Posted on: December 21, 2023

The Art of Pairing Wines for New Year's

Want to impress your customers with the perfect wine pairing at this year's New Year's celebration? Well, you’ve just found the answer! New Year's festivities offer the perfect opportunity for restaurant owners to create a memorable dining experience for their customers. However, beyond the ambiance and the cuisine is the pairing of wine and spirits. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the science and the art of pairing wines with different types of cuisine so that you can put together impressive New Year's Eve menus for your customers. By the end of this blog, you’ll be able to craft an inspiring and well-thought-out New Year's Eve menu that everyone will love! 

Why Is Pairing Wine With Food Important? 

Matching wine with food amplifies the flavors, leading to a richer dining experience. The correct wine acts as a harmonizing partner to the dish, lending balance. 

Additionally, it serves to cleanse the palate between tastes, refreshing your taste buds. With the right wine and food combination, you can uplift any dining moment. The key is to enhance and heighten flavors for an unforgettable gastronomic journey. 

The Science Behind Pairing

In the realm of food and wine pairing, there are several fundamental guidelines to remember. Start by assessing the depth and taste profile of both the dish and the wine. 

For dishes on the lighter side, a crisp wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio is ideal. On the other hand, bolder dishes demand fuller-bodied wines like Cabernet or Syrah. 

It's important to identify complementary flavors and textures, considering aspects like acid levels, sugary notes, and tannins. Above all, embrace experimentation and rely on your taste buds to discover the ideal match. 

Here is the science behind pairing to consider when creating your New Year’s Eve menu: 

Complement or Contrast 

Wine pairings either complement the flavors in a dish or provide a contrast to them. For instance, a creamy dish might go well with a buttery Chardonnay (complement) or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc (contrast).

Mouthfeel Matters 

The weight or body of both the dish and the wine should be comparable. A heavy dish like beef stew requires a full-bodied wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon. Meanwhile, a light salad would be best with a delicate, light white, such as Pinot Grigio.

The Tannin Tangle 

Tannins, found in red wines, react with proteins. Therefore, reds, rich in tannins, pair well with meat. The meat's proteins soften the tannins, making the wine feel smoother.

Acidity Balance 

Acidic wines can brighten up a dish, making creamy or oily foods feel less heavy. A good rule of thumb: if a squeeze of lemon or a dash of vinegar improves a dish, an acidic wine will, too. 

The Artistic Instincts 

While the science of pairing gives us reliable frameworks, the soul of a memorable wine and food combination often springs from artistic instincts. These are the intangible elements, the emotional connections and gut feelings that allow for truly inspired pairings. 

Like a painter who intuitively selects the right shade or a musician who feels the next note, pairing wine with food requires a delicate touch of artistry. Here’s how you can elevate a meal from merely matched to masterfully paired: 

Local Pairs 

A classic rule that often holds true is 'what grows together, goes together. ' A French dish, for instance, might pair beautifully with a French wine. This isn’t just about nationality; even within regions, certain local foods and wines are developed together over time and harmonize naturally.

The Adventure of New Flavors 

While it's tempting to stick to tried-and-true pairings, New Year’s Eve is the time for some magic. Maybe a sparkling Rosé with that sushi platter? Or a dessert wine with a spicy dish? The possibilities are endless. Trust your taste buds and experiment to figure out what works best! 

The Spirit of the Dish 

The essence of the dish, be it its spiciness, sweetness, or umami, can guide your wine choice. For spicy foods, wines with lower alcohol and a hint of sweetness (like Gewürztraminer) can be perfect. Sweet dishes might need a wine that's equally sweet, if not more, while umami-rich foods like mushrooms can stand up to more tannic wines.

Listen to the Guest 

The best pairing is the one the guest loves. Some might prefer a red over white, dry over sweet. While guidance is essential, flexibility ensures a memorable experience. 


TIP: Are you serving alcohol responsibly these holidays? Learn how you can prioritize the safety of your customers this New Year’s by reading our blog on How to Serve Alcohol Responsibly Over the Holidays now. 

 

 

New Year's Eve Menu Ideas 

Now that you understand the science and art behind pairing wines let's put it into action! Here are ways you can enhance your New Year's Eve Menu from start to finish: 

Starters 

  • Oysters: Best with a crisp sparkling wine or Champagne. The sparkle complements the salty freshness of the oysters.
  • Cheese Platter: A diverse board offers a chance to play. Soft cheeses like Brie pair well with Chardonnay, while blue cheese might call for a sweet Sauternes. 

Main Course 

  • Roast Lamb: A red Bordeaux or a robust Australian Shiraz brings out the best in lamb.
  • Seafood Pasta: A zesty Pinot Grigio or even a Prosecco will complement the seafood and cut through any creaminess.

Desserts 

  • Chocolate Mousse: A vintage Port or even a rich Zinfandel can be surprisingly harmonious with the deep flavors of chocolate.
  • Fruit Tart: A Moscato d’Asti, with its light sweetness and bubbles, highlights the freshness of the fruits. 

After Dinner 

Want to continue celebrating the festivities after your meal? It’s time to bring out the spirits! This is the perfect time to enjoy your favorite spirits. A single malt whiskey, a smooth cognac, or even a craft cocktail can serve as the ideal nightcap. 


TIP: Want to learn how to make some of the world's strongest cocktails? Read our blog on the World's Strongest Cocktails now. 

 

Providing a Safe Experience

While New Year’s Eve is an event to celebrate and enjoy, we can’t ignore the risks associated with drinking alcoholic beverages. Creating a safe drinking environment should be a top priority for any establishment.  

Ensuring the well-being of customers is essential in the hospitality sector, especially when it comes to serving alcohol. Proper training of employees not only upholds your establishment's reputation but also plays a critical role in keeping everyone safe. 

With alcohol service comes the responsibility of recognizing signs of intoxication, understanding legal liabilities, and knowing when—and how—to refuse service. That's where TIPS Alcohol Safety Training steps in. 

As a leader in alcohol safety education, TIPS equips your team with the knowledge and skills they need to serve responsibly, fostering a secure and enjoyable environment for all. 

With TIPS pre-paid passports, an efficient bulk purchase solution, you can effortlessly streamline your alcohol safety training. 


This New Year's Eve, let your establishment be the canvas where tradition and innovation in wine pairing come together, promising an unforgettable and safe celebration. Make safety your priority; let us guide the way.