When you sit down with a group of friends for a social drinking session you may want a little more than just booze. Some bites on the side are not just delicious, but also boost the good atmosphere. Now anyone can pull out a bag of potato chips or a frozen pizza, but why wouldn’t you give your party a little more elegance? There are plenty of snacks that pair great with all kinds of booze and are easy to make in just a matter of minutes. Most of them are pretty healthy too, which is great if you plan to torture the liver that night. The less other toxics this old bastard has to deal with, the more he can focus on breaking down alcohol.
1. Cheese plate
Can’t really go wrong with cheese, especially when you are drinking beer or wine. A French-Italian mix with for example some brie, camembert, blue cheese, pecorino romano, gorgonzola and roquefort will class up your bacchanalia right away. Or what about a big hump of Greek Feta, covered with a little olive oil and oregano? Or some fine yellow cheese from the Netherlands? Personally I love salty smoked cottage cheese, if you can get your hands on that. Of course it can’t hurt to ask your local cheese dealer which of his products goes best with whatever you’re drinking.
2. Meat plate
Unless you’re a strict vegetarian you must enjoy a good meat plate when you’re boozing. Weather it’s sausages, ham or bacon, meat and alcohol are just a golden combination. Countries like France, Spain and Italy have a dizzying amount of different kinds of sausage, prepared with herbs, pepper or nuts. Most of them are made from veal or pork, but if you put in a little effort you might find a rare one with donkey meat or something. And what to think about the German-Austrian cuisine which is all about meat products? Try one of the many amazing paprika infused Hungarian sausages, Polish kielbasa or the tasty treats from the Balkans.
3. Scalloped baguette slices
One of the easiest things to make yourself. Just cut a baguette in slices and top them with your favorite ingredients before you put them in the oven for a short time. Even if you just add a little olive oil and sea salt, these baguette slices make great bites. Other options are pesto, tomato and basil, mozzarella or yellow cheese, to name just a few.
4. Raw veggies plate
Here’s one the vegans and vegetarians among you will like. A plate full of uncooked vegetables can be excellent drinking food. Think of a plate with tomato wedges, cucumber slices, radishes, onion slices, carrots and spring onions. Sprinkle your veggies with a little salt and/or olive oil and they make great chasers for your drinking session.
5. Fish plate
An absolute must-try and it doesn’t need to take you much time at all. If you can find smoked fillet of fish like mackerel, sprat, whiting, eel, salmon or trout, you are up for an absolute treat. Not only is fish extremely healthy for body and brain, it also boosts your desire for drinks. There’s a Dutch saying that goes: “A fish needs to swim, even in the stomach”, so fill that tank up.
6. Seafood plate
Just like fish seafood makes excellent bites for a good drinking session and it doesn’t take much time to prepare. Squid, shrimps and mussels are the three options we suggest. Since sea food hardly needs any additions, as a little salt, pepper and lemon juice usually does the trick. About 5 to 8 minutes of boiling or 15 to 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven is all you need for a wonderful side dish.
7. Mixed nuts
Nuts are very nutritious and we don’t eat them as much as we should. So get yourself some walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashew nuts, peanuts, pecans and pistachios. They might taste differnt than your usual beer nuts, but once you get the hang of the real stuff, you probably never want to go back.
8. Peppers on brine
A side dish for those who like spicy stuff. It’s super easy to make your own peppers on brine. Just get yourself a bag of fresh hot peppers (chile peppers or jalapeños are perfect), a few garlic cloves, some herbs like thyme, oregano and rosemary, vinegar, salt and water. Fill a pan with half vinegar and water and add salt to taste. Wait for the mix to start boiling and add the peppers, garlic cloves and herbs and let it boil for 2 to 5 minutes to make sure all bacteria are dead. Now move the peppers and garlic cloves to a clean jar and add liquid from the pan till the jar is full and close it. Place the closed jar upside down to cool. Keep the peppers in brine in your fridge for a few days to let the flavours mix.
The peppers make an excellent chaser when you’re drinking hard liquor, but remember to never throw away the brine. In case you have a hangover the next morning this is the magic elixer that will fix you up right away. Just like the Russian hangover cure malosolnije ogurtsy. Which reminds me to tell you that instead of peppers you can put a lot of other things on brine as well, as small cucumbers, onions, tomatoes all taste delicious after receiving the same treatment.
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