Takeaway food and alcohol may be one of the best pairings in the world, but do we know the right way to do it? We teamed up with Luvians Bottle Shop (the best one-stop shop for everything alcohol related in St Andrews) to come up with the ultimate guide to pairing takeaway food with booze.

Charlotte Cohen

We’re big proponents of actually trying and evaluating the things we recommend, so we hosted a tasting evening with three alcohol experts (aka. Luvians employees) and three students. It was one of the most delicious dinners in a long time, and we’re here to tell you what pairings blew our minds and what left us wanting more.

Course 1: Salmon Bini Bowl from CombiniCo

Sophia Dearie

The Wine: Montanar Graciano (£8.49)

The Beer: Gueze Boon Black Label (£9.95)

The Verdict: Red wine with fish? We had no idea this was a thing. But, treated right, Graciano is a wonderfully aromatic, floral wine with dark cherry flavours that match up perfectly to the teriyaki dressing in the Bini Box. For extra controversy, we served the wine the way the Spanish would on a sunny day — lightly chilled — which blew our minds. This elevated the colour and the flavour, and we loved the fact that it was 100% organic.

The beer, a bone-dry lambic geuze, had a super sharp acidic tang, notes of grapefruit, and a generous helping of wild yeast for a bit of funkiness. This geuze is a classic pairing for pretty much all seafood. Its acidity also matched nicely with the pickled red cabbage while cutting through the slight fattiness of the avocado. We loved how well the beer paired with all of the different elements of the bini bowl, but we found that the wine paired superbly with the salmon itself. Grab the beer if you want something to refresh your palate between bites, but grab the wine if you want to highlight all the local Scottish salmon has to offer.

Course 2: Fish and Chips from Tailend

Charlotte Cohen

The Wine: Langlois Brut Crémant (Currently on Offer - £12, Normally £13.99)

The Beer: Brewdog Jet Black Heart Vanilla Milk Stout (£2.10)

The Verdict: Fizz and chips — talk about pairing takeaway food with booze the right way. Sparkling wine with fish and chips is literally mindblowing. Every jaw at the dinner table had dropped to the floor by this point. We all agreed that the wine with the fish and chips was ‘more than the sum of its parts’. The crisp, fresh flavour of the sparkling wine complemented the delicate flavour of Tailend's haddock without dominating the fish, while the acidity and carbonation cut through the grease in the batter.

However, the beer was a really fun and unexpected pairing as well, adding a nuttiness and complexity to the dish that we loved. The dryness of the stout sliced through the heaviness of the fatty batter, but complemented the richness of the dish overall. If you want to keep it classy, go for the wine. When you’re in a more adventurous mood, or if you want to surprise someone with a Ratatouille flavour explosion, the beer is your best bet.

Course 3: Chicken Pad Thai from Tanon

Charlotte Cohen

The wine: Dr Loosen Dry “Red Slate” Riesling (£11.99)

The beer: Saison Dupont (£2.50)

The verdict: This course was named “the battle of the complementary tastings” by our drink-pairing shaman, Archie. There were high hopes for the beer, Saison Dupont, to be spot on with this food pairing, due to the specific strain of yeast that can be found in this beer. However, the Tanon pad thai was sweeter than expected, which meant that the beer tasted a little too bitter alongside it. Despite this, we were reminded by Archie that Benjamin Franklin was right in thinking that “beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy” (real quote, Google it!).

The wine pairing on the other hand was delicious and worked well with the sweetness of the pad thai. We drank a dry riesling, which was chosen due to its refreshing characteristics, which work well to cleanse the palate after each delicious bite of the salty and sweet chicken pad thai. Riesling is arguably the oldest single varietal wine (wine using a single type of grape) in Europe, and works on a ‘sliding scale’ of sweetness. Therefore, you can pair riesling with anything from a super spicy curry to a sweet dessert. It’s basically like the wine version of the perfect pair of jeans: versatile, classic, and game-changing if they fit perfectly.

Course 4: Chicken Tikka Masala from Maisha

Charlotte Cohen

The wine: Tramontane Côtes Catalanes Rosé (£8.99)

The beer: Tripel Karmeliet (£3.60)

The verdict: Not going to lie, we were slightly skeptical about the whole rosé and curry thing. We understood the rationale behind it, but we weren’t sure if it was going to live up to its hype in real life. Boy, were we wrong about that. The wine had just enough acidity and sweetness for the creamy tikka masala. However, since tikka masala is so sweet and so creamy, this pairing became slightly overwhelming after a few bites.

The beer, on the other hand, was refreshing, caramelized, cardamomy, clovey goodness in a glass. The Tripel beer did not disappoint, and it really balanced the sweetness of the tikka masala well. Each sip of the Tripel was like hitting a reset button on our taste buds, letting us continue to enjoy the rich and creamy curry. If you’re alone and pairing takeaway food with booze at home, grab the beer as it will sustain you until you hit the bottom of the bowl. However, if you’re splitting the tikka masala with friends, we highly recommend a cheeky bottle of rosé alongside it to keep the flavours going in your mouth.

Course 5: Grillburger from Blackhorn

Charlotte Cohen

The wine: Biferno Rosso Reserva (£7.99)

The beer: Verdant Fruit Car Sight Exhibition (£6.20)

The verdict: The aim of this pairing was to match ‘juice with juice’, and to focus the flavours on the spicy sauce that’s housed in between the chargrilled burger and the fresh bun. The grillburger from Blackhorn is an ‘American style burger’, so what better to pair it with than an American style IPA? As for the wine, the acidity in this Italian handled the zingy sauce on our grillburger quite nicely without compromising the rich, full bodied, slightly smokey qualities that we all know pair perfectly with a burger. We recommend the wine if you are looking to savour your grillburger moment for a while longer, but if you are looking for an easy drink to help digest the burger and move your taste buds along, opt for the beer.

Course 6: Black Forest Gateau Waffle from The Waffle Co.

Charlotte Cohen

The Wine: Elysium Black Muscat (£10.99)

The Beer: Lindemans Kriek (£1.80)

The verdict: Yes, pairing takeaway food with booze is possible even with dessert. This sour cherry beer was the perfect palate cleanser for the sweet and chewy belgian waffle. Each sip of the crisp beer left our palate refreshed and ready for another bite of waffle. And with the beer priced at only £1.80, think of how many more mind boggling and delicious pairings you could come up with.

However, the wine also provided a luxurious and indulgent experience, as it heightened all of the amazing aspects of the waffle and extended the life of the flavours in our mouths. If you have a giant sweet tooth, we recommend the wine. However, if you’re not one for super sweet and sticky vibes, hit up the beer with your dessert. Either way, the waffle from St. Andrews Waffle Company will be a sure fire hit.

For your next dinner party, why not try pairing takeaway food with booze? Opt for an unexpected beer or wine. Your guests will be pleasantly surprised, and it’s a guaranteed conversation starter. Or, you can just stop by Tailend, head to Luvians and grab yourself a bottle of Langlois Brut Crémant, and call it a night. We won’t judge.