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What to drink with Indian food?

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From curry to chicken tikka masala, pairing food with Indian food may be tricky, but not quite as difficult or complex as the trick decision.

As a result, Indian dishes are best served with a light, refreshing, and not too strong drink. It allows the person eating to enjoy the bold and rich food to its fullest. 

What to drink with Indian food? Traditionally, Indian cuisine is served with mango, sweet, or salty lassi or lime soda. The drinks are refreshing and add sweetness to spicy and salty foods. 

Other than non-alcohol drinks, it is common to pair meals with wine and beer when it comes to fine dining. 

Lighter beer such as lagers and blonde ales pairs best with lighter food, and Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc work well for wine.

Base the decision on the main meat, ingredients, and spice level to reflect the best drink options to enjoy the flavor to the maximum.

From tea to wine, there are a wide range of beverages to drink with Indian food. 

What are the standard drink pairings and which one works best for specific Indian dishes? This article will dive into the best drinks to pair with Indian cuisine and why, so stick around for more insight.

What non-alcoholic drinks goes with Indian food?

Whether you are serving curry or stew with naan, non-alcoholic beverages are simple and easy to pair with Indian food. When serving yellow curry, go with amber ale for rich, creamy and sweet flavored drinks.

Here are non-alcoholic beverages that goes with Indian food:

  • chaas
  • coconut juice
  • elaneer piyasam
  • jal jeera
  • lassi: mango, sweet, salty
  • noon chai
  • thandai
  • assam tea
  • chai masala
  • darjeeling
  • mango soda
  • kombucha

What red wine goes with Indian food?

Depending on the ingredients, a dry red wine is an excellent accompaniment to Indian food as it pairs well with the spices and herbs used in many dishes. However, it is often difficult to complement when it comes to wines with a fruity nose and finish. 

For a wine to work well with the spices in most Indian dishes, it is best to choose a wine without fruity tones.

Indian spices shine through due to the lack of sweetness in red wine, and oak and vanilla notes will definitely hit the spot. Some wine examples include a Shiraz, Cabernet-Merlot blend, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. 

When choosing wine for Indian food, make sure to look for one that is not too sweet.

  • Meat curries: Pinot Noir, Shiraz
  • Chicken, seafood, vegetable curries: Pinot Grigio, Gewürztraminer
  • Palak paneer: Tempranillo, Zinfandel
  • Boti meats: Syrah, Côtes du Rhône
  • Samosas, Makhana, Butter chicken: Prosecco
  • Chaats, tomato-cream sauce tikka masala, makhana: rosé

What white wine goes with Indian food?

Chardonnays and Rieslings are good choices because they hold up well when paired with Indian food. These wines tend to be fresh and light in body, making them appropriate to balance with the bold flavored food. 

Do not choose a wine with too much sugar that would overpower the flavors in the dish.

White wines are more acidic than red wines, which helps balance out the spices used in most Indian dishes. Chardonnay is especially good with Indian food because it is light and creamy.

  • Saag paneer: Albariño
  • Lamb curry: dry Riesling, Grüner Veltliner
  • Seafood Jhinga with yogurt curries: Riesling
  • Sambar or Rasam: Chardonnay
  • Coconut flavored curries with vegetable kurma: sparkling wine
  • Lentils, chole (garbanzo beans in tomato gravy): Silvaner, German wine
  • Mutton biryani: Sauvignon Blanc

Beer with Indian food

When it comes to Indian food, National Bohemian and Heineken are great choices as they are both very light, refreshing, and not too strong. 

According to many, Heineken is the preferred beer for any Indian who likes to have a few drinks because it goes down easy. Many people also want to use a dark beer such as Guinness, but this is a matter of personal taste.

If the beer is too bitter and tastes like black licorice, it probably will not pair with Indian food very well. These beers have a hoppy finish, so they will not compliment Indian spice.

Depending on the dish and spice level, the beer selection may vary:

  • Vindaloo with lamb or chicken: brown ale, Hefeweizens, porters
  • Chickpea curry: brown ales, porters
  • Chicken curry: wheat beer, brown ales
  • Biryani: hoppy lagers, Indian Pale Ales
  • Coconut curry: light lagers, blonde ales, amber ales
  • Chicken tikka masala: India Pale Ales, Amber Ales, Stouts

What cocktails go well with Indian food?

Wine and beer are the popular alcohol beverage to pair with Indian cuisine. However, classic cocktails like an old-fashioned martini, smash, or inside out are all great choices when paired with Indian food. 

For a cocktail to work well with Indian dishes, stick to something without to much bite from the alcohol. 

Some drink ideas include sweet vermouth and gin or bourbon sour. Make sure the cocktail ingredients complement the spice in the dish as well!

  • jal jeera mojito
  • cardamom cocktail
  • tamarind martini
  • nimbupani julep
  • Indian hot toddy

Drink Pairing with Indian Food

Consider drinks with sweet vermouth, Chardonnay, dry Chilean red wine, Heineken, and gin or bourbon sour. 

The idea for the drink pairing is to pick something that is not too strong to overpower the spices in the food. When choosing a drink, look for one that complements the flavors in the dish without being too sweet.

Ultimately, the spice level and basic ingredients will help to select the best drink pairing with Indian food:

  • Beers: light lagers, blonde ales, hoppy lagers, India pale ale, wheat beers, amber, brown ales, porters, stouts
  • Wine: Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet
  • Cocktails: Jal jeera mojito, cardamom cocktail, tamarind martini, Nimbupani julet, Indian hot toddy
  • Non-alcohol beverage: coconut juice, lassi, mango soda, kombucha
  • Tea: Noon chai, Assam tea, Chai masala, Darjeeling
What to drink with Indian food

Drinks with Indian Cuisine: Conclusion

Beer and wines are common choices for drinks pairing with Indian food. But, there are some unique cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks that complement the flavors in Indian cuisine. 

The main idea is to think of how the drink’s taste will compliment the flavors in the dish. 

In general, Indian cuisine served with a cup of sweet mango lassi or refreshing lime soda will help blend the spicy and salty levels of a dish.

For beer pairing, go with lighter lager and blonde ales for starter instead of complex craft beers to prevent from overpowering flavor.

And for wine, based on the meat or seafood and sauce type, selection of red or white wine may vary. In general, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon blanc pair quite well with every dish.

For non-alcohol drinker, consider delicious coconut juice or mango soda. A more adventurous foodie may want to try jam jeera, chai, or kombucha to pair with your favorite Indian foods.

The right drink pairings will take the food to the next level, and same is try with beverages and Indian cuisine.

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