Nothing says St Patrick’s Day celebrations better than corned beef and cabbage. It is also enjoyed in a Reuben sandwich.
Because they cured corned beef using a heavily salted brine and can be quite fatty when cooked, it is sometimes difficult to pair it with drinks.
Which may cause you to think, what can I drink with corned beef?
Acidic red wines are the best option to cut through the meat’s salty and fatty goodness. It rewards you with the wine’s fruit flavors becoming more pronounced. Beers and ales are also good options. For the slightly more daring, a Brut Rosé sparkling wine works well too.
We’re going to look at some red and white wine options, beer and stouts, and non-alcoholic options leaving nobody out.
What To Drink With Corned Beef
Whether you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or just a special dinner, corned beef is an essential dish for many feasts.
Paired with the right beverage, it can make the meal even more delicious and memorable.
Our first stop is Beaujolais. It is a small area just south of Burgundy where they produce the wine from Gamay Noir grapes.
Flavors you can expect to taste are fruity: raspberry, tart cherry, and cranberry.
The saltiness of the corned beef especially enhanced these. Its high acidity also cuts through the fattiness of the meat—a true win-win combination.
Grenache grapes grow where other varieties battle to cope—it thrives in hot, dry conditions. Again, the fruitiness complements corned beef and vice versa.
Flavors you can expect in a grenache wine include red fruits and black cherries.
We know it as Garnacha in Spain, where it is most notably grown in the north and east. Sardinia also has a proud tradition of making wine from these grapes, where it is known as cannonau.
Pinot noir is a dry red wine with a light or medium body, and bright acidity.
It has a complex taste profile which includes cherries, mushrooms, and raspberries. When producers age it in French oak barrels, hints of vanilla and baking spices can also be detected.
It pairs well with corned beef and cabbage—traditional fare on St Patrick’s Day.
We praise Chianti for its medium body and high tannins and acidity—which cut through the corned beef’s saltiness and fats.
In turn, it rewards you with tastes of red currant, raspberry, plum, and sometimes even sun-dried tomato. Chianti develops an earthy note reminiscent of a clay pot or dried flowers when it is aged.
They named it after the region in Tuscany where it is produced rather than the grapes (Sangiovese being the main grape variety).
Usually, one would not pair red meat with white wine, but corned beef is an exception because it needs to be balanced.
Alsatian Pinot Blanc
Alsatian Pinot Blanc, or Pinot Blanc d’Alsace, has notes of apple, pear, almonds, and even crushed gravel. Because of its medium acidity and dryness, it can have a slightly tart taste. The corned beef saltiness, which brings out the fruitiness of the wine, however, countered this.
Another dry white wine is Riesling. Again, we have a wine with high acidity. Primary tastes, exalted by the corned beef, include nectarine, apricot, apple, and pear. Remember to opt for dry Riesling.
Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine
The Roederer Estate Multivintage Brut Rosé was recommended to me by a friend, and I am pleasantly surprised!
The combination of 60% Pinot Noir with 40% Chardonnay results in a taste palate of tart red fruits and a clove-spiciness associated with Pinot Noir.
Acidity comes from the Chardonnay. It’s a delight to look at bubbles, and they enhance the beef.
Beer and Stout
Beer might seem an odd choice at first, but don’t dismiss it outright. An ice-cold beer provides a light and refreshing taste, which pairs well with corned beef and cabbage. You could also consider a stout.
They make Irish dry stout from unmalted roasted barley, which gives it a lovely dark color. A roasted corned beef pairs well with a dry Irish stout—both undergo the Maillard reaction—the beef is browned in an oven and the barley at the brewery.
Oatmeal stout has a nutty, earthlike taste. It can sometimes also have fruitlike tastes and hints of creamed coffee, which of course, the salt would enhance.
We can trace hard cider back to ancient times when people fermented apples (and other fruits) for their own consumption.
The beef’s saltiness enhances the balance between sweet and sour in a hard cider.
If you feel like taking an adventurous leap, go for an unfiltered hard cider. All the goodness is still present because it hasn’t gone through filtration.
Ireland has a strong and proud tradition of distilling whiskey. So why not pour a glass of history and heritage and enjoy this traditional Irish fare?
There are quite a few types to choose from, but most Irish whiskeys are triple distilled, making them smoother.
Corned beef’s saltiness will also help unlock and enhance your whiskey’s more subtle flavors.
Just like the acidity found in Riesling wine, lemonade is the perfect balance of sweet and sour to serve alongside corned beef.
It is also a safe choice for children or those who prefer not to drink alcohol because of personal reasons. :)
Sometimes, plain water is just as good or perhaps even better than alcoholic beverages. Water will help you rehydrate after a salt-laden meal as well.
If you have no budget for drinks, water is a splendid choice. It is also readily available the world over.
Sparkling mineral water is a good choice if you are looking for something a bit more budget-friendly, and the bubbles play nicely with the beef.
Corned beef is a salty, fatty dish that pairs with various wine options. Usually, wines with a high acidity level are difficult to pair with foods, but corned beef works wonders to open up the unique aromas and flavors in these wines.
Don’t dismiss sparkling Rosè because the bubbles create a wonderful complement to the corned beef’s saltiness. For a more traditional choice, you can crack open a cold beer or serve a stout. Hard cider is also a good choice.
If you are on a strict budget or prefer to steer clear of alcohol, lemonade and sparkling water are great options too.