Pour it On! Guilty Pleasure Foods
There’s a reason we don big, chunky sweaters in winter: so we can eat all the guilty pleasure foods we love without worrying how we look! We tapped two beverage experts—Brock Schulte, bar director of The Monarch Bar in Kansas City, Mo., and Heather Perkins, general manager and beverage manager at DiAnoia’s Eatery in Pittsburgh—to offer pairing tips for these often-hearty dishes.
Bar Director of The Monarch Bar
General Manager & Beverage Manager at DiAnoia’s Eatery
Gooey lobster mac n’ cheese with gruyere and cheddar cheese
SCHULTE: I like a big, buttery Napa chardonnay. There’s just enough acid in the wine to help, but it doesn’t interfere with the mouthfeel, but boosts it. It’s a no-brainer to hit it with more butter.
PERKINS: I’d choose natural pink bubbles, like 100 percent pinot noir. Old world, French or Italian that’s crisp, with a bit of strawberry and a bone-dry finish with acid that will clean away so you can finish that whole bowl.
Chicken enchiladas with mole
SCHULTE: Lambrusco by Cleto Chiarli. It’s super dry and very high acid content. High acid with mole is always really great. And then finish with ice cream.
PERKINS: A mezcal margarita to meet that smoky flavor in the mole. You can double down on a drink that’s tart, smoky and sour. Something with a little flavor that can hold up over the food.
Chicken and waffles doused with maple syrup and butter
SCHULTE: Dry Spanish cider. I like the effervescence in Spanish ciders with green apple notes. They drink like wine, but finish like beer. The effervescence will always cut the heaviness.
PERKINS: Franciacorta, the champagne of Italy. Classic method made from chardonnay or pinot noir. It’s some of the finest thin, elegant yeasty bubbles with bright acid that pairs great with crispy fatty chicken skin. I always do bubbles and fried chicken.
Deep fried egg rolls filled with cabbage, pork and shrimp
SCHULTE: A gin Gibson with a pickled onion adds a touch of savoriness to fried egg rolls. The way they’re cooked and their texture go well with a nice 50/50 style martini or a Gibson.
PERKINS: I think tiki cocktail. I’m a sucker for a Jungle Bird, which is a classic with rum, Campari, lime, pineapple and a bit of simple syrup. Chinese food is a fun one because there’s so much flavor and can withstand something that’s bitter like this.
A cakey pistachio old-fashioned doughnut
SCHULTE: I’m probably going to drink Champagne. I like really mineral-driven champagnes. It’s all about tiny bubbles and dryness. This doughnut will have a crust of frosting and it doesn’t need more sweetness. Anything with salt, like pistachios, pairs well with Champagne.
PERKINS: Bitter is my favorite flavor and I’m an amaro lover. Having something that’s going to be able to wash it down, but with a nutty and bitter finish. I was thinking Sibilla, an amaro from the Varnelli Group. It has this tacky, earthy maple syrup and honey, nutty flavor to it, which finishes slightly bitter. Getting into amaro with things like a cake and a little neutral, your beverage can take the forefront.