Pairings | Alcohol-free drinks

Guest post: The exotic, cooling drinks of Persia

Guest post: The exotic, cooling drinks of Persia

Sally Butcher of Persepolis, shares the secrets of Iran's delicious non-alcoholic drinks, just perfect for this sultry summer weather.

Soft drinks for sophisticates

Soft drinks for sophisticates

I have a perfect new hangout in Arles - a salon du thé called Le Calendal which overlooks the amphitheatre (where we saw the legendary Lou Reed live in concert last night. ) It has three major attractions: it has free wi-fi (pronounced, endearingly, wee-fee by the French), air-conditioning and a great drinks list which includes teas from Mariage Frères and a range of ‘sirops’ which are like adult squashes.

HKK - where the drinks are as fab as the food

HKK - where the drinks are as fab as the food

Maybe Chinese restaurants are like buses. You don’t get any new openings for a while then several come along at once. So after Bo London the other day, it’s HKK, the latest project from the Hakkasan group.

What wine (and other drinks) to pair with poke

What wine (and other drinks) to pair with poke

If you haven’t heard of poke - the Hawaiian dish of cubed raw fish usually with rice and/or vegetables - you soon will. It’s everywhere (and pronounced, by the way, pokay not poke).

Wines - and other drinks - to match recipes from the Ottolenghi Cookbook

Wines - and other drinks - to match recipes from the Ottolenghi Cookbook

The book I’ve been looking forward to most so far this year has just started being serialised in the Guardian today. It’s by Yotam Ottolenghi who founded two exceptional London restaurants and is simply called Ottolenghi: the Cookbook. l love Ottolenghi's food - it’s so generous and big-flavoured, piled high on bright, colourful platters - you can't fail to be tempted by it. It also lends itself perfectly to entertaining for large numbers at home.

Root beer and fried chicken and waffles

Root beer and fried chicken and waffles

I’m always on the lookout for interesting matches with alcohol-free drinks and this just inched it over a really good cider pairing at the Hang Fire Southern Kitchen yesterday.

Can any wine survive a Vindaloo?

Can any wine survive a Vindaloo?

The widely held belief that wine doesn’t pair with curry has largely been dispelled with the new and more subtly spiced curries on the market. But what of really hot curries like a Vindaloo?

What to drink with Middle Eastern food?

What to drink with Middle Eastern food?

With middle-eastern food still very much on-trend Dubai-based blogger Sally Prosser of mycustardpie.com tells us which drinks she thinks makes the best pairings

What to drink with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's veggie recipes

What to drink with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's veggie recipes

If you’re used to choosing wine - or other drinks - to match with meat or fish you may be flummoxed when it comes to chosing one for vegetarian friends. But as I explain in my Guardian column today it’s a question of finding out how the wine is made - and in particular whether any animal-based products have been used in the fining process.

The best wine matches for Caerphilly

The best wine matches for Caerphilly

Caerphilly - or, to be more precise - Gorwydd Caerphilly which is made by my mates Jess and Todd Trethowan of Trethowan's Dairy - is probably the cheese I know best. And there’s one absolutely outstanding match for it . . .

Tortilla chips, salsa fresca and a virgin mojito

Tortilla chips, salsa fresca and a virgin mojito

My first meal of the new year was a Mexican which might sound unusual in London but not much is open on New Year’s Day. We went to Wahaca which has a number of restaurants around the capital with some good non-alcoholic drinks options.

Prawn curry and saffron lassi

Prawn curry and saffron lassi

I’m always on the lookout for interesting alcohol-free drinks to pair with food so was pleased to see that Asma Khan had listed some really interesting options at her Darjeeling Express residency at The Sun and 13 Cantons pub in Soho the other day.

Mezze and apple, mint and ginger lemonade

Mezze and apple, mint and ginger lemonade

It must be the unseasonally hot weather but I've been drinking a lot of soft drinks lately. There seems to be much more choice on the market, especially more sophisticated drinks that are full of flavour but not too sweet. And which go well with food.

Chicken with pomegranate molasses and orange iced tea

Chicken with pomegranate molasses and orange iced tea

One of the areas of food and drink pairing I’m always trying to crack is soft drinks - so it’s good to find an inspired match that really hits the spot - not too sweet as most soft drinks are for me.

Andhra Curry-leaf Chicken

Andhra Curry-leaf Chicken

When I met Christine Manfield a while ago I gave her the impossible task of picking one recipe out of her stunning book Tasting India. This was the one she chose.

A refreshing punch for a New Year's Day brunch

A refreshing punch for a New Year's Day brunch

A fresh, zesty citrus-based punch that’s packed with vitamin C. It obviously tastes best if you squeeze the fruit yourself but bought freshly squeezed juice is fine if you’re short of time.

How to pair wine with an authentic Indian meal

How to pair wine with an authentic Indian meal

Of all the different aspects of wine and food matching I write about, wine and Indian food is the most controversial. What type of wine works best, and indeed whether you should drink wine at all is the subject of endlessly heated exchanges. The subject has recently come up again with the introduction of a number of wines that are specifically designed to go with spicy food. Was this, at last, the solution?

Sweetcorn, feta and green chilli waffles and pink grapefruit juice

Sweetcorn, feta and green chilli waffles and pink grapefruit juice

Soft drinks don’t often feature in my weekly pairings but this combination of an inventive savoury breakfast waffle and some lovely fresh pink grapefruit juice at The Modern Pantry last week was spot on.

Smoked trout and a Tricycle

Smoked trout and a Tricycle

My problem this week is that I have a terrific wine pairing but I can't tell you about it because it's the result of a tasting I was running for Decanter magazine. So you'll have to hang on till December for that. Sorry.

Salmon Uri with spicy ginger beer

Salmon Uri with spicy ginger beer

It’s always good to find a restaurant that takes non-alcoholic drinks as seriously as it does boozy ones so it was an easy decision to order a spicy ginger beer cocktail at The Palomar the other day.

Citrus fizz and Mexican food

Citrus fizz and Mexican food

If you’re not drinking for whatever reason - because you’re driving, pregnant or just taking a break - it’s sometimes difficult to find something that makes a good match for what you’re eating. Soft drinks can be sweet and sugary. Water sometimes too plain.

British cheeses and cider

British cheeses and cider

I suppose I shouldn’t say this coming from the West Country but I often forget about cider when I’m thinking about cheese pairings. Not that I don’t enjoy it but there always seem more complex drinks with a wider range of flavours to experiment with.

What to drink for Diwali

What to drink for Diwali

If you’re planning a meal to celebrate Diwali this week here are two traditional drinks to accompany the feast.

 Drink of the week: Cawston Press Apple and Rhubarb Juice

Drink of the week: Cawston Press Apple and Rhubarb Juice

I’m continually on the lookout for soft drinks that are not too sweet as I know there’s a big demand for them. This isn’t perfect - it’s still a fruit juice so quite high in sugar - but it is genuinely refreshing.

Are infusions the next big thing in drink pairing? Qin Xie isn't totally convinced

Are infusions the next big thing in drink pairing? Qin Xie isn't totally convinced

Every time I've been to Azurmendi, it's been a journey. The three Michelin-starred restaurant is situated half way up a very steep hill, about 15 minutes drive from Bilbao. In the evenings, almost every inch of the palatial structure is lit up like a glittering crystal; and as you drive up the winding road to reach the restaurant, it illuminates the darkness like a beacon.

How to make a really healthy smoothie

How to make a really healthy smoothie

If your new year's resolution is to get fit you may be planning to start the day with a smoothie. But how good for you are they and could you make them healthier?

Can Can chicken

Can Can chicken

Continuing with our series of South African Braai recipes to celebrate the World Cup, here’s winemaker Paul Cluver’s version of beer-can chicken made with apple juice rather than beer.

Why mineral waters taste different

Why mineral waters taste different

Twelve months is a long time in a recession. This time last year we were all writing about 30 bottle water lists and 50 bottles of water. In 2009 all the talk is about tap. The unease we may have felt at flying bottles half way round the globe and lack of political correctness in drinking designer water while many have none has been superceded by the the more prosaic necessity to cut down our personal spending.

What to drink with cake

What to drink with cake

A recent email from a reader asked me to suggest a wine to go with “a triple coconut cake with a tangy pineapple icing served with fresh fruit salsa that has kiwi, strawberry, madarine oranges, blueberries and fresh pineapple in it”. Quite a challenge (I suggested demi-sec Champagne or a peach-flavoured liqueur topped up with fizz) but it got me thinking that there are many possible matches for cake beyond a cup of tea or coffee, particularly if you're serving it as a dessert.

Six of the best pairings for a burger

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?

6 good wine matches for aubergine/eggplant

6 good wine matches for aubergine/eggplant

Aubergine - or eggplant as it’s called in the US - doesn’t have a strong flavour of its own but tends to enrich any dish in which it’s included especially when baked with tomatoes and cheese.

Welsh rarebit and a glass of organic milk

Welsh rarebit and a glass of organic milk

This week's pairing is for all those of you who are having a dry January this month (although here’s why I’m not).

Tacos and tamarind agua fresca

Tacos and tamarind agua fresca

It’s always good to come across a soft drink that pairs as well with food as an alcoholic one and the Mexicans have a particularly refreshing one in agua fresca.

Strawberries and elderflower cordial

Strawberries and elderflower cordial

I’m really spoilt for choice for my match of the week - there were so many good ones last week. As you may have picked up if you follow me on Twitter (where I tweet as winematcher and food_writer) I was in Copenhagen eating at the world’s best restaurant, Noma (according to the 800 food writers, chefs and critics that judge the ‘World's 50 Best Awards) and also at Herman whose sommelier Jacob Kocemba came up with some excellent pairings.

San Pellegrino and seafood

San Pellegrino and seafood

Like most wine-lovers, I suspect, I’ve made a new year’s resolution to drink rather less after the excesses of Christmas and the New Year. I’m not a big fan of sweetened fruit juices so my drink of choice at the moment, with meals and in between, is sparkling mineral water.

Guava Collins and Singapore Noodles

Guava Collins and Singapore Noodles

Traditionally it’s been difficult to find a pairing for noodle dishes, especially soup noodles which have the triple drawback of being hot, sour and wet. But the other night at Alan Yau’s new restaurant Cha Cha Moon (of which more to follow when I do my round-up of new London openings) I had a delicious non-alcoholic cocktail which really hit the spot.

Chicken salad and real apple juice

Chicken salad and real apple juice

Yesterday finally felt as if spring had come. After weeks of unsettled and unseasonably cool weather it was warm and balmy, rich with the scent of blossom. We went out with friends to the village of Wrington just outside Bristol to follow an ‘art trail’ of exhibitions by local artists. (Yes, I bought something - a delightful picture of radishes by a talented collage artist called Anne Carpenter)

A Middle-Eastern inspired barbecue for eight

A Middle-Eastern inspired barbecue for eight

Here's a barbecue with a difference from my book Food, Wine and Friends. The centrepiece is a spiced, butterflied leg of lamb served with a delicious Turkish-style bulghur wheat salad called Kisir. Finish with grilled nectarines or, if you prefer to have your dessert prepared ahead, some refreshing wine jellies.

3 peachy cocktails to celebrate the 4th of July

3 peachy cocktails to celebrate the 4th of July

Fresh peaches are bang in season right now so use them to make these summery cocktails that I think are quite perfect for today's Independence Day celebrations.

The Pickle House Original Pickle Juice

The Pickle House Original Pickle Juice

If you’ve ever been to the great Pitt Cue Co in Newburgh Street, Soho you may well have had a drink called a pickleback - a bourbon washed down with a chaser of homemade pickle juice.

Marks & Spencer Apple, Pear and Brussel Sprout Juice

Marks & Spencer Apple, Pear and Brussel Sprout Juice

The mere idea of sprout juice may be enough to send the sprout-haters among you running for cover but I have to say I think Marks & Spencer is onto a winner here.

Never miss a post!

About FionaAbout FionaEvents and appearancesEvents and appearancesWork with meWork with me
Loading