Food in the United States is as diverse as the country’s geography and people. Each region has its own cooking style or specialty dish, and each dish has a history that is intertwined with both geography and people.
When travelling through the United States, keep in mind that there is an enormous variety of foods and traditions just beneath the surface, some of which date back almost 400 years and have little to do with the stereotypical fast food. That’s how I learned the etiquettes of pairing and with time I became a pro at it.
Americans have built their own food traditions as they have built their country over the last few centuries. Every state in the union has at least one dish that is distinct to that state. Until recently, however, our wine and food cultures had diverged. Perhaps our country hasn’t been around long enough to establish a grow-together, go-together food and wine culture.
Pairing Isn’t Snobby, You Do It All the Time
I’d like to dismiss the myth that those who consider which beverages will pair best with their food are snobs, and that thinking about pairing is only for people who drink tea with their pinkies up. We think about pairing all the time as foodies.
Basics of Pairing Drinks with Your Food
- Drink What You Want
People frequently say, “Just drink what you want, don’t worry about the rules. “If you don’t like a particular drink, chances are you won’t like it with your food. (However, a great combination may surprise you.) However, consider ‘drinking what you like’ as a first step, and then consider when to drink it.
So let us not refer to them as rules. Let’s get rid of the notion that there is only one “perfect pairing” for any given food. But you’re a Serious Muncher, but you want your food cooked well, and you will have the option of having something to drink along with it. How can you increase the likelihood that the integration will be successful?
There are two main ways to go about it, and they’re pretty similar to the ways you’d make a sauce for a dish.
- To begin, you can select drinks that have characteristics that contrast with the flavors in your food. Of course, too many contrasts can cause one element to dominate the other.
- The second method of pairing is mirroring, which is a viable approach to a drink that complements and enhances the food’s similar characteristics.
Impact is a simple way to just get started pondering about the best drinks to pair with your meal. Everything you eat and drink has an effect, whether you’re grilling a meaty dry-aged steak or cooking rich braised short ribs. These dishes have a significant impact
Some Recommended Pairings
06. Buffalo Wings
It all started with a suggestion from a boxer in Buffalo, quickly became a New York institution, and then spread like wildfire (pun intended) across the United States. John Young was known as the “King of Wings,” and his recipe inspired the Bellisimo family at the Anchor Bar on North and Main Street to run with the idea, giving birth to the Buffalo wing. There are numerous variations on this classic, but the spice in the sauce is often the deciding factor. This Finger Lakes Riesling’s soft, slightly sweet balance pairs perfectly with the spice of a wing. It has frothy acidity, a soft palate, and a sweet kiss that will cool you down.
Slow-cooked (and I mean slow) rubbed pork shoulder smoked over hickory staves, slathered in BBQ sauce, and slapped between toasted burger buns may just define the south. The smoky meat and sweet and spicy vinegar-based sauce would pair perfectly with a chilled red wine with a little more body. This wine has a vibrant fruit core and the aromas of berries and fresh soil. Its earthiness is balanced by a high level of acidity, allowing you to chill it slightly, and the slight weight will amplify the pork on the palate.
Image Credits: Pexels
04. Lobster roll
Connecticut may have been the first to document it, and New York may have a version, but the lobster roll is truly a Pine Tree State phenomenon. On a toasted hot dog bun, this Maine staple is a buttery, creamy dream. When you eat a lobster roll, you feel a surge of happiness. I’m not sure what it is, but I enjoy every bite. This wine will add to your happiness. It has a nice, full palate with salty acidity and minerality from river rocks. The depth will stand up to the butter, and the acidity will keep it tart, complementing the succulent lobster meat.
The sweet meat and savory onion provide awesome acidity for a chilled red wine, whether it’s Geno’s or Pat’s, your own home concoction, or Steak-umms and Cheez Whiz. And the cheese is just the gooey awesomeness I’ve been dreaming about. After 30 minutes in the fridge, this light-is red wine would be a ridiculously good pairing. It smells like brambly berries with a hint of cinnamon and mint, and it’s ripe and zippy. It’ll complement the juicy steak and add some complexity to the cheesiness. hassle free parties.
02. California roll
The combination of avocado, crab meat, mayonnaise, and cucumber rolled inside out with sesame seeds or tobiko-topped rice is simply indescribably delicious. It’s the roll that you always order too much of and can’t stop eating until you’ve finished it all. You can’t go wrong with this extremely balanced and expressive Gewürztraminer from Sonoma, especially with a big ol’ dollop of wasabi to bring that unique heat. Which makes sense given that this roll is from California.
With a vibrant acidity, it smells like honey, white flowers, and fresh sliced pears. With tart fruit, it will soften the wasabi hit and complement all of those awesome ingredients.
You can also add some dry fruits to enhance taste. And I know you must add if you know the surprising benefits of dry fruits and its uses.
01. Fried/Grilled Chicken
This is one of my favorite wine-food combinations. There are so many grandmothers. There are so many hidden recipes. Fried chicken is a joy on its own: crispy, a little greasy, salty, and crunchy. When you add a bottle of bubbly, the entire experience transforms into a celebration. This Sonoma American Sparkler is vibrant and tart, with a slightly creamy mouth feel. The bubbles persist but aren’t overpowering. This wine will complement the fat and elevate the salty crunch.