We all love chicken wings, otherwise you wouldn’t be here, right? Typically we drink it with some generic Pilsner type beer at the bar. It’s a fine pairing, but often it’s more about quantity, than quality, in that you’re loading up on alcohol and fat and calling it a night, without really tasting your food.
And there really isn’t anything wrong with that. However, if you want to step out of your comfort zone, and taste some amazing pairings, we recommend the matches below.
Hot Chicken Wings and Riesling
If you enjoy your Chicken Wings with Suicide Sauce, or some other degree of hotness, Riesling is the perfect white wine to wash away the heat. Riesling tends to be lower in alcohol, which causes less burning in the mouth. For hot wings in general, low alcohol is just the way to go.
Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay are also wonderful pairings. But keep an eye on their alcohol level, or else you’ll taste more burning tongue than flavour with spicier wings.
Prosecco and Chicken Wings
Prosecco or sparkling wine is another fine choice with Chicken Wings. The bubbles in wine will strip away the grease, allowing your very last wing to taste as amazing as the first.
For some real fun, try a Sparkling Rosé with buffalo chicken wings. These subtle sweet berry flavours of the wine go amazing with the tart and buttery Buffalo sauce.
Zinfandel and BBQ Wing Sauce
For Red wine, Zinfandel is my number one choice for milder selections of wing sauce. Zinfandel is higher in acidity, which makes it refreshing with greasier foods. It also has enough body to stand up to bolder sauces, such as a thick and heavy buffalo wing sauce.
Baco Noir and Chicken Wings
Baco Noir tends to be a mid-bodied wine that is very fruity. It goes great will foods higher in fat content, as it is a wine that is low in tannin. Thus the less fat that is cooked out of the food, the more the fruitiness of this wine is going to shine through. If you’ve never tried a Baco Noir, we suggest you start with Henry of Pelham Baco Noir.
Beer and Chicken Wings
Beer and chicken wings are a classic combination that everybody is familiar with. The majority of the population drinks it with some variation of a pilsner lager whether it’s Budweiser, Canadian, or Labatt Blue. Personally, we think the best beer to pair with chicken wings is an India Pale Ale.
India Pale Ales are high in carbonation which cuts through the greasiness and spiciness of a chicken wing. They are a little more hoppy then most beers. Hops cause those bitter flavours you often find in beer, hops are also herbal, or sometimes have a spiciness to them that allow them to complement the spice found in a chicken wing.
IPA’s have gone a little extreme in recent years with high alcohol levels or dizzying amounts of hop. These extreme versions do not make great parings with spicy wings as they will not put out the heat in your mouth. Instead they will turn up the pain to 11, so you will not taste any of the subtle flavours of the chicken, beer, or sauce.
Cider and Wings
We also love a nice crisp cider and Chicken wings. Again you don’t want anything too hot, but for a mild or medium wing, a cider imparts a nice apple flavour that just melds well with deep fried chicken and draws out the subtle smokey sweet flavours in the sauce.
Fortunately or Unfortunately, depending on your current waistline, finding the perfect chicken wing and wine or beer pairing is a challenge as every restaurant has their own version of wings. The variety of sauces out there is staggering, and changing at an exponential rate with so many different peppers flooding the market. As such, we’d love to hear about your favourite wing and beverage combo in the comments below!