Wine and Spirit Recommendations for the King George Christmas Pudding
On a wonderfully sunny Saturday in October, five Cornell Hotel School graduates, led by the head of Beverage at the CHS, Cheryl Stanley, worked through a great tasting of paired drinks with King George. Cheryl took us all over the map, and her notes are below. Hopefully this will help you frame your end-of-festive-meal selection over the holidays. Cheers!
Christmas Pudding needs to be enjoyed with a beverage, so how perfect would it be enjoying the pudding with a nightcap after a wonderful meal. In selecting the potential beverages, body, texture, flavors, aromas, and sweetness levels were considered to find the best match. Below are the top favorites of a panel of educated consumers.
Late Harvest Vidal Blanc from New York or Niagara Peninsula – This style of wine has layers of orchard and stone fruit. There are hints of honey and lots of sweetness on the palate. With the rich intensity of the fruit in the King George Christmas Pudding, the late harvested Vidal blanc complements specifically the citrus fruit flavors in the pudding. The sweetness of the pudding complements the sweetness of the wine. This is a delightful pairing with each other.
Tawny Muscat from Australia – This nutty floral and fruity wine complements the nutty and fruity flavors and aromas of the Christmas Pudding. These two items accompany each other well due to the delicate slightly savory and spicy notes in the wine and the pudding. An aged tawny port from Portugal would be similar in style to this wine and would be a recommended food and wine pairing.
Oloroso Sherry – An oloroso sherry would complement the nuttiness in the Christmas pudding. A medium-dry style would be even better because of the sweetness in the pudding and in the wine. The body of both of the wines equal each other in weight and texture.
Sercial Madeira – The fruitiness accents the fruitiness in the wine. This wine has wonderful acidity and cleanses through the pudding to refresh for each bite. There is a wonderful surprise because the wine is complex in aromatic profile and there are similarities to the citrus notes in the wine.
Maple Liqueur – What is more Canadian than maple liqueur and Christmas pudding? While the sweetness of the liqueur is intense, the intensity of the flavor and body of the pudding in an equal equivalent. In the whipped cream, if some maple liqueur is added, bridging the same flavors between the two items would bring the dish to the next level.
Grape-based Brandy (this could be Cognac, Armagnac, or a domestic grape-based brandy) – The delicate sweet vanilla notes from the brandy are found in the pudding. The citrus in the pudding brings out a pineapple aroma and flavor in the brandy. The body of the brandy is slightly higher than the pudding because of the alcohol content, but since the pudding is rich and if the whipped cream is on top with some brandy added to it, this match would supplement each other.
Allspice Liqueur – This different and complex liqueur is a marriage made in heaven with the spice blend utilized in the King George Christmas Pudding. Wow, as one takes a sip of the liqueur and then takes a bite of the pudding, there are layers and layers of enchanting nutmeg and allspice. The pudding and the liqueur are equal in weight and flavor intensity. Absolutely lovely.
Drambuie – This delectable pairing of scotch, heather honey liqueur, and spices. The sweetness levels are equal to each other and the body is a match to the pudding.