The guide to pairing cheap drinks with fancy food

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Want to feel fancy without having to splurge? We asked Blake Hamilton, a fine-dining expert and veteran college drinker, to pair cheap alcohol with everyday food.


It’s the epitome of bad beer among Canadians. This needs something light but with tons of flavour to mask how awful it actually tastes, like an arugula or radicchio salad with lemon, balsamic and olive oil. To add a kick, top this with dried berries and goat cheese.


Better called alcoholic fruit juice. Personally, I’d just get a big wheel of brie cheese and not look back! You’ll probably want something with a bit more sustenance in it so you don’t start falling over after you’re done drinking the bottle. Try fish or chicken, but depending on your night, the cheese might be a better bet.


If single malt scotch goes well with cigars, than Olde English 800 malt liquor should go perfectly with a Captain Black cigarillo. Ideas would include some strong foods to combat the heavy taste such as curry or biryani. But then again, food would just ruin your Edward Fortyhands buzz.


My condolences if you’re drinking this (then again, you’re not going to remember how your night was anyways). Lemon and salt would be boring, so you want something more interesting to get over the first few shots. Bite into an orange slice dipped in cinnamon. The cinnamon makes the burn nicer and the orange is sweeter than a wedge of lemon.


Go for Ramen. Why? The salty savoury goodness of the dish will balance out the sweetness of this citrusy, zesty drink. Choose a salt or soy base with pork shoulder to top. If you’re looking for less of a meal, go for savoury snacks like hickory sticks or even poutine.


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