Smoked salmon is most commonly associated with champagne but in fact it goes with many other wines as well as with beer, whisky and vodka.
I tend to go for lighter, crisper whites and beers with lighter smokes and sherry and spirits with stronger ones.
Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé and other Loire Sauvignons
The ultra-dry minerally Sauvignons of the Loire with their delicate gooseberry fruit are perfect for simply served smoked salmon. Other top new world Sauvignons will work too so long as they’re not too ‘herbaceous’ as the green bean/asparagussy notes of some Sauvignons are sometimes described.
Especially young, unoaked Chablis which has the freshness and clean, crisp acidity to counteract the slight oiliness of smoked salmon. Richer Chardonnays go well with hot smoked salmon.
Dry being a relative description when it comes to Riesling. Young German Kabinett Rieslings with their vivid green apple flavours work especially well, but young Alsace and Australian Rieslings are also good. Avoid medium dry and sweeter Rieslings though.
I’m not a big fan of Gewurz and smoked salmon myself but many people swear by it. Again, Alsace would be the obvious source.
Manzanilla and very dry fino sherry e.g. Tio Pepe
If you like dry sherry this is one of the best matches. The tangy salty taste of dry sherry is perfect with smoked fish. Serve it freshly opened and well chilled.
German or Czech Pilsner
Another excellent match, the freshness and slight bitterness of a pils is just what you need with smoked salmon. (Think smorgasbord . . . )
‘White’ beers go with most kinds of seafood, smoked fish not excepted. The slightly spicy coriander flavours are great with smoked salmon.
Maybe not the ideal party tipple but an outstanding match for an impromptu smoked salmon snack. Choose a lighter, more fragrant malt with delicately smoked salmon (Springbank is my all-time favourite), a peatier ‘island’ malt if you’re dealing with a stronger smoke.
In particular the glorious Aalborg Jubilaeums Akvavit from Denmark, flavoured with dill and coriander, the best match bar none for gravadlax
Good, well chilled Polish vodka works a treat.
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