One of the things I learned in my wine education studies (and, hey, I’m officially WSET-2 certified with distinction now — woot!) was learning the basics of how to pair wine with food.
But, what about pairing wine with mood?
I know for me, often I’ll select a bottle of wine (or another beverage) based on not just what I’m eating, but also how I’m feeling.
Here are a few fun examples …
Sunshine and smiles? Rosè time.Celebratory vibes after work? Give me bubbles.Cold and rainy night in? A big bold red to warm up with.Easy breezy weekend lunch? Mocktail, please.
I eat and work out intuitively and mindfully (asking myself and my body what I really want and need), and I find that a similar approach to choosing wine and other drinks really brings a lot of joy to my life.
And, I’m all about choosing joy when I can!
If you want to add a little beverage joy to your life, too, read on for some of my recent favorite drink and mood pairings!
Mood: Feeling fancy, but it’s a chilly weeknight and you don’t want to leave the house.
Pairing: Los Vascos Cromas Gran Reserve Carménère 2019
Why we dig this pairing: Carmenère is a big, bold grape that just warms your soul. This bottle shows it off beautifully, too. There’s blackberry, plum and black cherry, plus hints of white pepper and herbaceous notes. The tannins are soft and silky, with a lovely acidity to balance it all. Which, is no surprise because Los Vascos wines are made with the same care as Bordeaux Grand Crus and are from Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite). Yeah, fancy — but at about $20 a bottle (disclosure: we’re an affiliate of Vivino), it won’t break the bank.
Mood: When your Truly loving friends come over and you want to introduce them to something new.
Pairing: Owl’s Brew Spiced Chai & Cranberry Boozy Tea
Why we dig this pairing: This fun and festive drink is (in our opinion) not only tastier than your usual hard seltzer, but it’s also made with good stuff like freshly brewed tea blends flavored with real fruit and botanicals. In flavors like Spiced Chai & Cranberry, Darjeeling Tea & Hibiscus Flowers, and White Tea, Raspberry, & Lemon, they’re never boring. We also cheers to Owl’s Brew being gluten-free, vegan, and female-owned!
Mood: You want to give back, but aren’t ready to go to a fancy fundraiser with a large crowd just yet.
Pairing: A bottle from Humanity Wine Co.’s wine club
Why we dig this pairing: We recently were sent a shipment from Humanity Wine Co., and it was not only a great way to donate to a good cause, but it was also a fun way to try some new wines. You can see our full tasting experience and thoughts in our Insta story here, but they sent us four tasty bottles from family-owned wineries and boutique vineyards. And, the best part? The company donates 50 percent of its net revenue back to the philanthropy, so with each enjoyable sip, you are giving back to these amazing causes.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a fun game to play while tasting some of these wines, give SipperParty a try! It requires no previous wine knowledge and allows anyone willing to sip and rate to play via an app, plus the above goodies. Grab some buds and try it!
Mood: When you want a few beers, but don’t want to feel like you just had a few beers.
Pairing: A can (or two) of Bravus.
What’s nice about Bravus is that it’s not a beer alternative — it actually is real beer, just with less than .5 percent ABV. Using a proprietary brewing process, these taste like craft beer, but are vegan, dairy-free, low-cal, low-sugar, and gluten-reduced. Our fave was the IPA!
Mood: You want to sip something really good … but you’re at a tailgate.
Pairing: Clean and cool NEFT
Made with just two ingredients (ancient, non-GMO rye grains farmed in lower Saxony and spring water from the Alps of Austria for those who are curious), NEFT is a premium sipping vodka that you can take anywhere — and it stays cold! Packaged in a portable and unbreakable barrel that closely resembles a small oil drum, it keeps cold for hours.
Mood: You want something fun to sip on, but you’re staying sober.
Pairing: So. Many. Options!
Really good and interesting non-alcholic drinks used to be few and far between, but in the last few years the sober-curious market has cured that! We’ve recently had a number of mixers and drinks hit our office that are interesting, tasty, and totally complex. Which we love!
Curious Elixirs (disclosure: also an affiliate because we like these so much) are booze-free cocktails infused with adaptogens and complex flavors without being too sweet (hooray!). Created by world-class bartenders, herbalists and food scientists with quality ingredients, each blend targets its own goal, ranging from a pick-me-up to relaxation. In fun foodie flavors like Blood Orange Spritz Holy Basil + Gingseng and Juniper Cucumber Collins Lemon +Ashwagandha + Angelica, you won’t feel like you’re missing the party at all.
For wine drinkers, non-alcoholic Oddbird wine is like nothing we’ve had before (and in a good way). With the goal of creating world-class, traditionally crafted wines, these wines are sourced from the finest vineyards in France and Italy and are matured for up to 12 months before having alcohol removed using a unique method that preserves flavors. We found the Oddbird Low Intervention Organic White No. 1 — which is a natural white wine produced from the local grape varieties Vespaiola and Garganega — to be a little sweet with pear, honey crisp apple, honeycomb, and candied lemon, and the Oddbird Low Intervention Organic Red No. 1 — which is a natural red wine of Merlot and Pinot Noir — to have flavors of apple cinnamon, cranberry, and barely ripe blackberry. By far the most interesting NA wines we’ve had thus far!
For those looking for something a little bubbly and sweet, you can’t go wrong with Mingle Mocktails. Crafted from natural ingredients and free from chemical additives, you can get festive flavors like Cranberry Cosmo, Blackberry Hibiscus Bellini, Cucumber Melon Mojito, Moscow Mule and Blood Orange Elderflower Mimosa. Offered in standard 750-ml bottles or 12-ounce cans, there’s a size for every occasion.
Some tasty options, right? Now all we need to know is: what’s YOUR mood? And what will you pair it with? –Jenn