Whether you enjoy Indian food at a buffet or an elegant restaurant, you’ve probably wondered what to sip with it. The dishes tend to be pretty balanced and might not need the acidity or bitterness that wine or beer can offer. That doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t enhance the dining experience.
To prove it, we picked a few typical types of dishes and sought pairings from an esteemed panel of experts: Rich Higgins, a Master Cicerone; Michael Dolinski, sommelier at Junoon in New York City; and Vishvas, bar manager at Rooh in San Francisco.
Beer: Consider a saison, like Saison Dupont, says Higgins. It’s refreshing to cut the fattiness of the meat, but it also offers fruit and spice in its own right.
Beer: Lagers are a good bet, according to Higgins. They’re smooth and bready, with maltiness to cut through richness. A Pilsner or a Munich-style pale helles also works.
Beer: Higgins likes to pair mild, malty porter with many kinds of vegetable dishes, especially when there are warm spices like garam masala in the preparation.
Cocktail: Rooh makes a chai punch with Assam tea and grapefruit shrub that goes well with vegetarian dishes. Vishvas recommends pairing similarly tangy, tannic cocktails at home.
Cocktail: Vishvas opts for something crisp and fresh, with some spice to it. A mango mule, with the tart fruit and spicy ginger beer, for example, would be ideal.
Wine: Dolinski recommends the aromatic, tropical-tinged Grüner Veltliner with leaner proteins, and says fuller-bodied Loire Valley Chenin Blanc is also a safe bet with anything spicy.