Finding the perfect drink for your dessert course can be a little tricky. Dessert tends to be full of rich flavors that steal the show. Your wine, beer or cocktail should take a back seat – without completely disappearing. Complementary flavors are a must, but we encourage experimenting with dessert and drink pairings to find a unique combination for your next event.

These classic combinations can be dressed up with creative twists for the perfect pairing!

Wine and Chocolate

You can’t go wrong here! There are entire tours revolving around wine and chocolate pairings. Almost any type of meal can be finished with a piece of chocolate and glass of wine, and there are options for every type of guest. Consider a dessert’s “acidity (an acidic wine may pair best with a fruit dish, which also has natural acidity), intensity (the more intense the flavors of a dessert, the more intense the wine), and sweetness (a dessert wine should be sweeter than the dessert itself).”

As chocolate gets darker, your wine can shift from white to red. With white chocolate, try sweet whites, such as a late-harvest Riesling or Moscato. Milk chocolate calls for pinot noir or merlot. A dark chocolate dessert calls for port or sherry (many of which go well with caramel chocolate as well).

Champagne and Fruit

A light, fruity dessert is a lovely way to end a filling meal. Try pairing desserts like lemon bars, stone fruit pies, berries and cream or fruity macaroons with flutes of champagne. You could also drop fruity gelato into champagne for fancy floats. This would be perfect for a springtime bridal shower or late summer backyard gathering!

Beer and Brownies

Beer is not traditionally a dessert-worthy drink pairing, but creative craft beers have changed this. Rich brownies go well with coffee or caramel porters, or a creamy milk stout. You could also opt for a dark beer with a hint of smoke or heat to complement fudgy chocolate brownies.

Pairing Cocktails with Dessert

Wine and champagne are the traditional choice when looking for a drink to pair with dessert. However, craft cocktails, with a myriad of complex flavors, can be designed to perfectly match a dessert course. Try Irish coffee and donuts for a relaxed evening affair or brunch event. You could also create an espresso-based cocktail, such as a martini, to enjoy with chocolate cake.