In my opinion, this is the most wonderful time of the year. I’m thinking about The Great Pumpkin, fluffy sweaters, and crunchy leaves.
And, this time of year, I’m making anything that involves butternut squash or something similarly cozy and fall-like. But what about what to drink on a night where there’s a delightful chill in the air? Try one of these refreshing options that pair well with our favorite fall foods.
Pairing: A dark beer and a spicy chili. A smooth and creamy brew with flavors of coffee and toasted grain is a terrific match for a spicy chili. Try a classic dry stout or porter. These inky beers are in fact very food-friendly—roasted malt and caramel notes embrace the nutty beans and browned beef while a cool, creamy texture soothes aggressive chile heat. Matchups: Deschutes, Black Butte Porter, Oregon ($9/6-pack) or Murphy’s Irish Stout, Ireland ($9/4-pack)
Pairing: Red wine and a mushroom pasta. An easy-drinking red with deep flavor and mellow tannins is just the companion for earthy mushrooms. Try a Spanish tempranillo from Rioja. These food-friendly wines are much like pinot noir, only with a bit more character and a touch of smokiness that complements mushrooms, especially when combined with richer sauces. Matchups: Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva, Spain, 2007 ($12) or Antaño, Crianza Rioja, Spain, 2008 ($9) | Photo credit: NicholasEden | Getty
Pairing: A spiked hot apple cider and a warm gooey dessert, like our Hasselback Apples. In Apple-Jack Spiked Hot Cider, cinnamon sticks are steeped with butter, brown sugar, black peppercorns, cloves, and allspice for a unique blend of spicy-rich flavors. Applejack brandy, a cider-based brandy, or Calvados (the French version) gets stirred in for the spirited final touch.
Pairing: A rich white wine and roasted chicken and vegetables. A soft, medium-bodied white wine can hold its own against the rich caramel notes of oven-roasted chicken without clashing flavors. Try a viognier from California. Slightly floral with hints of apricot and lemon, viognier has comforting flavors and an easy, rounded texture that mirrors the casual deliciousness of a simple chicken and vegetable plate. Matchups: Bonterra, Viognier, Mendocino County, California, 2012 ($13) Others: Joseph Drouhin, Laforêt Bourgogne Chardonnay, France, 2011 ($10); Heron, Chardonnay, California, 2010 ($10)
Pairing:Irish coffee and something chocolate-y. Our version of Irish Coffee combines Irish whiskey with smooth, round flavor, with boldly brewed coffee and just a touch of sugar. A topping of whipped cream adds the final festive touch.