Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine have become widely popular over the past decades in the United States. The Mexican restaurant industry itself produces nearly $40 billion dollars in revenue, and this does not include food bought and prepared at home. In a recent study, over 230 million Americans admitted to using Mexican food and ingredients. Americans love Mexican food!
The reasoning is clear—it is delicious. We have grown to like bold and spicier tastes. The flavors are endless when paired with all of the toppings and ingredients this style of food offers. During winter, you may want to eat something warm and filling, like chili or chicken soup. However, now that it’s summer you probably want something light, refreshing with a bold flavor. What better than your favorite taco?
A typical taco would include meat, cheese, and maybe lettuce—but you are no ordinary person. Have you tried adding pico de gallo, corn salsa, fried pickles, chipotle ranch, or even barbeque sauce? What about adding your favorite alcoholic beverage to amplify these tastes?
Try one of our favorite four taco and drink pairings this summer:
- Beer and Steak
Whether you like light beer or American Pale Ales, beer is always a safe go-to, especially with beef and steak. The malt and bitter yet bubbly effects will cut through the oils found in some ingredients, like cheese or guacamole, yet enhance the spices in the meat. Try a taco with grilled steak or beef tips and add tomatoes, onions, guacamole, and cilantro. If you want to add extra spice, substitute the tomatoes for pico de gallo, a homemade salsa made with tomatoes, onions, and jalepeno peppers.
- Margarita and Shrimp
The lime and salty flavors found in a margarita will pair well with almost everything, but we recommend pairing it with shrimp. If you like crispy textures in your food, use fried shrimp, and if not, use grilled shrimp. Add lettuce, tomatoes, spicy chipotle sauce, and lime juice. If you are feeling adventurous, try a pineapple or corn salsa to mix in some sweet with the salty flavors as well. The tequila will bring out the natural tastes of these ingredients and will make your mouth feel like a true fiesta!
- Wine and Chicken
Who says you can’t mix wine with Mexican food? Most people don’t know that wine was actually a large part of Mexican history. Red wine tastes best with red meat, so for best results when making chicken tacos, use white wine. Throw some chicken breasts in the crock pot with your favorite spices. (The spicier the chicken, the better it will taste with a cold, sweet white wine.) When the chicken is done, you can shred it and add queso cheese, pico de gallo, and freshly chopped jalapenos. If you want to use fried chicken, try rolling it in a chipotle barbeque sauce and adding homemade coleslaw with fried pickles. The white wine will balance out the spices and add a refreshing twist.
- Agua Fresca and Vegetarian
Not a fan of alcoholic drinks or meat? Try an agua fresca (Spanish for fresh water) and substitute rice or beans for your meat. Popular agua frescas include ice cold water, fruit, juice, and or honey or mint leaves. These special summer time treats will leave you feeling refreshed without worrying about a hangover the next day! As for vegetarian taco options, try using rice and black or pinto beans. These will help give you the protein you are missing from the meats. Make a summertime favorite agua fresca by mixing water with cut lemons and strawberries and adding a little sugar. Pair it with a taco with rice, beans, shredded cheese, pico de gallo, lettuce and sour cream. The mix of sweet in the drink and the spicy of the food will taste amazing!
If you don’t have the time to prepare these meals on your own, you can stop by your local Mexican restaurant. A local favorite that specializes in tacos and mixed drinks is Twisted Taco. Its outside patios at locations like Windward, Johns Creek, Suwanee, and Fayetteville in Georgia will make you feel like you are on vacation. Check out their menu and more information here (http://twistedtaco.com) and happy summer!