Food pairings for cocktails, it can be done.
Did you come to one of our Victoria Gin tastings at the LCBO? The last two weekends we were out sampling the delicious Canadian gin at locations around the GTA.
One of the messages I tried to impart was that you CAN pair food with cocktails. I admit it can be challenging but when you find one that works it's a revelation. If you've ever had a perfect food and wine pairing you'll know how the right dish can bring the right wine to a new level, this works the same way.
Here we pair a fresh Cucumber Crostini with a classic Gin & Tonic. This recipe match can represent the first in a series of food pairings, a good place to start since it's summer and you will likely be entertaining and probably serving at least a few Gin & Tonics.
A simple snack, the Cucumber Crostini combines just a few fresh ingredients but creates an amazing pairing. It's the high alcohol level (unlike wine) that can mask the taste of food and one of the reasons why it can be difficult to match cocktails with dishes.
The triple cream cheese acts to counter the high alcohol content in the gin. The cucumber refreshes and matches the herbaceous quality of both the gin and the tonic (try your next martini with a slice of cucumber, you won't be disappointed).
The mint opens up the nasal passages and invites you to use your sense of smell to taste more of the flavours in the food and the drink (one of the reasons mint makes a terrific drink garnish even when there isn't any mint in the drink).
The savoriness of onion is a match for the other flavours in this nibble but also an excellent highlighter for gin (think gibson).
25 crostini, or other small crackers
200 g triple cream brie, St. Andre or Creme de bourgogne
1/2 English cucumber
2 green/spring onions
1/4 c fresh mint
Slice cucumber, onions and mint very thin. Spread 1 tsp of cheese on each cracker. Layer on cucumber, sprinkle with onion and mint.
Do you have a favorite snack to eat with a Gin & Tonic? Did you try this recipe? Let me know!