Can Food and Cocktails Really Pair Well?

A couple of years ago, my wife and I had dinner at Rouge Tomate, the health- and flavor-focused New York restaurant, then on East 60th Street (now in the process of moving to Chelsea).

We asked for the tasting menu and were offered wine pairings. My wife accepted, but I could not; red wine doesn’t agree with me, and I haven’t had a glass in almost a decade. I lean toward cocktails, even over the course of a long meal.

Not a problem, said Pascaline Lepeltier, the endlessly creative beverage manager. They offered cocktail pairings as well. At the time, my daughter was about six months old and I was functioning on little sleep; I pictured myself stepping out of the restaurant and pitching face-forward onto the sidewalk. Not to worry, I was told: the drinks were modestly sized and not overly boozy. I rolled the dice and went for it.