Bar Talk with Shaun Daugherty

Welcome to Bar Talk with Shaun Daugherty
Welcome to Bar Talk with Shaun Daugherty

Shaun, having a dinner party with peachy pork tenderloin on the grill, oven roasted potatoes and roasted carrots. I have the wine under control, but not sure about the pre-dinner cocktail. I want to feature just one cocktail that will work with light finger foods and won’t fight with the dinner menu. The bar is stocked so I have a good variety of spirits and mixes. Thanks – Paul Higgins


Thank you for your inquiry.  Most people don’t think beyond the typical pairing of wine and beer with their foods.  Liquor opens many doors and even more exotic flavors than you can shake a stick at.  A full-bar gives you many options in regards to pairing and can be considered a second spice rack with an added kick.

I noticed a key phrase in our query.  You are looking for a before dinner cocktail that “won’t fight” with your featured entrée for the evening.  Instead of creating a cocktail that matches the flavor of what is being served later in the evening, it’s a great idea to complement the entrée with something that will welcome, and even enhance, the flavor of the dish when it is served.  I call it “seasoning the taste buds” – opening your senses, so when you sit down to the main course, they are trained and ready to enjoy the many flavors you have created with your meal.

Let’s tear it apart just a little bit.  ”Peachy” pork tenderloin with roasted carrots and roasted potatoes.   You are introducing a sweet flavor, peachy,  to go along with the earthy flavors of the carrots and potatoes.  So think of a fruit that will complement, but not override this taste note.  Plus, you do not want anything heavy.

Kir Royale

I have a suggestion for you and it will be something I’m sure you have had before.  A nice toast with a brut champagne or sparkling wine, with a little crème de cassis to top it off: A Kir Royale Cocktail!  This will wake up those sleeping taste buds and have them ready to enjoy the many attributes your fine meal has to offer.  Plus, it’s light enough to go along with the finger foods you will be serving prior to sitting down at the dinner table.  To give it a citrus aroma, add a twist of orange and rub it gently on the rim of the glass.  This will enhance the flavor even more.

Enjoy your evening with friends, Paul!

Do you have a question for Bar Talk?  Shaun Daugherty’s Q & A appears on site each Tuesday.  If you have a query please comment below or send us email:  We would love to hear from you.

Moderated and authored by Shaun “The Bartender” Daugherty

Edited by Karie Engels

One thought on “Bar Talk with Shaun Daugherty

  1. Hi Shaun,
    I am a chef by trade and am planning on a dinner concept for a specialty dinner, it’s a bit unique but really need some help here.

    The dinner theme is called “flavor tripping” this is a legit concept, I am not some wacko making things up. Nevertheless, the idea is to consume a berry called a mracle berry before the meal. By consuming this berry “all natural” it turns your taste buds upside down. It makes sweet items salty and sour items sweet etc.

    With that being said, I am looking for a few cocktail ideas to serve throughout the meal that will tickle the senses and cause a surprise to the palate.

    Any suggestions?

    Chef Jeff

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