Cocktail Recipes

Food and Cocktail Pairings for Your Family Reunion

For effective food and drink pairings, you need to balance levels of sweetness, acidity, fat and salt while knowing how to handle bitterness, spice and other strong flavours. It also pays to understand the benefits of texture, temperature and intensity of flavour. Quite a lot to juggle, we think you’ll agree.

In this article, we’ll explain why spirits and classic cocktails are particularly excellent for pairing with food, while offering you some examples to try at your next family reunion or gathering.

Why spirits and cocktails can be better for pairing than wines

Good classic cocktail pairings can either contrast or complement flavours in a food dish. With wine, there are so many labels to choose from within any one variety. We know that Malbec goes great with steak, but which Malbec goes perfectly with your steak and the way you like it seasoned?

By choosing cocktails in your food and drink pairings, you can control the balance of flavours to a much finer degree.  So, without further ado…

Roast dinners

The roast dinner can be the main event at a family reunion, so you need something equally as special to complement it.

We have selected two of our favourite gin cocktails and a Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask whisky to pair perfectly with either roast chicken or pork.

Roast pork with Hendrick’s Gin Orchard Collins

Pork and apple are two flavours that work wonderfully together, so why not take it to the next level with a refreshing Orchard Collins? This gin cocktail features apple cider and ginger beer, making it a natural pairing for roast pork.

Ingredients

  • 50ml Hendrick’s gin
  • 25ml apple cider
  • 25ml fresh lemon juice
  • Ginger beer
  • (optional) 3 thin slices of apple to garnish

Method

  1. Combine the gin, cider and lemon juice in a tall glass filled with ice and top with ginger beer before stirring.
  2. Finish by adding three thin slices of apple to garnish.

Roast pork with a Dram of Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask

Alternatively, Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask is such a flavourful whisky, that a glassful is all you need to complement a rich and hearty pork roast. Keep it simple and let the whisky do the heavy lifting in this pairing, you won’t regret it.

Roast chicken with Hendrick’s Cucumber and Basil Smash

This deliciously aromatic and light cocktail is the ideal companion for roast chicken. It’s straightforward to make, and even easier to recommend.

Ingredients

  • 50ml Hendrick’s gin
  • 25ml fresh lemon juice
  • 20ml sugar syrup
  • 3 cucumber slices
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake well.
  2. To serve, strain the cocktail over fresh ice and garnish with cucumber slices and fresh basil.

Fish and chips

Fish and chips is one of Britain’s most iconic meals, a mainstay at family reunions and gatherings. As it happens, the best kept secret in food and drink pairing is fish and chips with bubbles. So, with that in mind, might we recommend a cocktail that features both gin and champagne?

Fish and chips with a Hendrick’s Gin French 75

The Hendrick’s Gin French 75 is the ideal accompaniment to fish and chips – a cocktail that is as refreshing and crisp as the batter that surrounds the fish.

Ingredients

Method

  1. To make a French 75, simply add the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup to a cocktail shaker with some ice, shake well and pour into a champagne flute.
  2. Finally, add the desired amount of champagne and enjoy!

Sausages and mashed potato

Sausages and mashed potato with a Glenfiddich 14 Rob Roy

This is a classic high-low pairing, keeping it casual with a straightforward British meal and elevating it with a Manhattan-inspired whisky cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 50ml Glenfiddich 14
  • 25ml sweet vermouth
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Orange twist

Method

  1. Combine the ingredients over ice in a mixing glass, stir well and strain into a chilled couple glass.
  2. Garnish with an orange twist.

Chicken tikka masala

Chicken tikka masala with a Glenfiddich 12 Highball

While its authenticity as an Indian dish is disputed, tikka masala’s status as a national favourite is anything but. Instead of enjoying a pint of lager with your curry, why not have a Glenfiddich 12 Highball instead? The rich, honeyed character of Glenfiddich 12 pairs particularly well with a flavourful, but not too heavily spiced curry like chicken tikka.

Ingredients

Method

  1. Add the ingredients to a tall glass over ice.

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington with a Monkey Jam Sour

Beef Wellington is a rich and decadent meal, so you need something equally as rich to complement it – so might we suggest a Monkey Jam Sour? Pick a rich jam, deep with red fruit flavour as the basis for your Jam Sour to really impress.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons of your favourite jam
  • 50ml Monkey Shoulder
  • 20ml fresh lemon juice
  • 10ml sugar syrup
  • 2 dashes of orange bitters
  • Orange slice

Method

  1. Combine the ingredients in the order above in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake.
  2. Strain the mix over ice into a glass and garnish with an orange slice.