How to Pair Your Favorite Halloween Candy with Wine
You could eat your Halloween haul on its own, but pairing it with wine makes for an even better night.
Trick-or-treating might be for kids, but it doesn't mean adults can't grab some candy and indulge in some fun, too. And what might make for a good time? Some booze, which happens to pair nicely with a variety of Halloween candies.
Most people just think in terms of white or red, but specific varietals, grapes, and blends (even bottles!) might make for the perfect pairing with, for example, a bite of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup or a Twizzler.
But if you're not sure whether rosé could ever go with gummy bears or if you'd better steer clear of matching merlot with M&M's, it's best to go to the experts for help. Here's what Adam Sweders, the Wine Director for DineAmic Hospitality in Chicago, has to offer for wine and candy pairings this year.
Snickers and Tawny Port
This pairing is a match made in heaven for Halloween wine drinkers. "Regardless of the brand of Tawny Port, these wines feature flavors like nuts and caramel, " he says, which are found in your favorite Snickers bar. (And in a Twix, too, if you need a swap.) "Add a small dose of residual sugar (sweetness) and it's basically drinking a Snickers bar minus chocolate plus alcohol," he says.
Skittles and Rosé
What better way to taste the rainbow than by pairing it with wine that reminds us of rainbows? (And maybe unicorns.) "My favorite rosés come from the south of France and feature flavors of citrus, cherries, and strawberries," he says. And those are the types of flavors you're getting in those little pops of color. "I'm pretty sure [they] just hit every original flavor of the Skittle except grape," he says. And wait! Wine is made from grapes, so there you go.
Candy Corn and Sauternes
"I personally believe candy corn is the most under-rated Halloween candy there is. It's like potato chips for sugar junkies. However, it doesn't have a particularly 'rich' taste, so a lighter style, sugary wine is where to head," he says. Check out the region of Sauternes, where they have great bottles that aren't too sugary. "The best expressions are not overly sweet and have a ton of acid, which will make you pop those candy corns as if they were popcorn," Sweders says.
Junior Mints and Shiraz
Chocolate and mint were made for Australian Shiraz. "When coming from certain areas in Australia, Shiraz gives a natural hint to the mint or eucalyptus flavor," he says. "The Junior Mints will help bring this aroma and flavor out, and the chocolate will work harmoniously with the dark fruit flavors," he explains.
Jolly Ranchers and Champagne
Jolly Ranchers are bright and fun, and so is some bubbly! "Champagne usually pairs well with just about anything, and the tart tree fruit that it usually possesses along with hints of citrus and tropical notes have the Jolly Rancher spectrum covered," he explains. Both will make your mouth water, leaving you wanting more. And more you can have, as it's Halloween!
Twizzlers and Gamay
"Twizzlers is one of those oddly boring but still satisfying candies Halloween has to offer. And guess what? The wine world has this, too," he says. Every November, around Thanksgiving, the South of Burgundy, France releases their famous Beaujolais Nouveau, which is the perfect pairing for those red straws. "Chalked full of fruit flavors that almost taste artificial at times, this wine is surprisingly still fun to drink," he explains.
Hershey's Chocolate and California Cabernet
Who doesn't love the ageless nature of a Hershey's chocolate bar? "Simple, to the point, releasing only the best endorphins in the brain, just like a well-oaked California Cabernet," says Sweders. Some styles of these wines could be argued to be dessert in a glass, so it's the perfect complement to silky, sweet milk chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Candy Bar and Vintage Port
For those who prefer the dark chocolate life, you're not going to want to miss pairing it with Vintage Port, which is great for deep, rich cocoa. "The opposite style of Tawny, these wines feature dark red fruits and cocoa or mocha flavors that will absolutely rock with dark chocolate," he says. They also feature residual sugar (sweetness), and this will satisfy your sweet tooth. Think dark chocolate Kit Kat, dark chocolate Hershey's, and more.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Lambrusco
Hands down the best Halloween candy out there, Reese's definitely need a killer wine pairing. "This is like adding jelly to your peanut butter cup," he says. Who wouldn't want a PB&J wrapped in chocolate? Yummy! "Lambrusco is a very unique, sparkling red wine that has residual sugar in it. They can be somewhat hard to find, but with the power of the internet, add it to your shopping cart with a bag full of Reese's," he says.
Pixie Sticks and Pinot
"I can't think of a better way to amp up the fruit flavors of a red burgundy [than] with straight sugar! These wines tend to be lower in sugar and alcohol content and have more pronounced earthy tones," he says. By pairing it with flavored sugar, the fruit notes should totally pop. "Full disclosure, I've never tried this, but I'm going to now," he says. It does seem fun!