My boyfriend and I split a massive lobster roll over the weekend. Immediately after the food arrived, he looked up at me and gestured to the easy-drinking lager he ordered when we sat down at the table. “Should I be drinking white wine instead?” he asked, worried that he’d committed some sort of faux pas by ordering a beer with seafood. I took a slug of my own beer and shrugged my shoulders.
I’ve never been particularly intentional about drink pairings. If I like a beverage, I’ll drink it with my dinner with minimal regard for its impact on my palate. This might be an undesirable method, especially for someone who writes about food—and especially considering that I’m employed among more discerning folk. For example, Takeout editor in chief Marnie Shure keeps food and drink totally separate, preferring to finish her drink before or after a meal to preserve the flavor experience. Meanwhile, associate editor Brianna Wellen tells me that she’s already brainstorming the perfect drink pairing for the dinner she’s making tonight.
The way I see it, the three of us represent three very distinct drink pairing styles:
A. No pairing: You enjoy food and drink separately, saving your wine, beer, or cocktail for before or after your meal to better enjoy the distinct flavors of the food and the beverage.
B. Intentional pairing: You’re very cautious about which beverages you enjoy alongside certain foods. If I slugged a wheat beer with my ahi tuna dinner, you’d smack me in the face.
C. Fast and loose pairing or, as I call it, the hedonistic hobbit method: You enjoy beverages alongside your food, and you’re not especially intentional about pairings.
My question for you, reader: Do you take a concerted approach to drink pairings, or do you indulge in the hedonistic hobbit method like I do?