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Pairings

Pairings

8 great drinks to match with mince pies

8 great drinks to match with mince pies

Mince pies are not that different to Christmas pudding and Christmas cake so you could drink much the same sort of wine with them. But tradition obviously plays a part in terms of what most people expect and they do pair particularly well with fortified wines like port, sherry and madeira

* Mulled wine - Never mind the match it’s just what you offer the carol singers on Christmas Eve isn’t it? To tell the truth - whisper it - mulled cider is just as good. Find my favourite recipes here

* Sweet sherry - again a traditional pairing and I think a good one. Sweet sherry - especially those labelled oloroso dulce is such an underrated drink. One of my favourites is Matusalem

* Sweet madeira - less traditional than sherry, but just as delicious. Basic blended madeiras like Blandy’s Duke of Clarence, currently on offer at £9.50 at Tesco, are fine otherwise look for a Bual or Malmsey

* Tawny port - you may be used to drinking a ruby port like a Late Bottled Vintage but why not try a nutty 10 Year Old Tawny for a change? Sainsbury's does a good own label one for around a tenner. And Aussie Grant Burge makes a wicked rip-off which you should be able to find at a stockist near you through wine-searcher.com

* Sweet port-like wines from the south of France like Banyuls, Rivesaltes and Maury - maybe a little harder to track down but ideal if you want something different

* Barley wine - not, as I’ve mentioned before, a wine but a strong, sweet-tasting beer. A couple of good suggestions from beer-loving tweeters: Fuller's Vintage Ale and Uinta's Crooked Line Cockeyed Cooper (the latter, I think, only available in the states where they probably don't do mince pies. Ah well, you get the drift ... )

* Christmas ales - I'm never totally convinced about Christmas ales with savoury food - except perhaps ham - but they're great with Christmas baking. Look out for Harvey's Christmas Ale

* Black tea Which you might think hardly bears saying but try making it from loose leaf tea, in a pot rather than with a teabag. I’m drinking a lot of the Rare Tea Company’s RAF tea at the moment - available through their website or from some branches of Waitrose.

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