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Trick or Treat

Why Candy is Just Dandy Paired with Your Favorite Spirit

 Halloween is upon us and that means pumpkin spice, ghosts, full moons and, of course, trick or treating!  I have fond memories of treks through my neighborhood with friends – plastic pumpkins in tow, clad in whatever costumes were the pop culture rage that year and sporting neon glow sticks so everyone knew we were coming! 

Afterwards, the candy was dumped on the floor and carefully sorted – chocolate, sours, lollipops, bubble gum and the stuff nobody really wanted – for me that was Good ‘n Plenty and Bit ‘o Honey (yuck!).  Trades were negotiated over hot chocolate or cider and all was right with the world.  To be a kid again, right?

As an adult, I still love Halloween – picking just the right costume, watching scary movies and going out on the town for some mischief and spooky shenanigans.  Although, with COVID-19 looming over us these days, I’m not sure we will be able to fall under the usual spell that this bewitching holiday usually affords us.  So, as we have done for the better part of this past year, we will have to create our own fun.  Well, friends, here is an easy and entertaining activity that I usually do with my friends every Halloween and it is always a hit – pair your favorite wines with your favorite Halloween candies!

That’s right!  Buy a couple bottles of different wines and some of your favorite sweets, pop in a classic horror movie and let the fun begin.  You will be surprised how the flavors of the candies will bring out more intense notes in the wines and make them even more enjoyable! 

White Wines pair best with sours, caramels and toffees, while Red Wines lend themselves to chocolates and nuts.  Sparkling wines go well with fruity candies and a sweet dessert wine will best complimented by something a little bitter.

Don’t know where to start?  Try some of my favorite combos!

Sauvignon Blanc and Sour Patch Kids

Most Sauvignon Blancs have a fruit-forward citrus taste – like grapefruit – so pairing them with something sour is a win/win combination.  Also try Nerds.  What nerd or sour face wouldn’t love a citrusy wine?

Chardonnay and Candy Corn

This is the only way – I will eat candy corn.  I mean, really, by itself, who eats that stuff?  I’ve always thought it had a waxy taste, but the buttery notes in chardonnay seem to help give it a boost.  It also softens that pure sugar taste for which this Halloween staple candy is known.  Candy corn still not your thing?  Try it with a Butterfinger or Heath Bar.

Rose’ and Gummy Bears

Oh my! This combo is a fruit lovers dream come true!  The red fruit flavors of the rose’ serve as a natural enhancement to the flavors of gummies, which can start to taste bland after a few bites.  It’s Halloween afterall…bite some heads off some gummie bears… it’s a great stress reliever too!

Merlot and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

I know what you are thinking?  Kimberli Rowley, you have gone crazy! Chocolate, peanut butter, and wine!!! Yes! The  sweet and salty combo of the candy will soften the tannins in the Merlot for a winning combination.  Try a Merlot with cherry notes for the best pairing.  Also try M&Ms.

Sangiovese and Snickers

This is a complex wine to go with a complex candy!  Snickers has a lot going on – chocolate, caramel, nuts – and a good bold Italian red has enough flavor to compliment it all!  Don’t snicker until you have given it a try!

Cabernet Sauvignon and Peppermint Patties

Peppermint Patty will be making an appearance with the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! The dark chocolate and a big, bold red are an amazing pair.  Adding the cool mint is just icing on the cake.  If you don’t like mint flavor, try just a plain Hershey Special Dark chocolate bar.

Prosecco and Skittles

I mean really.  Fruit and bubbles make a divine duo – what’s not to love? Also try Starburst.

Red Dessert Wine and Mounds Bars

The dark chocolate and coconut will balance out the sweetness in a dessert wine nicely.  For an extra zing, you could also try a Guiradelli Raspberry/Dark Chocolate square.  It’s pure heaven.  And very rich.  I might suggest Bram Stroker’s Dracula with this one.

Other combos you may want to try include Moscato & Swedish Fish, Pinot Noir & KitKat Bars, or Twizzlers & Beaujolais. 

And experiment – make up your own pairing to your individual palette.  Remember…there is no right or wrong to wine tasting – and that is the beauty of it!

And remember, if you’ve been trying this column out at home, that’s fine.  But don’t drink and drive this Halloween.  That guy behind you with the lights flashing dressed as a cop is probably the real deal.

So…there you have it!  Trick or Treating for adults…I’ve given you the treats, you’re on your own for the tricks! 

Happy Haunting!


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