim to be an expert on wine, but when you work with wine experts whose brain you can pick anytime, you tend to learn to trust their expertise. In the past few years I have often turned to Bethann Kendall, the wine buyer at our gourmet retail store Vine & Table and I have always been delighted with the selections. If you are entertaining, I’d encourage you to pop in too and ask for Bethann’s recommendations, she’d be happy to be your go-to expert too!
Although wine is divine, the fun really starts, when it comes to cocktails. The mixology trend is really rocking this year, and if you have adventurous guests, I would recommend serving whatever it is you love. Whether it is a classic, such as Manhattan or martini, or inspired and created just for your mood, don’t shy away from sharing your favorites with your guests. If you want to learn what is trending or what is new, once again our team of beverage experts at Vine & Table would be happy to guide you to the perfect cocktail suggestion.
For me, in the winter, I love the addition of a hot drink at the end of a meal. I remember as a kid, coming in from sledding, Mom would make me a cup of hot cocoa to warm-up. Such happy childhood memories should be revisited often and to this day when we gather for the holidays, after dinner we linger together with a steaming cup of cocoa and marshmallows at Christmas and even enjoy the spicy fruits of the season with some cinnamon-mulled cider at Thanksgiving.
In the summer, I love a simple Prosecco or cava with fresh raspberries dancing in the bubbles. The addition of a splash of St Germain Liqueur or Lavender scented simple syrup is a great touch as a welcome drink to cocktail hour. Something else that is really fun to do – echo the flavors in your cocktail in your menu! Your guests will be thrilled with this charming detail. For our wedding clients, I’ve seen couples start with the fresh raspberries and lavender syrup in Prosecco and then echo those flavors in an intermezzo such as Prosecco gelée with berries, then again in the wedding cake that has been enhanced with a hint of honey lavender. It’s really quite elegant and reflects thought and sophistication on the part of the host.
Leave me a comment if you have questions about your menu and pairing with beverages, I would enjoy hearing from you.