Pair Up with La Sommelierre - April 2014
This month I throw caution to the wind and suggest a menu entirely based on cocktail pairings. Cocktails can be a challenge to pair with foods because of their high alcohol content. This is why they are usually served with salted nuts; salt tames the heat of the alcohol. I have chosen two drinks that have additional non-alcoholic ingredients, which make them more food friendly. And, there is a strong cheese to complement a strong drink at the end of the meal.
Although our local berries have not yet come into season, blackberries from South America are fairly well priced and readily available in California. Start your evening off with a Blackberry Thyme Bramble, the perfect blend of sweet fruit, lemony thyme and woodsy gin. This refreshing gin-based drink is an excellent choice to pair with a creamy goat cheese spread on salty crackers. Both the cheese and the drink are tangy and light.
A hearty entrée of Cuban Pork Roast with Red Beans and Rice should be classically paired with its brethren, the mojito. The mojito, Cuba’s national cocktail, it gets its name from the African word mojo, which means, “to cast a spell.” Keep in mind, making mojitos in a pitcher doesn’t work—it’s impossible to distribute the lime and mint evenly, plus, the club soda tends to turn flat. Instead, muddle a large batch of mint, limes and sugar, then pour the mixture into glasses and top with ice, rum and club soda.
Finish off your meal with a classic pairing of sweet, salty and savory. Blue cheese, which is made all over the world, is a bold partner to stand up to the potent crispness of an appletini. Furthermore, sliced apples are convenient vehicles for eating cheese. Serve a plate of sliced apples with your appletini and include a couple varieties of blues: Stilton (English), Roquefort (French), Gorgonzola (Italian), Cabrales (Spanish) and the eponymous, Blue Cheese from the US.
So, go on. Pair Up!
Find recipes online at www.lasommelierre.com