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The Perfect Match: Food And Cocktail Pairings

Contributed by: News Canada

(NC) - Move over wine. There's a new trend in town: complementing and enhancing your food with cocktails.

According to a recent survey of 1600 chefs conducted by The National Restaurant Association, one of the trends they spotted for 2009 is food-alcohol pairings.

The Perfect Match: Food And Cocktail Pairings
No longer reserved for fine-dining establishments, food and cocktail pairings are making their way to your local neighbourhood spot. And if you haven't seen it yet, you will.

Master bar chef, Gavin MacMillan of Bartender One, travels around the world looking for the hottest trends and brings them back to Canada. He agrees: "Canadians are more educated about food and wine than in the past, and now they want to explore other ways to make their meals better."

MacMillan says that the popularity of food and cocktail pairings is the result of people being blown away by how much spirits can enhance food flavours in ways that they haven't experienced before.

For instance, think of traditional dishes like a lamb chop or rack of lamb - two summer time barbecue favourites. Consider how the trendy and ever-popular mojito, a fresh cocktail made of mint, lime, rum and soda, can bring out the flavour of the meat. No longer do you have to pair the lamb with mint jelly and red wine to create a decadent meal of interesting taste combinations.


  • 1 1/2 oz Bacardi Superior Rum
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 lime (cut in to 4 pieces)
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 1 sprig of mint, for garnish
  • 2 oz club soda


Gather mint and rub around the rim of a highball glass. Drop mint in glass. Squeeze lime juice from 1/2 lime and drop into glass. Add 2 tsp sugar and muddle with pestle. Top with ice. Add 1 1/2 oz. Bacardi Superior Rum and top with club soda. Stir well and garnish with a lime and sprig of mint.

Additional cocktail recipes that can enhance your next meal or dinner party are available online at

Match Intensity

To bring out the best flavours, match the strength of the food with the strength of the cocktail.

Complement or Contrast

Don't be afraid to experiment. Choose complimentary flavours like banana and strawberry if you want to blend flavours. If you are daring, choose contrasting flavours like watermelon and jalapeno to cut the spiciness while simultaneously enhancing the sweet fruit flavours.


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