The holiday music starts playing on a loop at the department stores as soon as Halloween is over. Then, you might start getting promotional emails about holiday discounts and deals. And by the time the first snowfall rolls around, the Christmas spirit is all around you — it’s almost impossible to avoid!
Whether you’re ready for it or not, the winter holiday will be here before you know it. If you’re hosting a scrumptious Christmas meal — whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner it’s a good idea to start preparing the menu as far ahead as possible, including the beverages you’ll serve. There’s a perfect drink for every food item, especially during the Christmas season. Here are a few ideas for pairings based on the meal you’re making.
Breakfast Food and Beverage Pairings
Whether it’s breakfast or brunch, there’s nothing quite like the first meal of the day after opening presents on Christmas morning. If you’re serving lightly fried eggs and smoked salmon — or a version of Eggs Benedict — a Prosecco or Cava would pair with the meal perfectly. The runniness of the egg yolks can make dry, bubbly beverages taste even sharper than normal.
For a meat lovers breakfast complete with bacon and sausage, choose champagne as your complementing beverage — served either on its own or in the form of a Mimosa. These crisp drinks and their high acidity create a perfect balance with the savory flavor of the meat.
Beverage Pairings for Cheese and Other Snacks
When you bring out the cheese and vegetable platter to hold your guests over until the main course, why not offer some festive Christmas cocktails along with them? A longtime favorite is slow cooker mulled wine. A combination of wine, cider, cranberry juice, sugar and other spices and ingredients makes for a tasty, warm beverage your family will love.
When it comes to pairing wine with cheeses, follow these general guidelines:
- Serve sweet white wine, like a Sauternes or Riesling, with blue cheese.
- Pair aged cheese with Champagne or another dry, sparkling wine.
- Offer Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio with brie, camembert, and other soft cheeses.
Dinner Food and Beverage Pairings
Nothing goes better with a classy dinner than a glass of wine. While there are endless types of wine to pair with your food, some go better with certain meals than others.
Consider the meat you’re serving with your main course when choosing a wine to pair with the meal. Traditional choices for Christmas dinner include:
- Turkey: If you didn’t get enough turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving, you might want to serve a similar meal for Christmas. If this is the case, it’s recommended to pair the meal with a Cabernet Sauvignon. The red wine’s rich fruit and hint of spices will help to bring out the earthy undertones of the rest of your meal. However, if you’re serving your turkey with English sides like chipolata sausages or bread sauce, a white wine like Chardonnay is a better choice.
- Roast Beef: This type of meat goes best with Malbec, Zinfadel, Shiraz, or another full-bodied red wine. The beef’s juices pair perfectly with the rich, spicy fruits found in these red wines.
- Ham: Opt for a Riesling when serving Christmas ham. The acidity of the wine will cleanse your guests’ palates after a bite of honey-glazed ham, and the fruity flavors like apple, peach and orange will complement the spices used to cook the ham.
- Duck or Goose: Since duck and goose are two rich meats, it’s ideal to pair the meal with a white wine like Pinot Gris rather than a red. You’ll need a beverage with enough kick to cut through the fatty meat.
Dessert Food and Beverage Pairings
Arguably the best part of the holiday season is being able to eat dessert without feeling guilty about it. From Christmas pudding and brandy butter, to delicious pies and scrumptious cakes, you really can’t go wrong when choosing what kind of after-dinner goodies to serve.
However, you can go wrong by choosing the wrong drink to go with your sweets. One of the best choices is spiked egg nog, a classic, sweet, and thick drink that’s sure to satisfy anyone’s post-dinner sweet tooth. You could also offer spiked apple cider, Poinsettias — a mixture of Champagne, Cointreau and cranberry juice — or a simple coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Choose the Right Drinks This Holiday Season
Whether you’re responsible for Christmas breakfast, snacks, dinner, dessert, or all of the above, the drinks you pair with the food you serve have more of an effect on your guests’ experience than you may think. Take the time to analyze your menu and methodically choose which beverages to serve and when — your party guests and taste buds will thank you!
Written by Kacey Mya. Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for the lifestyle blog The Drifter Collective. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. For more from Kacey Follow her on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!
Edited by Andrea Wexelblatt. Andrea is an editor out of Reno, NV. She is a mother to two wild little boys, a student, and a wife. When she isn’t editing text she enjoys spending time with her family in the Sierra Nevadas.