A Different Approach to Beverage Pairing


We will look back on these days, a shared experience of note, and probably never smile. Likely it will be more of a head shake and a comment, “Can’t believe that ever happened.”

But now, today, we know the drill, which is pretty much doing the same thing every day to the point of having no concept of time. Place, we know. It’s the house. We never did answer the question, “What happens if there is a Day of Note, like Good Friday or Easter Sunday, in the middle of a pandemic? Right now, how is that special day different from any other day?”

For most of us, there was no definitive answer to that question.

What we do know is that suddenly togetherness is not a goal but a way of life, and that we are all likely drinking more wine, spirits, and cocktails. Let me assure most of you we are not on the path to divorce, alcoholism, or mental deficiency. We are, however, testing our coping skills. To the max.

The usual rules about which beverage goes with what foods are not the real guides now. Instead we should be looking at what beverages are going to give us the most gratification considering what tasks we are performing.

To me, pairing wines, spirits and beer with what we are enjoying during meals was never a complete approach anyway. We like what we like and if there is a liquid that enhances the dining experience, then fine, but if we are not usually white wine drinkers, or red wine aficionados, or cocktail buffs, then no amount of rationalization about this “works” is going to smooth over the fact that we prefer something else.

Particularly now, we should be all about self-gratification, doing what pleases us most and just because somebody else tells us the pairing is wrong, well, damn them. Go ahead and do what pleases your savage soul to the nth degree.

But if you want a suggestion or two that pairs the beverage with the task, maybe this will help or at least suggest a particular path.


Ordering Delivery or going for Take-Out
Go over-the-top with an aged or high-end Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley or Bordeaux

First Time Preparing New Recipes, during the prep
Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara, California or Willamette Valley, Oregon

Watching Netflix, which is just about every night
A delightful Chardonnay from Central Coast California, or a Dark Rum and Tonic Cocktail

Watching CNN or Fox News, as much as you can stand
A Rosé wine from Province, France, or a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, France

Getting into Long-Delayed Projects, meaning you have run out of feeble excuses
Kentucky Bourbon on the rocks or a Speyside Scotch, neat. You need the heavier stuff.

Watching the Sky at 9 a.m. Your body is telling you “enough sleep.”
Champagne, the real thing, and, no, it’s never too early.

Watching the Sky at 11:00 p.m. Those three naps earlier in the day are having an effect.
Cognac, XO, or an aged Port


Be well. Be safe. Be smart. Be considerate of everyone around you. Make the best of an intolerable situation. Don’t complain, it does not do any good except to add to your personal misery index. Drink well. Eat well.




Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com on Thursdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails every month in New Orleans Magazine.


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