Top pairings | Six of the best pairings for a burger

Top pairings

Six of the best pairings for a burger

It might surprise you to hear it - and maybe you’ve never tried it - but a serious red wine is a really good match for a burger. Not a Maccy D, maybe but a big lush gourmet burger. And why not?

Agreed it's not quite as simple as steak. Obviously the more ingredients you add the more a wine can struggle. Burger sauces and ketchup are the main culprits. They both have a sweetness that can strip the fruit out of lighter, drier reds so stick to riper wines. Raw onions and strong pickles like kimchi also present a challenge so steer clear of those if you're drinking something special.

Here are my six favourite wine (and other) pairings

Cabernet sauvignon, merlot and blends of the two

Cabernet is probably my favourite burger wine especially with cheeseburgers (burgers with blue cheese in particular) but merlot runs it a close second. That obviously means that Bordeaux and Bordeaux blends work too though I’d suggest only once they hit a certain level of alcohol. A light 12.5% claret may struggle

Read about Cheeseburgers and Cabernet

Six of the best matches for Cabernet Sauvignon

Modern Tuscan reds

You might not be able to run to a Tignanello or Sassacaia but lesser modern Tuscan reds such as those from Bolgheri and Maremma have the ripeness and lushness to complement a burger. (And see this surprisingly good match for a Shake Shack burger!)

Other full-bodied reds like Grenache, Malbec, Shiraz and Zinfandel

You’ve probably got the drift by now: big reds work with burgers so include grenache, malbec (a burger is after all, only chopped steak), shiraz and cabernet-shiraz blends and zinfandel among your options.

IPAs and double IPAs

If there isn’t a better occasion to crack open a hoppy IPA I don’t know what is. (Well, maybe pulled pork but that’s another story ….) Rich amber ales also work well if you find craft IPAs a bit sweet. (I was drinking one only last night!)

A Manhattan

You should really try this! The sweet/strong combination of whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters is just perfect with a gourmet burger.


How could I leave out a gorgeous creamy ice-cold milkshake? Not that strawberry or chocolate is really a good match for beef but who cares? Ultimate comfort drinking!

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6 of the best matches for fish and chips

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photos © Joshua Resnick (top) and Jag_cz (centre) at

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Comments: 2 (Add)

Nick Brett on March 12 2021 at 21:37

Brewdog Punk IPA every time for me.

Nick Brett on February 10 2020 at 10:44

Can’t beat an IPA! Perfect burger fodder.

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