9 Alcohol & Valentine's Day Candy Pairings For The Perfect Night In
This Friday, step up your game in the kitchen and channel your inner dessert chef, sommelier, and mixologist powers, by curating a selection of alcohol pairings for Valentine's Day candy. The best way to elevate and enjoy your new collection of sweet treats is to expertly pair them with adult beverages for the perfect balance. Instead of mindlessly snacking on your Valentine's Day candies, or re-gifting that box of chocolates that look too fancy to dig into, be intentional about dessert time and do dig in. Tap into the art of pairing and prepare an interactive dessert to share with your Valentine, or to enjoy all on your own.
Because playing matchmaker between candies and cocktails is not intuitive, Bustle reached out to a beverage and dessert expert for help. According to Chef Zoe Schor, owner of Dorothy Bar and the restaurant Split Rail, in Chicago, "when you’re dealing with any pairings, you’re always looking for complementary or contrasting flavors." In essence, you don't want to wash down a super sweet and fruity candy with an equally super sweet and fruity drink, you want to choose a drink that invites a different flavor profile into your mouth so that the individual flavors have a chance to stand out. "When you’re pairing something like candy with spirits and wine, you also have to think about texture and mouth feel," Schor says. "And you should always look to create something fun and unexpected!"
With the help of Chef Schor and beverage director Michelle Szot, here's a curated list, to help you make the absolute most out of your Valentine's Day candy. Or, to inspire you to run to the pharmacy to stock up on more Valentine's Day candy before it's all gone.
1. Dark Chocolate & Port Wine
Port wine has fruity sweetness to it, and the bitter richness of dark chocolate will balance it out. In this case, the alcohol is the sweeter treat. According to Schor, the mouthfeel of this pairing is superb, as the chocolate coats your mouth, so you're getting a combination of each ingredient in each sip.
2. Swedish Fish & Rosé
Rosé is floral and fruit forward, but not overpoweringly sweet. When you chew on the sugary sweet Swedish Fish between sips, you're covering a more complete scale of sweetness — natural to candied, a fun and energizing combination.
3. Green Chartreuse & Cadbury Cream Eggs
Green Chartreuse is an herbal liquor that's slightly sweet but also has bitter and earthy notes. When you pair a Cadbury Cream Egg, which is powerfully rich, with the liquor it becomes far more enjoyable. The balance allows you to enjoy the candy without feeling like you're hitting sugar wall.
4. Fireball & Candy Hearts
Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is so overpowering, it's best not to compete with it. As far as low key Valentine's Day candies go, conversation hearts are pretty chalky and straightforward. Though the Fireball will definitely rule your mouth flavor-wise, the crunch of a heart candy will create the perfect complementary mouth feel.
5. SweeTarts & Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is naturally sweet and tart, so it's no surprise that pairing it with the candy is a flavor combo home run. The mix of natural sweet and tartness with a sugary sweet and tartness is balancing and fun.
6. Pop Rocks & Champagne
Our experts are sure to mention that you should not put your Pop Rocks in your Champagne, as that combination could be explosive, but washing a few candies down with a swig of the drink could be a lot of fun. Expect fizzy foamy goodness and an intense sugar high.
7. White Chocolate & Averna
White chocolate can become overbearing when you eat it on its own due to its intense richness. Averna is a digestif liquor that's sweet, but that has a bitter bite to it, so when you mix the two together, white chocolate becomes less powerful and more subtly enjoyable.
8. Horehound Candy & Fernet
Horehounds are retro herbal candies that are sweet, but characteristically herbal. Fernet is a liquor that's known for its spicy and herbal profile, too. Enjoyed together, these flavors alert your mouth of a variety of subtle sweet and earthy notes, providing a very adult dessert opportunity.
9. Smoked Sea Salt Chocolate & Anejo Tequila
The combination of a cool bite of sweet and salty smoked dark chocolate with a fiery and oaky sip of Anejo tequila is intense and decedent. If you like smoked goods, you're going to swoon for this intense combination.