Matching Food and Drink

Selecting drinks that complement the dishes being served at a dinner party can seem a bit pretentious. However, it is important to understand that most people will naturally choose a drink the complements a dish anyway, so all you are doing is steering them in the right direction! Matching meals and drinks is also much simpler that you could have imagined, mainly because rather than hard and fast rules, there is just some general guidelines to work with.

Below, the basics of matching a few of the major kinds of drinks that people enjoy at dinner parties is discussed in detail. This will hopefully help you decide on the best drinks to offer to your guests, so that they can have a great dinner experience.


Although a lot of people favour wine in a formal dinner setting, beer definitely comes a close second. Beer is particularly good when served with rich foods. The carbonation in beer helps to cleanse the diner’s palate. This feature means that drinking beer during such a meal really helps you to experience the full flavours of the food.

Just like wine, beer comes in a variety of styles and flavours, so it is important that you consider them when selecting what beers you will offer. With the wide variety of craft beers now on offer, it is pretty easy to match a beer flavour with the food that is being served. Some fancy restaurants even serve a different beer with each course of a meal, but we wouldn’t suggest going to that extreme for a home cooked meal!


Wine is the natural choice of drink to go with a special meal and many people expect wine to be served at a dinner party. While the art of matching wine to food is actually quite complex, there are general rules that you can follow successfully. First of all, white wine is your go to drink for white meat, fish or light pasta dishes. For red meats or any other dish with strong flavours, you should match with a red wine.

The finer points of matching wine with food comes in when you take into account the weight, acidity and intensity of the wine and the dish. Ideally, you should try and match the flavour and aroma of the dish with a wine that compliments it. Without being an expert on wine, it can be hard to choose the right type, so you should always ask for more information at a specialty liquor store.


Spirits and cocktails are not normally associated with the meal itself and tend to be served as an aperitif at the end. If you really enjoy spirits though, you don’t necessarily need to wait until the end to enjoy them! Just like wine and beer, as long as you select carefully, you can find a spirit to match almost any meal. The general rule, just like with any drink, is to ensure that the spirit selected does not overpower the meal itself and complements the flavours of the dish.

For more information about selecting the best drinks for your next dinner party, contact your local wine store of specialty drinks today.