Spirited Advice
By Alison Peacock

On a recent trip to Seattle, Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff paired cocktails with each part of a diverse five-course meal at Sazarac. His secret? He considers spices and textures of the food, including the fruits, and the effects within each glass.

Why not pair a burger with a Rum and Coke, for instance, or temper curry dishes with gin and lime, or vodka and lemon? Clean, crisp and pure drinks are a foil for curry's subtle heat, he says. For fare with Spanish flair, DeGroff recommends dark rums for lime-baked fish, pink shrimp, or fried grouper. He believes whiskey spirits are the answer when it comes to Chinese food or barbecue.

"The flavors in Chinese cuisine are so big, they need the richness of malt scotch, the oak, toffee and cedar notes of he big Cognacs, or the leather, honey, apple, and orange notes of American whiskey."

Just in case you're wondering if you could handle that much liquor in a meal, consider this: 12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine and 1.5 oz of 80 proof liquor all contain the same amount of alcohol. So pair up and party on- responsibly, of course.

For more information on mixed drinks, chech out www.Kingcocktail.com. DeGroff answers your questions, makes suggestions, and offers an instructional mixology video.