Pairing cocktails with pizza makes for a rich, intense combination.

How to Pair a Mixed Drink With Pizza

by Dan Ketchum

Pizza is certainly a crowd-pleaser for the little ones, but its complex, flavorful taste can be a hit with moms, too. Italian food famously accents red wines and pizza perennially pairs with a good brew -- matching your pie to the perfect cocktail is a little trickier, but it's also immensely satisfying. The beauty of pizza is its versatility; no single cocktail goes with all pizzas, so focus on the dish's key toppings when pairing with mixed drinks.

1 Go with a Negroni cocktail as a safe bet for most traditional pizzas. A Negroni features one part gin, one part sweet vermouth and one part bitters, typically stirred over ice with a few slices of orange. In this classic mixed drink, the bitter and sweet flavors of the cocktail mingle with the acidity of the tomato sauce and the subtle sweetness of the mozzarella cheese. Negroni cocktails also pair nicely with margarita pizzas.

2 Pair old-fashioned daiquiris with meat-heavy pizzas to offset the savory meat with a sweet, tangy drink. For a simple but flavorful lime daiquiri, mix two parts white rum with one part lime juice and a dash of simple syrup. Shake over ice and pour. Use high-proof rum to slightly reduce the traditional daiquiri's sweetness factor, making it a better match for the intense flavors of the pizza -- an overly sweet daiquiri may be too rich for pairing. Lime daiquiris go particularly well with mixed-meat pies.

3 Accent simple pizzas, such as plain cheese or pepperoni pies, with a whiskey-ginger cocktail. Simply stir two parts whiskey -- Irish whiskey works best for a more mild taste -- and one part ginger ale over ice, and garnish with a lime wedge for added tang. This mixed drink mimics the fizzy simplicity, slight spiciness and bite of cola, a simple, time-tested pizza pairing.

4 Try a rum-grapefruit cocktail for pizzas that feature more complex, bitter flavors, such as savory or exotic vegetables, like chive or eggplant. For instance, a mixed drink of one part grapefruit juice, one part bitters, one part spiced rum and a splash of lime accents complex pizzas and those with a bold clash of flavors, such as vegetarian pies with the works.

Tip

  • Experiment often. There's no rulebook for pizza and cocktail pairings, so go with your gut and try a small cocktail of your choice with a leftover slice of your favorite pie after tucking the kids in. Once you've found a flavor combo that works, debut it at your next grown-up pizza party.

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