Pour it On!: Tailgating
Ensure you have the best drinks to pair with your food at every football game.
Though football season is in full swing, tailgaters have plenty of time to perfect their spreads. That includes what to drink with all that deliciously, eclectic parking lot fare. We tapped two beverage experts at Chicago’s Fifty/50 Restaurant Group—Becky Dorsen (Utopian Tailgate) and Dylan Seo (The Sixth)—to pair dishes recommended by Utopian Tailgate executive chef/partner Nate Henssler. Get ready to go long and score a touchdown with these suggestions.
Becky Dorsen (Utopian Tailgate)
Dylan Seo (The Sixth)
5-Spice Spare Ribs with Ginger Cilantro Glaze
Seo: You could do something light to cleanse the palate or dark and rich to highlight the spice. For the lighter side, do a well-crafted lager. On the dark side, do a nice porter or a malbec.
Dorsen: The sauce is a little sweet with the 5-spice and brown sugar, so I thought a nice spicy red like a zinfandel would be a good complementary balance. It has nice black pepper, tobacco richness to it that would be good with the sweetness in the ribs.
King Crab Deviled Eggs with Dijonnaise
Seo: I’d go for a crisp, dry rosé. It’s bright and will help balance those flavors and not overtake the experience.
Dorsen: A dry riesling to pick up the sweetness from the crab and that fat from the egg will melt right into your riesling.
Grilled Wings with Giardiniera, Smoked Cauliflower Ranch and Carrot Sticks
Seo: For wings, it’s a little uncommon, but I like white wine, and for this it would be on the lighter side. So maybe sauvignon blanc. Depending on the wings and with the smoked cauliflower, there’s a lot of nice rich flavors. You want a little ride buddy or side car, and wine does a great job of playing that role.
Dorsen: A nice Miller High Life! You have grilled wings, some smokiness and spiciness, so you need something refreshing and crisp to go with it.
Charred Corn on the Cob, Chipotle Mayonnaise, Queso Cincho
Seo: A nice mezcal cocktail. It could be a margarita that’s bright or even a mezcal Negroni that’s bitter. Mezcal makes a connection to this style of cooking, but adds some smokiness that will complement the flavors.
Dorsen: I picked our Switch Hitter, a brandy cocktail with grapefruit and thyme with a touch of banana. It’s not sweet, but crisp and refreshing that will go well with the char and spiciness.
Nectarine and Blackberry Hand Pies with Vanilla Chantilly
Seo: I am lactose intolerant. I’d love a gin punch with a nut milk. You can do a fat-washed gin punch. This is tying into the sensation of having a nice glass of milk with those flavors. If I had to choose a gin, maybe a new American gin without as much juniper flavor, with citrus and sweetness to make for a balanced drink and clear the palate.
Dorsen: A nice rich ruby port with a balsamic feel goes well with the nectarines.