6 perfect food and drink pairings to ring in The Year of The Rat

Jan 13 2020, 5:00 pm

Mandarins, red envelopes, and lots of lots of snacks. Whether you refer to it as Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, the Year of the Rat is nearly here. This means it’s time to celebrate, relax, and most importantly, share mouth-watering food and drink with loved ones.

We teamed up with BC Liquor Stores to bring you the best pairings so you can ring in the new year in the most delicious way possible — including an extremely exciting opportunity to own a very rare bottle of liquor.

Macallan 72 and Bak Kwa

The Macallan 72/BC Liquor Stores

Spring Festival is a very special time of year, which means you should be drinking only the best booze you can find. If you’re looking to seriously impress this Chinese New Year, there’s no better way to go all out than with one of the rarest bottles of liquor you can find — a 72-year-old limited edition bottle of scotch. The Macallan 72 is the distillery’s oldest ever bottle of single malt to ever be released (NBD) and worth $78,000! This bottle is so rare that BC Liquor Store is holding a draw just to have the chance to buy a bottle. If this isn’t peak CNY, we don’t know what is.

For the ultimate pairing with whisky this CNY, try matching up your Macallan 72 with bak kwa, aka Chinese dried BBQ pork. This sweet, smoky, and salty jerky goes perfectly with scotch and is the pièce de résistance for any feast.

Chardonnay and Fish

Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay/BC Liquor Stores

Chinese New Year is all about picking foods that will bring you good luck. And one of the most auspicious things you can eat is fish — like yusheng (raw fish salad).

You’ll find the perfect match for fish with a glass of Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay. This full-bodied Chardonnay has flavours of peach, pineapple, citrus, and oak. Its rich, buttery mouthfeel also goes swimmingly with Long Life noodles, crab, or lobster. Cheers to that!

Gewürztraminer and Spicy Broths

Red Rooster Gewürztraminer/BC Liquor Stores

Another dish gracing most tables this Chinese New Year is fish in a spicy broth. And what better way to pair spice than with more spice — like the spicy, floral gewürztraminer from Red Rooster? The popular BC wine has racy acidity, a slightly waxy finish, and notes of lychee and cantaloupe.

Red Wine and Dark Meats

Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz/BC Liquor Stores

Have some spiced pork or dark meats on the menu this Chinese New Year? A bottle of red wine is just what you need. The full-bodied Kalimna Shiraz from Penfolds Bin 28 has notes of black kalamata olive tapenade, tobacco, chocolate torte, and mocha and finishes with dusty graphite and balanced acidity. It’s the missing note on your CNY drink list.

Champagne and Pineapple Tarts

Moet and Chandon/BC Liquor Stores

Everyone needs to have a toast at Chinese New Year. And what better way to do that than with one hand on a glass of bubbly and the other holding a quintessential CNY snack: the pineapple tart? The tiny baked goods with pineapple jam are a symbol of wealth and prosperity (and are very addictive).

To pair with the treat, you won’t find a more classic bottle than Moet & Chandon. With aromas of lightly toasted brioche buns, poached pears, puff pastry (we’re talking about the wine here), and lemon and lime zest, it’s the perfect match to something sweet.

Cognac and Dessert

Hennessy VSOP/BC Liquor Stores

Did you know Cognac is a quintessential Chinese New Year favourite? It makes sense really — a bottle of Hennessy is the ideal beverage to celebrate something special. Its long finish with flavours of oak spice, vanilla, cinnamon, candied fruit, and clove means it’s perfect for toasting.


Wishing you happiness and prosperity this new year (恭喜发财), as well as many delicious sips and snacks!

Looking to elevate your CNY game for The Year of The Rat? Check out special CNY events and find food and cocktail recipes online at TASTE magazine.

Please enjoy responsibly.