Why are food and drink pairings done? The main purpose is to take a magical dining experience to the next level. The right drink can cleanse your palate, cut through the food’s fattiness, and complement ingredients in a way we could never imagine. But if you choose not to drink alcohol, you might wonder if a similar culinary and dining experience is possible for you. We’re here to tell you that with non-alcoholic drinks, it is very much possible. In fact, you can enjoy an even more elevated dining experience, because, unlike alcohol, non-alcoholic drinks do not impair your sense of taste.
Non-alcoholic drinks have come a long way over the years. NA manufacturers are developing beautiful non-alcoholic spirits, wines, and beers specifically for pairing with certain kinds of food. These drinks don’t only act as a substitute but can greatly enhance a meal. So, are you ready to pair your food with drinks? Proper pairing starts with science, as you need a basic understanding of how some ingredients interact. Let’s get a know a little more about this.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks And Meals: Busting Some Myths
Before we get to the food and drinks pairings, let’s get some common myths about non-alcoholic drinks out of the way –
Myth #1: Non-alcoholic drinks don’t taste that good
This might’ve been possible a few years back when the options for non-alcoholic drinks were limited. Over the years, many non-alcoholic manufacturers have started using art, science, and passion to craft beautiful non-alcoholic drinks catering to every taste. The process of making these drinks has also been refined greatly.
Myth #2: Non-alcoholic drinks are sickly sweet
This, again, might’ve been true some years back when non-alcoholic drinks were just like sweetened grape juice. The non-alcoholic drinks you get today are made in the same way as their alcoholic counterparts. The only additional step is the removal of alcohol. So no, non-alcoholic drinks are not always sickly sweet.
Myth #3: Non-alcoholic drinks can be over-priced
This myth originates from the fact that many non-alcoholic drinks are priced similarly to their alcoholic counterparts. But if you look at the tax applied to non-alcoholic drinks, you would find that they are cheaper.
Why Should You Consider Non-Alcoholic Drinks For Your Next Celebration Or Party?
Here are some reasons that make non-alcoholic drinks the perfect accompaniment for a party or celebration –
1. It’s appropriate for work parties: Whether it’s a Christmas party or one celebrating a company milestone, there is nothing worse than drunk people making a fool out of themselves in their professional circle. And serving soda and juice sometimes just doesn’t cut it. This is what makes non-alcoholic drinks an excellent option for work parties.
2. Blending in: If you’re not a drinker, you don’t have to stick to plain old water anymore. A good non-alcoholic wine or whiskey makes it easier for you to blend into any situation. And what’s better is that you wouldn’t have to constantly dodge questions about why you aren’t drinking.
3. Kids’ parties: If you’re at a kid’s party, it would certainly be nicer to enjoy a refreshing cocktail or cool beer, but you don’t want to be intoxicated either. With non-alcoholic drinks, you would never have to worry about this.
4. Throwing inclusive parties: Maybe some of the guests don’t drink alcohol because of health problems or pregnancy. By including non-alcoholic drinks on the menu, you’ll be able to provide them with a drink of their choice without the worry of any health hazards.
Benefits Of Non-Alcoholic Drinks
1. You’ll sleep better. Alcohol makes it easier for you to crash, but it does disrupt your circadian rhythm. By switching over to non-alcoholic drinks, you’ll be able to improve your sleep quality.
2. Lose weight. A typical cocktail can contain anywhere between 300-500 calories, but many of the latest non-alcoholic drinks contain as little as 25 calories per serving. So yes, switching over to NA drinks can help you lose weight.
3. Restore gut biome. Non-alcoholic drinks allow you to reduce your alcohol intake, as a result of which the stomach starts returning to its natural state of digestion.
4. Reduced risk of chronic disease
5. Clears mental fog
6. Gives you a healthy glow since non-alcoholic drinks do not cause dehydration.
Choosing The Right Non-Alcoholic Drinks
According to a 2022 Drizyly report, there are 100+ non-alcoholic drink brands in the market today. These include non-alcoholic wines, spirits, beers, ready-to-drink non-alcoholic cocktails, and more. With so many choices, how do you choose the best non-alcoholic drink for yourself? If you’re familiar with alcoholic drinks, look for the same layers and flavor elements when judging non-alcoholic drinks. Judge how well the drink balances out acidity and sweetness. At the end of the day, it all comes down to whether the drink is enjoyable for you or not.
Step-By-Step Guide To Pairing Non-Alcoholic Drinks With Food
When you’re planning a meal, it’s worth taking 2 seconds to consider which drink will go well with a meal. There are two ways you can go about doing that –
1. Contrast: Pick a drink that contrasts with the flavors of your food, as a little contrast can bring out the best of both. Make sure that the contrast is not so much that one flavor takes over the other.
2. Mirroring: Pick a non-alcoholic drink that brings continuity to the food. These drink and food pairings will complement the similar characteristics in each other, helping them shine.
You can use either of these techniques or a combination of both to come up with the best meal pairings. When using both these techniques, observe the impact and body of alcohol, the tannins, bitterness, acidity, carbonation, and more.
Some Important Things To Keep In Mind While Planning
Here are some important things to keep in mind when planning dining experiences with non-alcoholic drinks –
1. Balance the flavor profiles: When you are preparing cocktails to go with your meals, try to achieve a balance between marrying two flavors and cutting through them both. For instance, if the food is fatty, the acidity in the drink can balance it out.
2. Choosing a base spirit: Make sure you choose a base spirit that brings out the natural flavor of the food. For instance, non-alcoholic gin will go great with seafood, while a duck would go better with non-alcoholic bourbon.
3. Match the cuisine: The easiest way to pair food and drinks would be to choose the ones belonging to the same country of origin.
Great Non-Alcoholic Drink Recommendations For Your Meal Pairing
- Wander + Found Pinot Noir: This is a well-balanced non-alcoholic red wine that can be perfectly paired with your dinner. After all, you can’t go wrong with a pinot noir.
- Wander + Found Cuvée Blanc: If you’re looking for a wine to enjoy with light meals, the Cuveé Blanc from Germany is perfect for the purpose. With primary notes of lime and citrus and the bright tartness of green apples, this wine can be consumed as is too.
- Zeero Sangiovese: Want a low-sugar wine to go with your food? Zeero Sangiovese is your best bet. This beautifully earthy wine contains zero sugar and 15 calories, making it the perfect choice for the health-conscious.
- Sir. James 101 Pink Gin Tonic: Here is a ready-to-drink gin and tonic cocktail, perfect for any meal or party. It offers the scent of raspberries, along with a hint of juniper berries and pomegranate.
- Free Spirits The Spirit of Bourbon: This is the perfect non-alcoholic bourbon to go with your hearty meals.
- Big Drop Brewing Coba Maya : Looking for a beer to pair with your food? Try this gently spicy beer from Big Drop Brewing, which was also the winner of the World Beer Awards in 2022.
With this, we’ve covered all the basics of pairing non-alcoholic drinks with food. Once you know the basics, you’ll find that it isn’t really that hard. And the best way to learn about good food and drink pairings is by experimenting. So, explore the choice available on the Better Rhodes marketplace, and experiment to your heart’s content.