It’s one thing to know your way around a restaurant menu in the presence of female company. It’s quite another to cook a delicious meal from scratch and pair it so perfectly with a libation that she starts to wonder if you moonlight as a sous chef-slash-bartender in your spare time. I’m talking food-and-booze pairings that are actually worth staying in for. It’s not all about wine either (though we do have a killer pulled pork pizza that’s expertly complemented by a glass of pinot noir).
For example, whiskey and food pairings are all about blending flavors. “Soft, delicate flavors require a soft, delicate whiskey, and vice versa,” says Michael Neff, a bartender at The Three Clubs in L.A. “In this recipe, the chicken is light enough not to overpower the whiskey, and the whiskey’s honey, citrus, apple, and cinnamon notes go well with roasted meat.”
After 10 years of writing cookbooks, cooking in restaurants, competing on Top Chef, and judging Iron Chef, I’ve built up an arsenal of comfort-food recipes that pair perfectly with specific, equally satisfying beverages.
So, whether it’s date night or the morning after, surprise her with a meal you’ve paired up like a pro—like homemade sushi rolls served with crisp Japanese beer or breakfast burritos with a sriracha bloody Mary. And don’t feel compelled to tell her where you learned how to do it—we can keep this article our little secret.