How to Pair Fruit Flavors (2024)

Many fruits have natural flavor companions, such as apple and cinnamon, strawberry and banana, or cherry and vanilla. These are well-known pairings that are commonly used in food and drinks. But discovering new flavor combinations is half the fun of mixing drinks. Whether you're a co*cktail connoisseur, a professional bartender, or a budding drink mixer, this examination of flavor pairings is a valuable resource to keep at hand as it offers information and ideas for when you're looking for that key ingredient to perfect your new drink or food recipe.

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A Mixologist's Lessons

The foundation of these pairings comes from Humberto Marques, mixologist and owner of Curfew in Copenhagen, Denmark. Not only has Marques been delighting drinkers with genuine flavor experiences and intriguing co*cktails such as his eucalyptus martini, but he has also spent years investigating the finer points of flavor.

Certain fruit flavors work better with others, and many of these recommendations are surprising. For instance, did you ever think that pomegranate and cucumber could be mixed into a single drink? Has the combination of banana and hazelnut crossed your mind?

In his study, Marques has gone beyond common fruits such as apple, orange, or berries, sharing his thoughts on lesser-known fruits such as feijoa, persimmon, and tomatillo. These are particularly challenging ingredients, especially if you have little experience with them.

How to Use the Pairing Recommendations

The co*cktail world is filled with experimentation, and flavors can play off one another in unusual ways. With countless ingredients and combinations to choose from, this guide is not limited to co*cktails and mixed drinks, but is also applicable to food recipes and when pairing food with drinks. Some of the pairing suggestions have been supplemented with recommendations from "The Flavor Bible," written by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. It is a fantastic resource with endless pairings for all sorts of ingredients you might use in your culinary escapades.

Common Fruit Flavor Pairings

Apples, berries, citrus fruits, and other common fruits make a steady appearance in drinks. Explore beyond the most obvious pairings and maybe you'll be surprised by our suggestions.

  • Apple: Pairs well with almonds, apricots, caramel, cardamom,chestnut,cinnamon, citrus,cranberry, currant, ginger, hazelnut, lychee, mango, maple,orange, rosemary, and walnuts. It mixes particularly well with brandy, kirsch, Madeira, rum, and vermouth. There are many great apple co*cktails to offer inspiration.

  • Apricot: Pairs well with almonds,anise, apple, black pepper, caramel, cardamom, cinnamon, coconut, cranberry, ginger, hazelnut, honey, lemon, nutmeg, orange, peach, pineapple, plum, rosemary, Sauternes, strawberry, and vanilla. It mixes especially well with amaretto, brandy, kirsch, orange liqueur, and sweet white wines. For inspiration, explore these tasty apricot co*cktails.

  • Banana: Pairs well with blueberry, caramel, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coconut, coffee,ginger, guava, hazelnut, honey, lemon, lime, mango, molasses, orange, papaya, pineapple, vanilla, and walnuts. It mixes best with brandy, Calvados, Madeira wine, and rum. Though it's not the most common fruit in mixed drinks, there are a few banana co*cktails that can spark new ideas.

  • Blackberry: Pairs well with almond, apple, apricot, black pepper,blueberry, cinnamon, citrus, clove, ginger, hazelnut, lemon, mango, mint, peach, plum, orange, raspberry, strawberry, and vanilla. It mixes very well with berry liqueurs, brandy, Champagne, orange liqueurs, port wine, and red wines such as merlot. You can also explore the flavor combinations in a few blackberry drink recipes.

  • Blueberry: Pairs well with other berries, cardamom, cinnamon, citrus, fig, ginger, hazelnut, honey, lavender, lemon, lemon verbena, mango, mint, nutmeg, peach, vanilla, and watermelon. Accent blueberries with berry and orange liqueurs. It's a fun flavor to mix with, and blueberry co*cktails can be diverse.

  • Cherry: Pairs well with almond, apricot, black pepper, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon, citrus (especially lemon), nectarine, peach, plum, sage, andvanilla. It will do especially well in drinks with amaretto, bourbon, brandy, crème de cassis, Grand Marnier, kirsch, rum, sweet vermouth, and vodka. Also, try mixing maraschino liqueur or Cherry Heering with a variety of wines, particularly dry reds, port, and sparkling wines.

  • Coconut: Pairs well with almond, banana, basil, Brazil nut, caramel, chocolate, cilantro, citrus, cucumber, guava, honey, makrut leaf,lemongrass, lime, lychee, mango, mint, passion fruit, pineapple, other tropical fruits, and vanilla. As is evident with the popular coconut rum and piña colada, it works especially well in rum co*cktails. Try it in green tea drinks as well, and coconut co*cktails are fun to explore for more ideas.

  • Grape: Pairs well with almond, apple, chocolate, citrus (especially lemon), ginger, hazelnut, mint, pear, pecan, raisin, raspberry, rosemary, strawberry, and walnut. The flavor is an obvious companion for brandy and wines of all varietals, though grape co*cktails also do well with a rum base.

  • Grapefruit: Pairs well with banana, basil, black pepper, caramel, coconut, ginger, lemon, lime, melon, mint, papaya, pineapple, pomegranate, raspberry, rosemary, strawberry, thyme, tropical fruits, and vanilla. It's surprisingly versatile—you'll be pleased with grapefruit co*cktails that feature Campari, gin, Grand Marnier, grenadine, rum, sparkling and white wines, tequila, and vodka.

  • Lemon: Pairs especially well with almond, apricot, basil, berries, black pepper,cardamom, cherry, citrus, coconut, hazelnut, ginger, mint, nectarine, peach, plum, prickly pear, rosemary, thyme, tropical fruit, and vanilla. For spirits, it mixes best with rum, vodka, and nut and orange liqueurs. It's also nice with sweet wines such as moscato. Lemon is commonly used as an accent in drinks but also offers possibilities of its own.

  • Lime: Pairs well with apple, berries, cherry, ginger, papaya, plum, strawberry, and tropical fruits, but it's usually an accent for beverages.

  • Melon: Pairs well with basil, blackberry, blueberry, cilantro, citrus, cucumber, ginger, lemongrass,lemon verbena, mint, strawberry, and vanilla. It mixes especially well with Champagne, Cointreau, curaçao, port, sake, sweet white wines, and tequila. The melon co*cktail recipes available are surprisingly diverse and always refreshing.

  • Orange: Pairs exceptionally well with almond,anise, banana, basil, berries, cherry, chocolate, cilantro, cinnamon, clove, coffee, cranberry, fig, ginger, grape, grapefruit, hazelnut,lemon, mint, nutmeg, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, rosemary, vanilla, and walnut. It is also a common citrus fruit that countless mixed drinks rely on. Orange mixes well with most distilled spirits as seen in the many orange juice co*cktails. It is particularly nice with amaretto, brandy, grenadine, tequila, and vodka.

  • Pear: Pairs well with almond, apple, caramel, chestnut, chocolate,cinnamon, citrus, clove, ginger, hazelnut, nutmeg, pecan, raspberry, rosemary, vanilla, and walnut. It mixes best with brandy, port, crème de cassis, Grand Marnier, kirsch, rum, whiskey, and dry red white, and sparkling wines. You will find many pear co*cktails that use these pairings.

  • Pineapple: Pairs well with other tropical fruits, banana, basil, caramel, chile pepper, cilantro, cinnamon, coconut, ginger, lime, macadamia,mango, orange, pepper, raspberry, rosemary, strawberry, and tamarind. There are a variety of pineapple co*cktails, and the flavor tends to work best with brandy, orange liqueurs, and rum.

  • Pomegranate: Pairs well with apple, cardamom, cinnamon, citrus, cucumber, ginger, mint, and tropical fruit. For pomegranate co*cktails, you'll find it works exceptionally well with port, tequila, vodka, and both red and white wines.

  • Raspberry: Pairs well with other berries, almond, apricot, chocolate, cinnamon, citrus, ginger, hazelnut, mint, nectarine, peach, plum, rhubarb,thyme, and vanilla. You will find many raspberry co*cktails with brandy, Champagne, orange liqueurs, rum (especially the dark type), tequila, and sweeter red wines.

  • Strawberry: Pairs well with other berries, almond, apple, banana, chocolate, citrus, coriander, honey, melon, mint, peach, pineapple, rhubarb, vanilla, and walnut. It mixes best with brandy, Champagne, Chartreuse, elderflower liqueur, rum, sake, and red, rosé, and sweet white wine, though strawberry co*cktails are diverse.

Tropical and Uncommon Fruit Flavor Pairings

It can be difficult to know where to begin if you come across less common mixed drink fruits, such as mango, papaya, and rhubarb. They may catch your eye at the market, but how do you add them to a co*cktail? Learn how to treat and mix these less familiar fruits into your drinks.

  • Asian pear: Pairs well with almond, apple, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, honey,macadamia, nutmeg, raisin, and vanilla.

  • Blood orange: Pairs well with almond,cardamom, chocolate, cinnamon, clove, fig, ginger, honey, and other citrusfruits.

  • Currants (black and red): Pair well with chocolate and citrus. They are excellent to mix with dark rum, port,sloe gin, and any style of wine, as seen when crème de cassis makes an appearance in the kir co*cktail, bishop co*cktail, and vermouth cassis.

  • Elderberry: Pairs well with other berries, apricot, fig, honey, lemon, mandarin, peach, and plum.

  • Feijoa: Pairs well with banana, berries, cinnamon, citrus, mango,and vanilla.

  • Fig: Pairs well with almond, black pepper, cinnamon, citrus,hazelnut, pear, and vanilla. It mixes well with whiskey, port, and sparkling wine.

  • Gooseberry: Pairs well with other berries, citrus, hazelnut, honey, and white chocolate.

  • Guava: Pairs well with citrus, coconut,huckleberry, makrut leaf, pineapple, strawberry, and tropical fruit.

  • Kiwi: Pairs well with apple, banana, berries, cherry, citrus, coconut, mango, and tropical fruit. One of its most popular co*cktails is the simplekiwi martini.

  • Kumquat: Pairs well with berries, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, persimmon, and plum.

  • Lychee: Pairs well withcitrus, ginger, gooseberry, tropical fruit, and vanilla. It mixes especially well with sake, tequila, and vodka to make some stunning lychee co*cktails.

  • Mandarin: Pairs well withcardamom, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, fig, ginger, nutmeg, tropical fruits, vanilla, and star anise.

  • Mango: Pairs well withapple, banana, berries, caramel, citrus, coconut, melon, Sauternes, tropical fruits, and vanilla. There are many great mango co*cktails that offer inspiration for this fruit.

  • Papaya: Pairs well withcitrus, black pepper, lime, mango, and tropical fruit. Try it in co*cktails featuring rum and tequila.

  • Persimmon: Pairs well withapple, black pepper, cinnamon, citrus, kumquat, and pear.

  • Plum: Pairs well withalmond, cinnamon, citrus, chestnut, black pepper, hazelnut, honey, port, and vanilla.

  • Prickly pear: Pairs well withcitrus, lime, tomatillo, and tropical fruit.

  • Rhubarb: Pairs well withapple, apricot, berries, black pepper, citrus, ginger, nectarine, peach, plum, and especially strawberry. It is not the easiest fruit to add to drinks, but there are tricks to adding rhubarb to co*cktails.

  • Tomatillo: Pairs well withberries, citrus, mango, prickly pear, and tropical fruit.

Nut and Veggie Flavor Pairings

Quite often, your pairing search begins not with fruit, but with a nut, often in the form of a liqueur, syrup, or another sweetener. To reverse roles, Marques has developed a few suggestions for those nutty essences that create fascinating flavors.

  • Almond: Pairs well withapple, apricot, banana, caramel, cherry, coffee, fig, honey, orange, peach, pear, and plum. Keep this in mind when adding amaretto liqueur or orgeat syrup to your co*cktails.

  • Chestnut: Pairs well withapple, caramel, chocolate, coffee, pear, and vanilla.

  • Hazelnut: Pairs well withapple, apricot, banana, berries, caramel, cherry, chocolate, citrus, fig, mandarin, peach, pear, and plum. The flavor is most often added in the form of Frangelico and other hazelnut liqueurs.

  • Walnut: Pairs well withapple, apricot, banana, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon, nectarine, peach, pear, plum, and rum. Though not common, nocino is a walnut-flavored liqueur.

How to Properly Shake a co*cktail

How to Pair Fruit Flavors (2024)

FAQs

How do you pair flavours? ›

Flavour pairing often revolves around the concept of contrast and harmony. Some pairings work because they contrast flavours, creating excitement and intrigue. Others harmonize, creating a seamless and balanced taste experience. Consider the classic contrast between sweet and sour in dishes like sweet and sour chicken.

What fruit combinations go together? ›

So without further ado, here are my top picks for fruit pairings best suited to juicing, blending, and smoothie-making!
  • 20 Best Fruit Combinations for Smoothies.
  • Banana + Mixed Berries. ...
  • Pineapple + Mango. ...
  • Peaches + Cherries. ...
  • Blueberries + Pomegranate. ...
  • Apple + Cranberries. ...
  • Watermelon + Pineapple. ...
  • Dragonfruit + Orange.

What flavours compliment fruit? ›

Many fruits have natural flavor companions, such as apple and cinnamon, strawberry and banana, or cherry and vanilla. These are well-known pairings that are commonly used in food and drinks.

What is the flavor pairing theory? ›

The main hypothesis of this so-called Food Pairing Theory is quite straightforward: the more aromatic compounds two foods have in common, the better they taste together . This effect is particularly strong when two foods share aromas that make up their characteristic flavor .

What is an example of a flavor pairing? ›

For example, the sweetness of roasted beets pairs beautifully with the tanginess of goat cheese. On the other hand, contrasting flavors create a dynamic and exciting experience for the palate. Think of the classic combination of sweet and salty, like prosciutto-wrapped melon.

What is the food pairing method? ›

The "Foodpairing" method starts with a chemical analysis of a food. The aroma compounds are determined with the aid of gas chromatography, which in most cases is coupled with a mass spectrometer (GC-MS). The odorants are also quantified with other techniques.

What should I pair fruit with? ›

Have your berries with some cottage cheese, melon with a sprinkle of flax meal, apple with peanut butter or peaches with yogurt. This practice of pairing fruit with protein or fat will also help to stabilize your blood sugar.

What pairs with strawberries? ›

5 Perfect Pairings with Strawberries
  • Balsamic Vinegar: Recipes incorporating both balsamic vinegar and strawberries abound, and they don't meet up exclusively in salads either. ...
  • Rosemary: ...
  • Basil: ...
  • Spinach: ...
  • Chocolate (of course!)
Sep 17, 2018

Which flavour combinations go well together? ›

  • Peanut butter and chocolate. This first flavor combination should come as no surprise: Peanut butter and chocolate is a timeless duo that conjures up feelings of comfort and nostalgia. ...
  • Strawberries and cream. ...
  • Caramel and chocolate. ...
  • Caramel and sea salt. ...
  • Raspberries and dark chocolate. ...
  • Pineapple and coconut.

What flavor pairs well with orange? ›

Here are our top suggestions for classic and unexpected flavour combinations to pair with citrus:
  • Orange or lemon with almond.
  • Orange with anise.
  • Orange with apple.
  • Lemon with blueberry.
  • Orange with lime.
  • Lemon with chilli.
  • Orange/ lime/ lemon with chocolate.
  • Orange/ grapefruit/ lime with cinnamon.

How should flavorings be selected and combined? ›

We evaluate three general principles of flavour matching: similarity—matching components based on common flavour compounds (or similar flavour profiles); contrast—combinations that are purposely chosen because they differ from each other (a strategy that is more common in the cuisine of some countries than others); and ...

How to match flavours? ›

For example, spice balances out sweet and vice versa. Flavour pairings can also enhance one another – for example, salty flavours enhance sweet flavours and vice versa. Think salted caramel and generally the use of salt in baking. On the other hand, sugar can also be added to savoury tomato sauces to make them richer.

What are complementing flavors? ›

Complementary flavors are combinations of ingredients that enhance and balance each other's taste profiles. The science behind these pairings lies in the interaction of various taste components, including sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami.

What are the 5 flavor groups? ›

Human taste can be distilled down to the basic 5 taste qualities of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami or savory. Although the sense of taste has been viewed as a nutritional quality control mechanism, the human experience of ingesting food is the interaction of all 5 senses.

How do you layer flavors? ›

Examples of things that can increase the depth of flavor
  1. Inject a marinade, and get some flavor deep into the meat.
  2. Brine your meat with different flavors to add a “zing” deep inside the meat.
  3. Hit your food with fresh seasoning toward the end to add a new layer.
  4. Caramelize your sauce at the end of your cook.

What flavors balance each other? ›

Sweet, sour, spicy, and bitter are all balanced by each other. If you taste one stronger than the rest, consider adding some or all of the others to bring it into balance.

References

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