Soul food and Cajun recipes are famous all over the world, so you need to know what the best adult drinks to pair with your favorite dishes are. From beer and wine to cocktails and spirits, the right alcoholic beverage enhances the best flavors of jambalaya, fried chicken and much more. Here are some of the best drinks that go arm-in-arm with your favorite soul food.
It might surprise you, but a nice champagne sets the right tone when you have fried chicken for dinner. Champagne walks the line between rich and refreshing, which is a nice counter balance to the fatty, crispy chicken. While some champagnes cost an arm and a leg, look for French champagnes called crémant or sparkling wines from the U.S. to enjoy some bubbly without spending a fortune.
Mac and Cheese
Think about creating a similar feel to a fruit and cheese plate when you pick a wine to go with macaroni and cheese. A Spanish Grenache is made from grapes that grow in Spain’s dry heat, which gives the wine a ripe, fruity flavor. The sweetness of a Spanish Grenache offsets the greasy and salty flavors of a well made mac and cheese dish. Other red wines with fruit undertones also hold up well against this rich plate of food.
The right IPA treats you well when you dig into a spicy dish like this. While the hops add bitterness that may enhance spicy foods at first, IPAs douse spice after the carbonation has faded. The floral tones of IPAs also pick up sweet flavors, such as caramelized onions and poultry. While IPAs put some people off because of their bitey first flavor, Guinness recently released a Nitro IPA that combines all the smoothness of its classic stout with the floral undertones of a world-class IPA.
Red Beans and Rice
A red beans and rice stew served with ham hocks, pork chops and caramelized white onions is enough to make anyone’s mouth water. And with it you need a glass of wine. The full body of a pinot noir pairs well with the meaty flavors of the beans and complements the chops perfectly. It helps reveal smoky flavors from the dish as well as some nutty undertones.
Shrimp and Grits
While most seafood is overpowered by weighty oak flavors, shrimp stands up against them. Once you add in the buttery grits, you can’t settle for a subtle wine. Instead, you need something bold. A chardonnay from Burgundy is traditional, but it isn’t your only option.
A sparkling wine, such as a Blanc de Blancs, can complement this dish well. With the yeasty characteristics provided by secondary fermentation, a Blanc de Blancs stands against the rich flavors that accompany such a full-bodied meal.
The bubbly carbonation relieves your palate of the richness and grease of this food, which allows you to experience it fully each time you take a sip from your glass.