Introduction to Food and Liquor Pairings in the Philippines
In the Philippines, liquor is pretty much synonymous with fun and entertainment. Filipinos are recognized for their hardworking nature. But don’t be surprised to see these same people in a bar during happy hour having fun and taking a break from all the stress. Liquor can also be associated with various celebrations commemorated throughout the year, which would include Christmas, New Year’s Day, birthdays, weddings, promotions, and other similar festivities and holidays.
However, all these would be incomplete without some food as well. After all, it is the one thing Filipinos love more than their liquor. The best liquor, paired with some of the most delicious local cuisine, would make a good night a great one. There is of course a way for everyone to enjoy them both, and that is by pairing them with each other. But there are some guidelines you must follow in order to get the pairings just right. Being aware of these guidelines make sure that you’re able to mix up your food and drinks much better.
What are the Things You Should Consider when Pairing Food and Liquor Together?
It is quite naïve to think that any kind of liquor will go well with any type of food. Alcohol distributors also put efforts in gathering knowledge for perfect liquor and food pairings. In most instances, finding out which types of liquor and food best complement each other is a trial and error process. Some pairings may end up as huge misses, but when they both match, you’ll get flavors that you’ll really love and enjoy.
However, there are some indicators that can help tell ideal pairings. Some of which include the following:
- Acidity – Acidity is one useful tool you can use to your advantage. It means that liquor with high acidity such as Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc can make your experience better when you’re eating fatty foods like fried chicken or pork. This is because it would wash out the taste of fat in your tongue with the help of its acidic nature.
- Carbonation – Similar to acidity, carbonation can also cleanse your palate whenever you’re enjoying a nice greasy dish like a slice of cheese pizza. It can instantly refresh your mouth, which then prepares you to take another bite. This is why sparkling wine and beer (even diet coke) are best paired with these types of foods
- Bitterness and Tannin – Bitterness, which is often associated with beer, pairs well when enjoyed with a plate of smoked fatty meat. It is important to keep the bitterness of your beer in check, as they have a tendency to overwhelm certain flavors. Tannin, on the other hand, has the ability to offset the protein and fat in your foods. Tannins come from grapes, stems, oak barrels, and even seeds. This is why wines that contain it go really well when paired with grilled meats.
- Sweetness – Are you a fan of spicy foods? Then, you may enjoy them even more if you pair them with liquor that has a slightly sweet taste. This is due to the fact that it can enhance a dish’s aromatic spices. For those, who have a sweet tooth and often have desserts, they can pair them with an off-dry wine so it will not overwhelm their taste buds with sweetness. It is also important to note that having drinks sweeter than your dessert is a good recommendation.
- Umami – One of the best liquor and food pairings you may encounter are those that can highlight their earthy and umami flavors. For example, beer, which has high umami notes, is drunk best with dishes that feature caramelized flavors. Sherry is another type of liquor that can truly bring out the umami in your food choices. It is also important to note roasted malt in your beer, especially the darker and earthier ones, can help enhance the flavor of your savory meats.
- Oak – When it comes to pairing wines rich in oak content, you must always proceed with caution. Aging your liquor in oak barrels can really give out some strong flavors. This is because there is a high chance that it will just taste like firewood in your mouth when paired with the wrong meal, unless you have some game meat prepared. However, delicate oak notes in your wine will turn out really delicious if paired with creamy sauces.
What are Some Ideal Food and Liquor Pairings in the Philippines?
Food and alcohol in the Philippines are two of the major influences in local culture. These combinations include the best liquor to marinate your food on, to the best food and drink pairings. That’s why finding the best food and liquor pairings is extremely hard to do. To help you out with this venture, you may find some inspiration by looking at some of the best pairings below:
- Rye and Sushi Nigiri – Rye, which is being considered as the cousin of bourbon, has a really bold edge. But combining it with sushi nigiri can really heighten your experience with it, as it will benefit from the seaweed’s salinity, the raw fish’s soft unctuousness, and the rice’s texture.
Pro Tip: Serve the rye on the rocks!
- Rum and Glazed Jerk Chicken Wings – A glazed jerk chicken wings’ recipe usually includes rum in its ingredients. However, drinking it separately will surely enhance your entire meal experience with the dish. This is because the liquor’s sweet notes go really well with the food’s sweet but complex profile.
Pro Tip: Serve the rum neat and at a room temperature.
- Brandy and Gooey Chocolate Brownies – Gooey chocolate brownies with a bitter chocolate flavor are best paired with brandy. There are several types of brandy you can choose. However, it will be ideal for you to select old ones that already developed a dried fruit flavor with a silken texture and caramelized notes.
Pro Tip: Place your brandy in snifter. Then, serve it neat and silly.
- Rum and Glazed Jerk Chicken – The sweetness of rum (made out of molasses), combined with the meaty and zesty flavor of jerk chicken make for a good combination. The sugar content of rum serves as a great marinade for the tasty chicken.
Pro Tip: Serve at room temperature for best taste.
- Margarita and Nachos – This wonderful Latin-American combination is a huge hit for parties and other fun gatherings. You can never go wrong with this delicious combination. With a delicious mix of fresh and crispy chips, some meat, and a mix of cheese and mayonnaise, nachos offer you a snack that is flavorful and heavy. Mixing it up with margaritas give you a zesty and fresh drink to match your nachos.
Pro Tip: Top the nachos with some of the best freshly made salsa you can find.
- Beer and Sisig – If you’re looking for a classic Filipino food and drink pairing, then look no further, as this is definitely one of the best combinations that fit any occasion. The hot, crunchy, and spicy sisig complements a few bottles of beer.
Pro Tip: Add some egg (let it cook on the sizzling plate) and mayonnaise to the sisig to give it a richer flavor.
- Oaked Chardonnay and Beef Steak Tagalog – A classic Filipino dish, beef steak Tagalog has a citrus taste (from calamansi), which matches well with well-aged Chardonnay. It also helps that the onions work so well with wine. This pair is definitely a flavorful combination.
Pro Tip: As they say with good wine: the older, the better.
- White Zinfandel or Anjou Rose and Lechon – No classic Filipino party or celebration would be complete without at least one sighting of lechon. With its juicy and tender meat, wines that are juicy, sweet, and light flavored like the White Zifandel and the Anjou Rose would really match well.
Pro Tip: No lechon serving would be complete without some lechon sauce on the side.
- Beer and Crispy Pata – Another liquor and food pairing that are staples in your regular drinking session. The crunchiness of the skin and the soft meat of crispy pata is a perfect match for some ice cold beer.
Pro Tip: Crispy pata goes best with some sarsa or vinegar on the side.
- Rum and Suman – One of the more uncommon combinations listed here, suman is one of the most popular Filipino meriendas and desserts around, and its sweetness and stickiness is well complemented by some equally-sweet rum. A great combination after a nice meal.
Pro Tip: Suman is best with some sugar or some sweet syrup (arnibal) for additional sweetness.
- Medium-boiled Merlot or Semi-dry Reisling and Liempo – Another meaty and juicy pork dish, liempo is just as great as lechon and crispy pata. A well-seasoned serving of liempo really matches well with the fruity and sweet flavor of Merlot and a few sweet glasses of Reisling.
Pro Tip: To add some extra flavor to your liempo, add some Worcestershire sauce.
- Gin and Pizza – Pizza is another great party snack that you can enjoy with your friends. With a diverse selection of flavors and toppings to choose from like pepperoni, Hawaiian, Quattro Formaggio (four cheese), and all meat, pizza is a very versatile party dish that everyone can enjoy. To match these flavors, gin is the best drink to have. A strong and versatile drink, gin can be mixed with a variety of juices to give you the best flavors to match your pizza.
Pro Tip: Adding juice flavors like grape, lemon, and orange would really enhance your gin.
- Beer and Pancit – Perhaps the most popular noodle dish in the country, pancit comes in many forms, like pancit bihon, pancit canton, pancit Malabon, and pancit palabok. All kinds of pancit give your palette some of the richest and the strongest flavors in a single dish. The best drink to match these strong flavors is by getting some beers. The acidity and sourness of the beer not only complements the flavor, but also helps you clear your palette.
Pro Tip: Pancit is best served with fried eggs and a dash of calamansi for a better taste experience.
- German Gewurtztraminer or Australian Traminer and Bicol Express – Bicol Express is one of the most popular spicy dishes in the country. It is also considered to be one of the must-try dishes in the country for foreigners. Sometimes, the best way to complement a spicy dish is to pair it up with a spicy drink like the Gewurtztraminer. If you want something sweeter and a bit more aromatic, then the Australian Traminer would be a good counter to the spice of Bicol Express.
Pro Tip: It is best to have some mints and sweets in case you need some relief from the hot spice.
What Important Tips Should You Remember When Pairing Food and Liquor?
- Have fun – It is important to remember to have fun when it comes to pairing up your favorite drinks with your favorite food. The goal of all of this is to find the best combinations for your meals or gatherings.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment – As stated previously, food and drink combinations are a hit and miss kind of process. So if things don’t work out well at the start, you can always try something different after each experiment.
Again, you do not have to beat yourself up when it comes to finding the best possible food and liquor pairings. It might take you some time to figure them all out; and that’s completely fine. However, you must ensure that you are getting your liquor from a trusted alcohol distributor in the country. Getting alcohol from trusted distributors makes sure that you have the best liquor the market can offer, and that they are safe to consume in moderation. This also ensures you that you get the best brand of drinks you can pair up for your wonderful selection of cuisine.
Alcoline, a Philippine distributor, will ensure that you get your liquor in high quality. You can be assured that it will taste great with the food and/or dishes you decide to pair with them. For more information about our services, you may contact us.