Top pairings | The best wine and liqueur pairings for trifle

Pairings | Cream sherry

The best wine and liqueur pairings for trifle

There’s no doubt about it, trifle is tricky when it comes to drink pairings. If it includes booze already do you serve more on the side? And what kind of booze should that be?

Now that there are so many types of trifle one drink match isn’t going to fit all.

Some trifles are light - custardy and creamy - others much richer and more intense in flavour. Read the recipe carefully before you decide on your wine, liqueur or other drink match - you may find the clue in the ingredients.

Whatever drink you choose I suggest serving it in small glasses or shot glasses as most trifles have some element of alcohol already

A ready-bought trifle with jelly, custard and cream. No booze

A sweet sparkler like a moscato d’Asti would be perfect with this, as I've highlighted in my post of top Christmas wine pairings. Or the inexpensive sweet red Italian sparkling wine Brachetto d’Acqui.

A classic sherry trifle such as this one

Depends how boozy it is but more sherry is obviously an option - though you could try a light cream sherry (like Crofts) rather than a dark one. Orange flavours work well with sherry too so you could try an orangey flavoured sweet wine like a Passito di Pantelleria or an orange liqueur which is also what you might try with an . . .

. . .orangey trifle

If the trifle is already quite intensely flavoured you could create a contrast by serving an ice-cold shot of Cointreau. Or go for a sweet dark sherry or madeira.

A trifle with berries

Strawberry trifle by by Marcelo Verfe at

Photo by Marcelo Verfe

Work round the berry flavours. For instance a raspberry liqueur with a raspberry trifle or a limoncello as a contrast to this Nigella recipe which includes blackberries and blackcurrant jam. With a strawberry trifle try the delicious, strawberry-scented ratafia di fragola if you can find it. And see also Brachetto d’Acqui, above.

A rhubarb trifle

Provided it doesn’t contain too much booze of its own go for a chilled Sauternes or similar sweet Bordeaux or late harvest sauvignon or semillon. A rhubarb vodka - or a cocktail based on one - would also be good

Chocolate and cherry trifle

I’m not sure I really regard chocolate trifle as a proper trifle but many do. I’d focus on the cherries for the match - a cherry brandy, for example would go well with this Nigella recipe or with Delia’s Cheat’s Chocolate Trifle. Lidl does an inexpensive one - or did last year. If you don’t have any to hand try a young ruby port or, if you prefer a less sweet pairing, a cherry-flavoured beer.

Banana trifle e.g. Delia’s butterscotch and banana trifle

Muscats tend to go well with banana - try an Australian liqueur muscat with this.

You may also find this post 20 Christmas wine pairings to learn by heart useful.

Top image © Matthew J Thomas

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Comments: 1 (Add)

Amanda on December 21 2015 at 16:46

Hmm, I'm doing that Delia trifle but with roasted pears (because bananas are vile!). Given it's Madeira soaked sponge, butterscotch sauce, custard & cream, what would work please?

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