Mexican food is beloved for its robust flavors, spicy salsas, warm tortillas, and variety of fillings. When eating Mexican food, it’s important to pair it with the right beverages and sides to enhance the flavors. Here are some quick answers to common questions about what to drink and eat with Mexican dishes:
What should you drink with Mexican food?
Some quick drink options that pair well with Mexican food include:
- Margaritas – The classic margarita with lime juice, orange liqueur, and tequila complements Mexican food perfectly.
- Mexican beer – Brands like Corona, Modelo, Pacifico, or Dos Equis are refreshing with Mexican dishes.
- Agua fresca – Sweetened fruit waters like horchata, tamarind, or jamaica balance spicy flavors.
- Jarritos – These fruit-flavored Mexican sodas are a fun pairing for more casual meals.
What sides go well with Mexican food?
Some quintessential sides that complement Mexican entrees include:
- Rice – Spanish rice or cilantro-lime rice add bulk and soak up flavors.
- Beans – Black or pinto beans are traditional and protein-packed.
- Guacamole – Cool, creamy avocado dip offsets spicy mains.
- Pico de gallo – This fresh tomato salsa adds a tasty vegetable component.
- Corn tortillas – Soft tortillas can be used to make tacos or scoop up fillings.
Should you avoid any drinks with Mexican food?
It’s best to avoid some beverage choices that don’t pair well with Mexican cuisine:
- Soda – Stick to Mexican brands like Jarritos instead of cola or lemon-lime sodas.
- Sweet white wine – Dryer whites like Sauvignon Blanc are a better choice.
- IPA beer – Hoppy IPAs clash with Mexican flavors, so opt for lagers instead.
- Sweet cocktails – Skip sugary blended drinks in favor of tangy margaritas.
What are good vegetarian options with Mexican food?
Delicious meatless options to enjoy with Mexican food include:
- Bean dishes – Black bean burritos, chili, or tacos.
- Egg dishes – Huevos rancheros or chilaquiles.
- Cheese dishes – Quesadillas, queso fundido, or escalarada.
- Vegetable dishes – Grilled mushrooms, sauteed peppers and onions, squash.
- Guacamole and chips – A filling vegetarian appetizer.
What should you avoid pairing with Mexican food?
Certain items don’t match Mexican cuisine very well. It’s best to avoid:
- Creamy sauces – Mexican food works better with tomato-based sauces.
- Salad greens – Skip delicate lettuces in favor of hearty greens.
- Citrus flavors – Lime has a place but avoid orange, grapefruit, lemon.
- Green apples – Their tartness is jarring; use tropical fruits instead.
- Brown rice – Doesn’t absorb flavors as well as white rice varieties.
What Mexican dishes go well together in a meal?
Some complementary dishes to enjoy in a complete Mexican meal include:
- Taco bar – Serve an assortment of meat, seafood, and veggie tacos with all the fixings.
- Enchiladas, rice, beans – A Mexican dinner classic combination.
- Carnitas, elotes, guacamole – Well-matched lighter fare.
- Tostadas, tortilla soup – For a nice crunchy and soft textural contrast.
- Chimichangas, ceviche – Fried and fresh seafood make a nice pairing.
What drinks complement different Mexican entrees?
Recommended drink matches for popular Mexican main dishes:
- Tacos – Mexican lager beer or hibiscus agua fresca.
- Enchiladas – Margarita or sangria.
- Burritos – Pale Mexican lager or lighter red wine.
- Fajitas – Bold Mexican red wine or mojito.
- Quesadillas – Fruity Mexican soda or tequila cocktail.
Pairing beverages, sides, and other dishes with Mexican food can really maximize the flavor experience. Sticking to drinks like margaritas, Mexican beer, and agua fresca is your best bet. Sides like rice, beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo complement Mexican entrees perfectly. Avoid mismatching citrus or creamy flavors. Finally, build a complete Mexican meal with dishes that blend together nicely, like tacos, enchiladas with rice and beans, or carnitas with elotes and guacamole. With the right pairings, you can make your Mexican dining experience even more outstanding.
|Recommended Drink Pairings
|Suggested Side Dishes
|Mexican lager, hibiscus agua fresca
|Rice, beans, guacamole
|Rice, beans, salad
|Mexican lager, red wine
|Rice, pico de gallo
|Mexican soda, tequila cocktail
|Mexican lager, IPA beer
|Cornbread, chopped onions
This table provides suggestions for beverages and sides that pair well with popular Mexican dishes like tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, and chili. The recommended drink options range from margaritas to Mexican beer to agua fresca. On the side dish front, rice, beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, and cornbread make good matches. Use the table for inspiration when planning a Mexican meal and considering what to accompany each entree.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pairings for Mexican Food
What wine is best with Mexican food?
Mexican food calls for wines that can handle the robust flavors. Good options include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio for whites and Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Sangiovese for reds. Avoid sweet whites and go for dry to off-dry options.
What beer goes best with Mexican cuisine?
Mexican lagers like Corona, Modelo, or Pacifico are classic choices that pair very well with dishes like tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas. IPAs and pale ales can work too thanks to their crispness. Stay away from very hoppy IPAs.
Should you drink margaritas with spicy Mexican food?
Yes, margaritas make an excellent pairing for spicy Mexican dishes. The sweet and tart lime juice helps counterbalance heat. Just go easy on sugary margarita mixes, and instead use fresh lime juice and an orange liqueur like Cointreau.
What non-alcoholic drinks pair well with Mexican food?
Great non-alcoholic options include horchata, jamaica, tamarind or hibiscus agua fresca, Mexican cola like Jarritos, and tea or coffee. The agua frescas provide sweetness while the Mexican sodas and hot drinks cleanse the palate.
Should you avoid any foods with Mexican dishes?
It’s best to avoid creamy or citrusy foods that clash with traditional Mexican flavors. Skip salads with creamy dressing or orange slices. Also avoid pairing distinctly American sides like fries or coleslaw that don’t mesh with Mexican cuisine.
Tips for Planning a Mexican-Themed Menu
Put together a stellar Mexican-inspired menu for your next fiesta using these helpful tips:
- Include an array of textures – Crispy tacos, smooth guacamole, crunchy chips.
- Vary the flavors – Incorporate mild, spicy, savory, and fresh options.
- Blend colors and presentations – Think tacos, enchiladas, salads, and bowls.
- Feature classic ingredients – Like peppers, beans, corn, avocado, cilantro, lime.
- Offer light and hearty dishes – For example, seafood ceviche along with enchiladas.
- Match with traditional sides – Think Spanish rice, refried beans, tortillas.
- Provide agua fresca, margaritas, and Mexican beer.
- Incorporate vegan and vegetarian choices.
- Serve family-style for a festive communal feel.
By following these tips, you can design a diverse Mexican-inspired menu with delicious food and drink pairings that will please all your guests. The variety of flavors, textures, colors, and dishes will keep the fiesta atmosphere going all night!
5 Festive Mexican-Themed Cocktails
These fun twists on classic Mexican cocktails will liven up your next fiesta:
Red grapefruit Jarritos, tequila, lime, sparkling water
Prickly Pear Margarita
Tequila, prickly pear puree, lime, agave nectar
Horchata Rum Punch
Spiced rum, horchata, cinnamon, vanilla
Tequila, ginger beer, lime, Angostura bitters
Mexican lager, lime juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce, rimmed with chili-salt
Amp up your standard margaritas and mojitos by integrating Mexican sodas, agave nectar, chili-salt rims, and native fruits like prickly pear. Your guests will love the fun new flavors!
Perfect Wine and Cheese Pairings for a Mexican Fiesta
Take your Mexican fiesta to the next level with these gourmet wine and cheese pairings:
- Queso fresco with Sauvignon Blanc – The wine cuts through the mild cheese.
- Cheddar with Tempranillo – The smooth red complements the nutty cheddar.
- Goat cheese with Pinot Grigio – The bright, acidic wine balances the creamy cheese.
- Pepper jack with Zinfandel – The robust fruity wine matches the spicy kick.
- Cotija with Riesling – The sweetness contrasts the salty parmesan-like cheese.
Serve an assortment of Mexican cheeses like queso fresco, cheddar, goat, and cotija. Pair with light, acidic whites and fruity but dry reds. The combinations highlight the best qualities in both the wine and cheese.
10 Tasty Mexican Appetizers for a Crowd
These crowd-pleasing Mexican starters are sure to get your fiesta going:
- Chips and guacamole
- Queso fundido with chorizo
- Jalapeño poppers
- Mexican street corn cups
- Chicken flautas with avocado crema
- Shrimp ceviche tostadas
- Mini crisp beef tacos
- Watermelon feta jalapeño bites
- Yucatan chicken skewers
- Mexican veggie summer rolls
Set out an array of dips like guacamole and queso along with ready-to-eat bites like flautas and ceviche tostadas. The variety of flavors and textures will excite guests’ palates before the main meal.
5 Creative Mexican Desserts
Finish your fiesta on a sweet note with these fun Mexican desserts:
Dulce de Leche Churro Bites
Cinnamon-sugar filled churro nuggets with dulce de leche dipping sauce
Mexican Hot Chocolate Pots de Creme
Rich chocolate custards spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and chili powder
Tres Leches Cake Jars
Layers of moist tres leches cake and whipped cream in mason jars
Avocado Lime Sorbet
Cool, creamy avocado-based sorbet swirled with lime
Churros Sundae Bar
Build your own sundaes with churros, cajeta, whipped cream, and salsa
From fruity sorbets to spiced chocolate desserts, these creative options will leave your guests feeling satisfecho.