Pair it with: aromatic white wines, rich red wines, and cocktails that mimic standout flavors.
“Indian cuisine is well-known for its intense aromatics and, at times, its heat. With that in mind, more aromatic white wines such as Gewürztraminer and more rich gamy/spicy reds such as Carignan and Syrah are solid go-to wine pairings. As for cocktail pairings, I first try to identify the most standout flavors of the dish, then go through the ingredients that either possess the same flavors or flavors that share affinity with those in the dish being enjoyed.”
- James Lanfranchi, lead bartender + wine steward, Karma Modern Indian, Washington, D.C.
Pair it with: sweet cocktails, white wines, and Red Stripe beer.
“A lot of the Jamaican dishes we are serving are spicy so we’re pairing cocktails that are a little on the sweeter scide to balance out the heat. Crisp Loire Valley white wines are also great, and you can’t go wrong with an ice-cold Red Stripe beer.”
-Aaron Paul, beverage director for California’s Alta Group, Kaya restaurant, San Francisco
Pair it with: a mojito.
“Our beverage program prides itself [for having] the best mojitos in town, [like] our Chusma Fina, which is a play on our classic mojito.”
-Ivan Licata, general manager, Estefan Kitchen, Miami
Pair it with: pisco-based cocktails, White Bordeaux, Pinot Noir, and Malbec.
“Our most recommended alcohol is pisco, specifically the varietal called Quebranta, for our pisco sours, pisco punch (frozen or on the rocks), and a few more craft cocktails. With cebiches we recommend pairing with Château Ducasse’s Bordeaux Blanc. For our Pollo a la Brasa dish, we recommend Montinore Estate’s Pinot Noir. And for our Churrasco cooked over a charcoal grill, we love the Gauchezco Reserva’s Malbec.
-Maribel Rivero, executive chef, Yuyo, Austin, Texas
Pair it with: crisp, light lagers; bright, fruity and acid-driven white wines; and anything built off the refreshing sour or highball model.
“While a pairing with an IPA or robust red isn’t impossible, the cuisine’s use of complex flavors and, of course, spicy chillies, can make it pretty challenging, as tannins and high-alcohol contents have a tendency to accentuate the chili’s heat.”
-Taylor Vaught, general manager, Selamat Pagi, Brooklyn, New York