I received an email earlier this week from Alan Moss, who writes about absinthe over at his site The Real Absinthe Blog. He was motivated to get in touch with me after reading about food and absinthe pairings from Pernod Absinthe’s bar crawl in Boston.
I wanted to share Alan’s comments because I’ve noticed of late that there seem to be differing viewpoints on the relationship between spirits and food at meal times.
Here is Alan’s input on the subject from an absinthe dinner in May over in Malaysia:
…We drank absinthe in 7 different ways to match the different courses, and they all went VERY well. We had La Clandestine (the “blanche” or white absinthe that Helen mentions (in the comments section of the bar crawl post)) with several courses, notably in the “Caipirinha” and Death in the Afternoon cocktails which were paired with ravioli and salmon dishes. We had a green absinthe with the oyster and chicken courses.
Good absinthe is very complex and does indeed work well with food.
Beer and wine traditionally seem to be the more obvious choices when choosing a mealtime beverage. Contrary to Alan’s thoughts, I’ve noticed people tend to be of the impression that the harsh alcohol content of spirits can be misguiding and hide the enhanced flavors of the food. These individuals I’ve spoken with will have a cocktail before dinner and then move to wine with their meal. As for me? Well, I certainly don’t have the world’s most ‘developed’ palate; however, I’m happy to see the cocktail continue on throughout the evening.
Developing even further on this – are spirits simply served on the rocks an acceptable dinnertime drink? Is it just cocktails, with their syrups and acidic juices, being the problem child in this debate over mealtime beverages? There seem to be more and more opportunities arising to enjoy cocktails paired with gourmet meals, but are they truly balanced? Share with me your thoughts!