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Dessert and Beverage Pairings - 14 Strong Tips To Spice Up Your Drinks!

Dessert and Beverage Pairings

Updated on: Feb 17, 2024

Every wonderful party has a good balance of food and drinks, right? It may seem like the process of choosing the right dessert and beverage pairings can be tricky. How do you know what sweet goes well with a certain type of drink? Or maybe you have a good combination in mind but you're anxious to see if your guests will enjoy the pairing you laid out for them. Well, don't fret because this guide on dessert and beverage parings can provide you the amount of information you need. Below are a few tips and examples of good pairings you can use for your party. Some of the examples include both food and dessert options.

Dessert and Beverage Pairings: Main Course Drink Pairings

When serving wine at an event, you want to make sure that you pick the best possible match for your party food. Many people are clueless when it comes to matching wines with food dishes. Use these tips below and be on your way to creating some fabulous pairings! If you are still in need of help, it may be useful to contact catering services and wineries in your area.

1. Zinfandel

This is known as the “ultimate food wine” and is best served with poultry, pasta, and seafood. The food pairings vary depending on the style of Zinfandel you buy (light-bodied, medium-bodied, full-bodied).

drinks wine


2. Merlot

This delicious red wine tends to have different notes depending on where it’s from and how it was grown. Light Merlots are best paired with foods such as pizza, pasta with red sauce, and grilled chicken. Medium Merlots have a wide variety of foods they could be served with.

3. Champagne

Traditional champagne is perfect for those casual parties where you want to serve food platters that contain fruit, cheese, and crackers. Champagne also pairs well with anything salty because of its faint touch of sweetness. The idea is to keep it light with this beverage. Many wedding caterers will be able to consult with you on pairing beverages with food for your special day.

drinks champagne


4. Cabernet Sauvignon

This luscious red goes great with juicy red meats like steak or pork. The tannins in this wine refresh the palate after each bite. Contact your local wineries or liquor stores for advice on the best brands out there.

5. Pinot Noir

Cooking up a dish consisting of scrumptious earthy flavors? Light-bodied red wines like Pinot Noir go fabulous with ingredients such as mushrooms, truffles, and other homegrown deliciousness!

Appetizer and Drink Pairings

6. Charcuterie Boards

With every great cheese board, you need the perfect wine to go along with it. A very dry white wine typically goes well with a cheeseboard. A good tip is to have your cheeseboard display many kinds of cheese, jam, and meats. It is suggested that you serve goat cheese, brie, blue cheese, and sharp cheddar. This way it caters to many tastes rather than one. You can also include a raspberry or blackberry jam to have with brie. You can have meats like prosciutto, salami, and pepperoni as well. You can't go wrong with a charcuterie board!

charcuterie board


7. Chip and Dips

Dips are an easy appetizer to please your guests. If you have these kinds of food at your party then serving simple choices of beer would go well. If you want a classier look than beer cans, have beer on tap instead. Serve the beer in nice tall pilsner glasses.

The dip you choose can either be relaxed or classy. A more relaxed approach would be dips like French onion dip, salsa, or queso. A classier dip might be a spinach artichoke dip or a black bean dip. It's recommended to have crackers and pita on hand for dunkers. You can also dunk vegetables like carrots and broccoli.

8. Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

Appetizers that have a little spice are great with a cold drink. Try serving this appetizer with mixed drinks like a gin and tonic, a margarita, or even a mojito. The flavors complement each other to create a wonderful atmosphere for your taste buds.

Dessert and Beverage Pairings

Desserts are a perfect way to end a party. However, sweets alone are not enough. A great way to end a party is to provide a beverage option to pair with the dessert of your choice. If you aren’t sure where to start, here’s a list of dessert and beverage pairings for your party.

9. Wines

White wine is great to pair with desserts. However, make sure that if your dessert involves chocolate, it is dark chocolate. Some bakeries can offer you some suggestions for drinks as well. The type of wine is very important when it comes to different kinds of desserts. For example, Chenin Blanc Bubbly goes perfectly with strawberry shortcake, or dry riesling and peach cobbler.

wine bottles


10. Champagne

Champagne is the kind of drink that pairs well with a fruity dessert. Berries are a perfect fruit to pair with this bubbly drink because of their tart nature. Knowing this, berry tarts are the best desserts to pair with champagne.

11. Sparkling Cider

Cider is one of those beverages that will pair well with all kinds of desserts. More specifically though, it would be nicely paired with a fruity cake such as panettone. If you wanna go with a warm cider instead, it pairs very well with salted caramel desserts.

12. Coffee and Espresso

For longer events, coffee-related drinks are great to pair with your desserts. This pairing allows your desserts to be on the sweeter side. You can have desserts such as a crumb cake and a coffee cake. These are the best pairs for coffee beverages because it balances out the sweetness. If your event is one that will run late into the night, coffee and espresso are a great way to keep your guests awake and energized.

coffee drinks

Image by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

13. Tea

Some sweet treats to eat with hot tea can be small finger cakes or cookies. Any dessert that has a bread base will pair nicely with any kind of tea. If you choose to have tea at your party, make sure to give many different tea options that are both sweet and unsweetened or caffeinated and decaf. Afternoon tea parties have a various assortment of complimentary desserts,

14. Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is a classic dessert drink that everyone loves. With hot chocolate, you can consider having churros or cookies. You can’t go wrong with cookies and hot chocolate. They are sure to be a crowd-pleaser. It doesn’t have to be your only drink option though. You can have hot chocolate as one of the many drink options at your party. Hot chocolate is especially loved during the colder months. They are perfect for winter-themed desserts as well. Other things like alcohol or coffee can also be added to the hot chocolate for an added touch.

Dessert and Beverage Pairings: Conclusion

Learning how to master the art of dessert and beverage pairings may be easier than you think. Hopefully, with this guide, you learned all the information you need to serve the best drink and food combination. This article included some bonus examples for appetizers and main course meals as well but hopefully, you found all this information valuable. Good luck to you and your future dessert and beverage planning!

Written by Sarah Guidas and Kathleen Perrier; Contributor: Elizabeth Blair

Brittany Rogers

Endicott College

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June Park

Rutgers University, New Brunswick

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Kathleen Perrier

Loyola University Maryland

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