Junky Food and Funky Pairings

Superbowl. World Series. Bachelor(ette) parties. Birthdays. Graduations. Holidays. Bad days. Good days. PMS. Break-ups. Deaths. Weekly rewards. Guilty pleasures. Stubbed toes. Because you just felt like it.

        These are all reasons that we might, as human beings, resort to some food choices that others might frown upon. What can turn these, perhaps ‘ill-conceived’ choices, into great ones? Alcohol. As a lover of all wines, spirits and beers (and a daughter of a Brewmaster), I’m proud to offer up some pairings to indulge in with your favorite snack foods. May they bring pleasure to you in your times of leisure.

White Cheddar Cheez-Its: Sauvignon Blanc or a semi-dry/dry White Wine
    A semi-dry White Wine (preferably from New Zealand) will compliment the tangy flavor of the cheddar cheese powder with subtle citrus notes and will not overpower the satisfaction that comes with this tasty little cracker.

Would also work with Smartfood Popcorn, Pringles (original or similar variety) and any cheese/cracker combo

Funyuns: IPA
    You're on a picnic and those Funyuns are lingering a little. Gulp down a refreshing IPA to give your palate some more zing and pop. The hoppy and nutty flavors often associated with IPA will not only revive you, but give your taste buds an adventure that will only accentuate the boldness that comes with a Funyun. Add more 'fun' while you're 'yun'!

Also pairs with Wise Onion Rings, Pork Rinds, Sour Cream and Onion flavors of any chip varietal

Doritos (Nacho Cheese): Tequila (Reposado or Anejo)
    Whether it be on the rocks or in a shot glass, this would pair well with the cheddar-dusted corn chip. Going with an aged Tequila will get those peppery and complex sweeter profiles (Vanilla, Caramel, etcetera from the aging and fermentation process) to balance out the salt of the chip.Add in some lime and you’ve got a fiesta explosion stimulating those bored buds. 
Doritos (Cool Ranch): Margaritas
    Believe it or not, these are different from the previous snack. Because they are ‘cool’, I’m going with a different, more chill approach and pairing with a margarita, frozen or on the rocks. You can choose which flavor, but let’s stay in the citrus category - you want bold? Let’s try Blood Orange. What a badass.

Coronas would be equally great with Doritos. All pairings would be delightful with the Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell. Live Mas, y'all

Movie Theater Popcorn: Chardonnay
    This is pretty obvious. Chardonnay has a buttery ‘feel n’ flavor’ that would go well with a bucket or bag of them fresh popped kernels. The great thing about chardonnay is that you can get it in those little bottles or boxes that fits nicely into a purse or bookbag, making it ideal to sneak into the theater and have your own little wine n’ dine. 

Tip: Make sure to get that wine chilled and drink ASAP. No one likes warm white wine. Not a wino? Try a spiked Root Beer (Not Your Father's Root Beer or Coney Island) to keep that Movie Theater vibe.

Cheetos: Vodka & Sprite/Lemonade
    You can do a lot with a Cheeto. Beer can be heavy for a heavy snack. Wine might be a little sophisticated for Chester Cat. I’m saying, let’s do something light and fun and easy to drink. Get a little carbonation or sweetness in there to balance out the weight of the cheese and crunch, especially for those spicy ones.

(Tito's Recommended); other pairings: Chex Mix or BBQ flavor varietals

Beef Jerky: Sangiovese or Chianti
    This is a great treat for a summer bonfire or camping trip. This hearty red, generally from Italy, will compliment all the glorious complexities that is generally understated in a Slim Jim. These wines often have spicy or earthy notes that would do a body good when mixed with this favorite.

Most reds will go great with any type of red meat product, but telling people you're drinking Sangiovese from Italy with your beef jerky sure gives you some Fancy points, no? If it's Turkey Jerky, you could do a white or a red, but if you want to stay fancy with your white wine grapes, try Pinot Grigio, Vinho Verde, or Chenin Blanc.

Totino’s Pizza Rolls:
    Oh man, these might be my favorite. We gotta go classic with this. I would say something simple, light and oh, so refreshing like a Cream Ale or a Pale Ale, or a Lager - all of which have some zing and bite without being overwhelming. This would a hipster combo FOR SURE. For ultimate hipster status, grab yourself a brew that is cheap and accessible, but not common, for instance - this picture of Genessee Cream Ale from my hometown of Rochester, NY.

Sub-in Bagel Bites, Tater Tots, Potato Skins, Mozzarella Sticks or any type of Pub Grub you can think of.


Oreo’s: Milk Stout
    This is definitely a dessert you could get into. Stouts are a heartier beer, often with a higher ABV, which makes a perfect night cap to go with a nice, sugary morsel. Stouts can often come with Chocolate or Coffee notes - they are heavy, smooth and absolutely comforting. I dare you to dip that Oreo. I double dare you to dip that double-stuffed Oreo.


Stouts are so great - you could pair them with any dessert or have them as a dessert all by themselves. Porters are great, strong brews that are generally sweet in flavor and rich in density. These are pretty trendy in micro-breweries at the moment, so go try Vanilla Chai and Pumpkin varieties for something spicy and delectable! TIP: Blend it in a milkshake!

Donut Holes: Hard Cider
    Having breakfast for dessert? Get yo’self a glass of AJ! They pair nicely with a doughy center and a sugar-coated finish. For optimal pairing, use cinnamon sugar and a ginger infused cider. Great for all seasons, but especially the FALL!

Great for Brunch too!

Lil’ Debbies or Hostess cakes: Riesling, Gewurztraminer or Moscatos
    These sweeter grapes can go with anything cakey, but since we are dishin’ on junk food, let’s give those cakes a name: nutter butters, oatmeal cream pies, swiss rolls, twinkies, snowballs, etc. Pour a glass and have dessert in the most basic way possible, wine that’s too sweet, with cheap ingredients and a high fructose corn syrup.

Can also be paired with sparkling wines or proseccos for a more debonair affair. Rieslings and Gewurztraminers can be excellent, often from Germany. However, Moscato is practically grape juice and I will judge you if you purchase and/or consume that in my presence.                 You've been warned.