Nothing is more important in a restaurant than the food and beverages. That’s why, as a restaurant manager, you should always strive to provide great drink and food pairings. When you serve delicious pairings, customer satisfaction is guaranteed.
Now that the seasons are changing again, it’s a good idea to change up the offers on your beverage menu and include some new beverages, such are brandy cocktails. You can, of course, serve classic brandy and various fruit brandy types. Get familiar with the health benefits of brandy (and proper brandy storage, of course) and share with customers to increase the interest. You can also tell them how brandy is made and spark more conversations around it.
Spiked cider is another category of drinks to consider and you can read about spiked cider pairings, too. However, in this article we will look into brandy pairings, which you can create in your own restaurant.
Delicious Food and Brandy Pairings
There are many brandy types that come from all over the world and are made with different fruits. All of them pair well with various foods, usually dishes that are traditional for the region where the brandy was made.
Key Takeaway: The different brandy varieties can be paired with a wide range of delicious meals, as well as cheese and meat platters. Desserts are also a great pair for a nice glass of brandy.
Apple Brandy Pairings
Apple brandy is one of the most popular types, especially in the USA. It goes well with the following foods:
- Pork Dishes - Serve apple brandy with roasted pork loin, pork chops, or pork tenderloin. The sweetness of apple and the richness of the brandy complement the savory pork flavors.
- Cheeses - There are so many amazing alcohol and cheese pairings to try! Make your brandy-loving customers happy by offering them a platter with Brie, Camembert, and sharp cheddar cheese. The creamy and sometimes tangy notes of these cheeses contrast the fruity sweetness of the brandy.
- Chicken and Duck Dishes - Apple brandy enhances nicely the flavors of chicken and duck dishes. Brandy, in general, is a great drink to have with the main course of the meal.
- Apple-Based Desserts - There’s no surprise that apple brandy complements nicely desserts with apple flavor. Apple pie, apple crisp, and apple tart are all a great idea!
- Charcuterie - Who doesn’t love a good charcuterie board with their cocktail drink or some type of alcoholic beverage? Create a charcuterie with salami, prosciutto, and smoked sausages. As already mentioned, cheese are also good to add.
- Nuts - Roasted and lightly salted nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, can be a delicious snack alongside apple brandy. You can serve them together with the charcuterie board.
- Seafood Dishes - Apple brandy works really well with some seafood dishes. Consider pairing it with pan-seared scallops or shrimp scampi.
- Baked Brie - Baked Brie with apples and a drizzle of honey is an excellent appetizer to enjoy with apple brandy. The combination of warm, melty cheese, sweet apples, and brandy is a delightful treat.
Cherry Brandy Pairings
The cherry notes in this brandy makes it a perfect match for some foods that don’t go as well with apple brandy. Let’s see what meals you can pair it with:
- Chocolate Desserts - Cherry brandy's sweet and fruity notes complement chocolate very well. This is the brandy to serve with chocolate mousse, fondue, and chocolate cake.
- Grilled Fruits - Grilled or roasted fruits like peaches, plums, or pineapple are another great match for cherry brandy. The caramelized fruit pairs wonderfully with the brandy's sweetness.
- Dark Berries - Another category of desserts to serve with cherry brandy is everything with dark berries, such as blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. It’s a delightful fruity match!
- Vanilla Desserts - Vanilla desserts like panna cotta, vanilla ice cream, or crème brûlée can be enjoyed with some cherry brandy, too. The contrast between the flavors makes this combination super enjoyable.
- Foie Gras - This is a dish that pairs well with the brandy because the sweetness of the drink complements well the luxurious flavors of the food.
- Spiced Dishes - Spiced pork, Moroccan tagines, or dishes with warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg are just a few of the options you can serve with cherry brandy. Other spiced dishes can work great with it, too.
Pear Brandy Pairings
Pear brandy is another popular drink that many people from all over the world enjoy. It’s a great drink to have with these dishes:
- Fresh Pears - Just like apple brandy goes well with apples and apple desserts, pear brandy goes with pears. The fruit will enhance the pear notes in the brandy, making the combination very enjoyable.
- Cheese, Prosciutto, and Almonds - Pear brandy goes well with cheese platters with creamy and mild cheeses like Brie, Camembert, and goat cheese. Prosciutto wrapped around fresh pear slices, as well as almonds are also great foods to have with this drink. Put it all together and you can create a delicious platter for your restaurant guests to enjoy with a glass of pear brandy.
- Seafood Dishes - Pair pear brandy with seafood like scallops or shrimp. It’s a nice combination that mist people will enjoy.
- Cured Meats - Include pear brandy in a charcuterie board with cured meats like prosciutto, salami, or pancetta. The brandy's sweetness complements the savory meats.
- Ginger Dishes - Foods prepared with ginger, such as ginger-glazed carrots or ginger-spiced chicken, can pair nicely with pear brandy. The spice and warmth of ginger enhance the brandy's fruity flavor.
- Spiced Desserts - Pear brandy can be a delightful addition to spiced desserts like pear and gingerbread crumble or poached pears with cinnamon. The spices and pear flavors complement each other.
Apricot and Plum Brandy Pairings
So far, we have covered many different dishes that pair well with brandies. The majority of these dishes will pair nicely with apricot and plum brandy, too. However, there are a few other dishes that are worth mentioning as well.
- Almonds and Almond-Based Desserts - Almonds and almond-based desserts, like almond cake or marzipan go nicely with brandies. The brandy's fruity sweetness complements the nuttiness of these desserts.
- Tarts and Pastries - Apricot brandy complements pastries and tarts made with apricot jam or fresh apricots. Its fruity sweetness enhances the overall flavor. Same goes with plum brandy and desserts made with plums and jams.
- Fig and Honey Combinations - Serve fresh figs drizzled with honey alongside plum or apricot brandy. The fig's natural sweetness and the honey's richness pair well with the brandy's fruity taste.
Cheeses, charcuterie boards, pork and chicken dishes, as well as spicy foods and grilled fruits are great pairs for these brandies, too. Encourage the staff in your restaurant to speak with the customers and recommend the type of brandy that will suit their taste the most.
Frequently Asked Questions about Food and Brandy Pairings
If you want to find out more on the topic, read the answers to these commonly asked questions regarding brandy.
Should I Serve Brandy Before or After a Meal?
Brandy can be enjoyed both before and after a meal. As an aperitif, serve it before to stimulate the appetite. After a meal, brandy can be served as a digestif to aid digestion.
Can I Pair Brandy With Spicy Cheese Like Blue Cheese?
Blue cheese can pair nicely with brandy, especially those with fruity and sweet notes. The contrast between the cheese's intensity and the brandy's complexity can be delightful.
Are There Traditional Brandy Pairings in Specific Cuisines?
Certain cuisines have traditional brandy pairings. For example, in French cuisine, Cognac or Armagnac is often served with foie gras, while in Eastern European cuisine, plum brandy is paired with cured meats.