7 Merry Ways to Pair Christmas Cookies With Wine
Because milk and cookies are so last season.
We’ve got our priorities straight: At this time of year, two of our chief food-centric focuses are on: 1) Christmas cookies and 2) wine. Why not enjoy them together?
According to Alex Bruno, certified sommelier with Tri-Vin Imports in New York, you’ll want your wine to have enough body and structure to match your cookie. If it’s a simple cookie, go for an equally uncomplicated wine with enough acidity to balance the sugar in the cookie. Another rule of thumb is to pair sweeter wines with sweeter cookies. Typically, a wine that is as sweet or slightly sweeter than its food counterpart, with complementary flavors (citrus, spice, chocolate, berries, and so on), will create a great pairing.
So go find your favorite cookie recipe, cue up a Christmas movie on Netflix, and we'll take care of the rest. Here are Bruno’s seven top recommendations for pairing vino with gingerbread, jam thumbprints, snickerdoodles, and everything else your tartan tin contains.
Almonds have been used by many cultures in cookie making. Because there are tannins in the skins of the nut, it’s best to pair it with something soft and fruit forward to balance the flavors. An Italian Pinot Grigio has notes of stone fruits and many times almond flower, with softer citrus than a Sauvignon Blanc, makes for a great pairing for almond cookies.
Italian butter cookies pair brilliantly with their Italian counterpart, Prosecco. The crisp flavors in the wine cuts through the richness of the cookie, while creamy flavors of citrus and apple complement.
The trick to pairing chocolate with wine is to keep it simple. Chocolate chip cookies tend to be made with semi-sweet chocolate, so try a less intense red, like a Pinot Noir. The complementary flavors of dark berries and spice already present in the wine will pair well with chocolate desserts.
A semi-dry Riesling makes for a great pairing with spicy, sweet cookies like gingerbread. Ginger and molasses flavors tend to taste the best when paired with a higher acid wine with some residual sugar, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in Riesling wines. Alternatively, a seasonal red such as Beaujolais Nouveau with vibrant red fruits, like strawberries and currants, on the palate, would also pair very nicely with the spice notes of Gingerbread.
Pair this sweet, rich chocolate cookie with wine that is equally sweet, but not overpoweringly complex. A red varietal, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, is an excellent choice for pairing with chocolate desserts, and can be enjoyed at room temperature or slightly chilled.
We can’t possibly talk about cookies without mentioning everyone’s favorite, the Snickerdoodle. Pair this cinnamon spiced cookie with a complementary flavor like orange and lemon cream, found in a Spanish Moscato. The bubbles will make the cookie seem less sweet (and also fill your palate with joy).
Jam thumbprints or Linzer cookies get most of their flavor from the fruity jam center. A dessert wine with some bubbles will pair best, especially if the flavors mimic what’s found in the jam. A Moscato Rosé from Spain will showcase flavors of strawberries, orange blossoms, along with a bit of creaminess, all of which will complement the cookie.