Planning a little boo bash this week? A soiree with spooky spirits, or maybe you’ll just sit home alone, in the dark, watch a horror movie marathon and eat a whole bag of Halloween candy all by yourself? Don’t worry, no one is judging.
But whatever you’re planning, you’ll want some non-Ouija board spirits to go with your fun. So what wines and beers pair well with Halloween treats?
Sure, there’re always Bloody Marys, that Vampire Wine or Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s Santo with the cool Day of the Dead skull (by local artist Carlos Hernandez) on the label. And while these make nice party decorations, do they really pair well with candy, pop cornballs and pumpkin treats?
The Carrie wine can be lovingly sweet and beautiful, but if done in a different style it can have an acidity that will rip your face off.
I was recently introduced to Ferrari, not the car but a fabulous family of sparkling Italian wines. The award-winning 2007 Ferrari Perlé in particular is a wonderful, light and fruity bubbly that pairs well with green apples. So I’m thinking if you’re apple bobbing with Granny Smiths or eating green candied apples, this is a good choice.
But after that I was at a loss, so I turned to some experts.
Chef Paul Lewis of the new Paul’s Kitchen says he enjoys Italian orange wines, also known as macerated wines, with his candy treats this time of year. Orange wines are actually whites that are made like red wines with prolonged exposure to the grape skins and seeds. Sounds like it might make a good pairing for Halloween.
Phyllis Mandola, wife of Tony Mandola, recommends Big Guy Bordeaux Blend, or Byron Pinot Noir, to enjoy with your favorite Halloween treats.
And some experts were a little more specific. The new wine director at Nara Sushi and Korean Kitchen, Aimee Guillermety, has clearly given some thought to this. She recommends an ice wine with your candy corn. Ice wines are dessert wines made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine.
“They both have that same level of honey sweetness,” she says. “So they really work well together.”
And the wine folks over at the Max’s Wine Dive and The Tasting Room chains have given this a lot of thought. A lot.
Here are their sweet pairing recommendations:
Snickers with Madeira: Rare Wine Co. Charleston Sercial Madeira. This is the Jason Wine, the undead wine, and it terrorizes your palate the first time you taste it, but you keep coming back for it like multiple horror sequels. The caramel and burnt toffee notes helps the nougat pop and the peanuts add a creaminess to the rich, dry aspect of Madeira.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups with Cabernet: Jakkals. This vampire wine, dark and deep and the color of rich blood, dies when hits the sunlight. The cabs oak presence and rich dark fruits bite deep into the peanut butter and chocolate richness allowing the saltiness to add a depth and flare to the cabs richness.
Starburst with Sparkling: Prodige Blanc de Blancs Sparkling. It's a ghost wine, bright and glowing with a screaming acidity like a banshee that haunts the coastline. The bright and bubbly character of sparkling wine with its laser like acidity can help the star bright playful notes within Starburst, and the sweet and tart fruits help explode the floral and lemon peel notes of most sparklings.
Candy Corn (seriously, how many adults eat candy corn?) with Riesling: Urban Circle U. The Carrie wine can be lovingly sweet and beautiful, but if done in a different style it can have an acidity that will rip your face off. The generous creamy sweet notes can beautifully accent the tropical notes of rich mango and raw honey that Riesling can be so evocative with.
So what if you want a beer? I turned to Dave Ohmer, the brew master for Whole Foods Market. The new store on Post Oak, opening Nov, 6, will have the grocer’s first in-store brewery and a beer tricycle that will cruise around delivering beer to shoppers. Cool.
“Sweet items are a good opportunity to pair hoppy beers like IPAs and Double IPAs with because sometimes hoppy beers can be tough to pair with things,” Ohmer says. “My favorite for most Halloween treats would be a Belgian framboise. The raspberry pairs well, and the tartness cuts through all the sweet.”
He adds that a big Russian Imperial Stout would be good with caramel corn but warns that beer and apples don’t really mix.
So, there you go. Enjoy Halloween and drink up. Now, if I could just find a cocktail that pairs with my Bit-O-Honey.
Oh, wait, apparently there’s a shot that mirrors the taste of this childhood candy. So we’re all good.