The Perfect Pair: Chicago Catering & Cocktails

Ellyn Cook, Meg White, & Amanda Brown — February 28, 2017

It’s the last day of February, but love is still in the air! Being a Chicago catering company, we know that engagement season runs from the holidays through Valentine’s Day as couples say ‘yes’ to a long, happy life together. Following suit, it’s from now through spring that we host the most wedding tastings, engagement parties, and bridal showers with #weddinggoals everywhere. It’s another festive time for us here at Northern Fork as we celebrate with so many wonderful brides and grooms.

This year, we decided what better way to honor these couples than with our own ceremonious unions? We’ve joined some of our favorite catered dishes with signature cocktails in the holiest of matrimonies, destined for a lifetime of love. If you’re searching for a Chicago wedding caterer or planning your next office happy hour, look no further than these ten food & drink pairings for inspiration.

FOOD: SHRIMP & BEEF KABOBS
DRINK: SMOKY MARGARITA

 

This pairing comes to life by infusing our liquor with pineapple and jalapeños. The smoky undertones of mezcal bring out the teriyaki flavor while the pineapples complement each other.

Fun Facts: We all know tequila, but what about mezcal? Both tequila and mezcal are made from agave found in select regions of Mexico. Once the agave is harvested, however, heating above ground creates tequila, while underground pits make mezcal. By lining the pits with stones and slowly heating the agave with fire-burning oak, mezcal is created with an undeniable smoky flavor. Our signature Smoky Margarita includes pineapple and jalapeños steeped for 72-hours to add a depth of sweet and spicy.

 

FOOD: INDIVIDUAL YOGURT PARFAITS
DRINK: VANILLA FIG G&T

 

Who doesn’t love a great flavored light cocktail with brunch? Our twist on a classic gin & tonic infused with vanilla and fig delightfully pairs with our Individual Yogurt Parfaits – vanilla yogurt, dried stone fruits, and our homemade granola.

 

 

FOOD: HERB GRILLED CHICKEN / FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE
DRINK: SAZERAC

With just a wash of absinthe, a few dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters, & a subtle touch of anise, our Sazerac perfectly complements our Herb Grilled Chicken topped with a tarragon stock reduction. Craving dessert? This is also an excellent boozy after-drink to pair with our decadent, dark Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Fun Facts: Originating in New Orleans, the sazerac dates back to 1838 when the owner of Peychaud’s Bitters started treating his friends to a combination of absinthe, rye whiskey, and a couple dashes of Peychaud’s. There is a reason this classic cocktail stood the test of time, and we’re happy it did.

 

 

 

FOOD: ARTISAN CHEESE BOARD
DRINK: BOULEVARDIER

 

Campari is a classic Italian aperitif meant to stimulate the palate before a meal. Mixed with bourbon and sweet vermouth to make our Boulevardier, and all you need is the cheese (especially our smoked gouda) for a classic cocktail hour combo.

Fun Facts: An aperitif is a drink or amuse-bouche served before dinner to stimulate your palate. Typically, a dry fortified wine, aperitifs are vermouth, champagne, fin, dry sherry, or a bitter aperitif, like campari or aperol. Campari was invented in 1860 with an infusion of herbs and fruit, and is most commonly known for its bitter quality.

 

 

FOOD: HERB GRILLED SALMON
DRINK: SUMMER THYME

 

Everyone knows the best way to make seafood to pop is a little citrus, and, in this case, our Summer Thyme with limoncello will do the trick!

Limoncello is another Italian staple. Vodka, lemon zest, and a little simple sugar make it very refreshing. We wanted to spice up this signature cocktail with our house made thyme syrup to add a slight earthiness. Though limoncello’s base is vodka, we decided to kick it up a notch and add gin as well. Since gin and vodka start out the same way they blend back together with a hint of juniper.

 

FOOD: TERIYAKI GRILLED SALMON / THAI GRILLED CHICKEN
DRINK: WHISKEY MULE

 

Ginger beer and Thai food? They were meant for each other! Ginger is a key flavor in most Asian-inspired dishes, so pack a punch with a kicked-up Whiskey Mule.

 

 

FOOD: ASSORTED MINI-SANDWICHES
DRINK: PIMM’S CUP

 

Pimm: a classic English liqueur that evokes summertime. Keep it simple and grab our Assorted Mini-Sandwiches and Fruit Platter for a great summertime soiree.

Fun Facts: Before everyone realized how fun cocktails and liquors could truly be, they started out as medicines and health tonics. Enter Pimm. The tawny-colored gin-based liquor started as a health tonic in the 1840’s by James Pimm. It became so popular that, after a mere decade, it was sold commercially. It was known as a summer staple in England for years before making its way to New Orleans in the 1940s. While the ingredients remain fairly unknown, we do know this…you can’t do brunch without Pimm’s.

 

 

FOOD: BRUSCHETTA WITH PARMESAN TOAST
DRINK: NEGRONI

 

A classic Italian pairing. Enough said.

 

 

 

 

 

FOOD: GRILLED FLANK STEAK
DRINK: BEER COCKTAIL

 

Our Beer Cocktail is the mix of a saison (farmhouse ale) and a shot of bourbon. This bold beer cocktail is fruity and earthy, and sure to stand up to our Grilled Flank Steak marinated in a tangy A-1 sauce. Take the pressure off dad this year and treat him to this perfect Father’s Day pairing. (Yes, we deliver on Sundays!)

Fun Facts: The craft beer revolution has taken over, and Northern Fork knows their stuff. So, let’s talk about saisons. Although they originated in Belgium as a summertime ale, US craft brewers decided to produce them year-round. Adding a variety of ingredients, no two saisons are the same. Still, they are known for being quite complex with fruity aromas and earthy, yeasty flavors.

FOOD: STEAK & CHICKEN FAJITA BAR
DRINK: PALOMA

 

This one is a no-brainer. Both of these Mexican-inspired items have slight spice with a citrus note. A perfect way to celebrate! In the world of spirits (and love), “what grows together, goes together”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and may your love for each other, for your family & friends, and for great food & drink always grow. We look forward to celebrating with you!