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Aspen Food & Wine Classic 2024

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Soju & Food: An Introduction To Perfect Pairings

Soju & Food: An Introduction To Perfect Pairings

Few things complement a dish or meal better than the right beverage.

A good pairing elevates both the food and the spirit and results in tastes and an experience that neither could deliver on their own.

With the spirit of elevation in mind, we are very excited to share our introduction to pairing soju and food.

Planning Your Pairing

The First step in any excellent pairing is always planning the menu. And here you find your first decision – Do you plan the drinks around the food or the food around the drinks? There’s no right or wrong answer. It is truly about the experience you want to create and the creations you want to share with your family and friends. A cocktail party would likely call for snacks and appetizers designed to pair perfectly with your signature drinks. Whereas a seated dinner would likely mean beverages pairings built around the meal.

In either case, there are two main methods to use when planning your pairing – contrasting or mirroring.

If you were to go the contrasting route, you would pick drinks with characteristics that contrast the flavors in your food. While too much contrast can result in one element or one ingredient overpowering the full experience, the right contrast brings out the best things in both.

Mirroring, on the other hand, involves pairing food and drinks that complement the similar characteristics in each. These types of pairings are really about finding continuity between the food and drinks.

You can, of course, combine the concepts of contrasting and mirroring as you are planning your pairings.

Pairing Basics

When developing a pairing menu, Yobo and Yobo Soju Luxe can both be enjoyed neat or in a cocktail. And both Yobo and Yobo Soju Luxe are soju easier to pair than other straight spirits, Their flavor profiles, and lower ABV means that sensations or “heat” or alcohol burn do not overpower the food or the experience.

It is actually even easier to pair Yobo cocktails with food because there are more elements in a cocktail that can be used to contrast or mirror. Whether you’re picking foods that will help your cocktail creations shine or building drinks from the ground up to match your menu, you have a range of flavor profiles at your disposal – sweet, spicy, sour, bitter, etc. 

Here are the key elements you could consider when planning a pairing:

Acidity: The tartness or sourness of your drink should definitely be considered when pairing. Acidity is an excellent contrast to rich food. If you’re pairing with cocktails, citrus juice is a great option to bring acidity.

Carbonation: Much like acidity, carbonation is an element that provides a great contrast to rich and spicy foods by helping cut through the fat and cleanses the palate.  

Tannins and Bitterness: While tannins are usually only associated with wine, they do exist outside of wines in many things, including strawberries, lemons, limes, cherries, and tea. Tannins pair wonderfully fats.  

Sweetness: Slightly sweeter food often does quite well with a sweeter beverage companion, as sweeter food can make dryer beverages feel thin. Sweeter beverages also work well with spicy dishes, because they can enhance spicy aromatics and salt and balance some of the heat.

Cocktail Pairing Inspiration

As your cocktail pairing adventure, we wanted to share a few of our current favorite pairings, but the possibilities are truly endless.

Yobo On Ice 

Yobo (Neat or Chilled)

  • Korean Barbecue
  • Grilled clams with butter and lemon
  • Fried chicken
  • Dried or fresh fruit

Yobo Rita

  • Ceviche
  • Gumbo
  • Pad Thai
  • Carnitas
  • Enchiladas
Yobo Rita
Yobo Groni

Yobo Groni

  • Pizza
  • Prosciutto wrapped asparagus
  • Crispy chickpeas & marinated olives
  • Bacon wrapped dates

Watermelon Martini

  • Caramelized onion and goat cheese tart
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Pulled pork sliders
  • Grilled seafood
Yobo Watermelon Martini

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