Swap out milk for something a little more adult, here are 4 of our favorite cookie-friendly wines!
1. Simple Cookies: Pecan Shortbread
We don’t mean “simple” in a bad way here; these cookies just don’t have a lot going on: sugar cookies, spritz cookies, shortbread cookies, basically anything light in color and straightforward in taste. There are no mix-ins, no fillings, and no complex flavors from caramelization or browning. Not surprisingly, these cookies, like Thrive Tribe’s Pecan Shortbread, pair well with simple, light, even sparkling beverages. Though it’s not technically a dessert wine, a decent Prosecco (i.e. one with Conegliano and/or Valdobbiadene on the label) will bring light, fruity flavors to your cookie and acidity to cut through the fat. Just be sure to pick one that has a little sugar in it, indicated (somewhat confusingly) but the term “dry” on the label.
2. Spicy Cookies: Sweet Cinnamon
This includes your gingerbread as well as your chocolate cookies with cinnamon and cayenne, German Lebkuchen, and all things “pumpkin spice.” Thrive’s Tribes Sweet Cinnamon cookies pair nicely with a Rutherglen Muscat. This rich, sweet wine from Australia is made from the same Muscat grapes as Moscato D’Asti but in the opposite style. It’s a still wine, fortified with brandy and aged in oak barrels, giving it a dark brown color and flavors of toffee, dates, raisins, molasses and orange peel, all of which go swimmingly with wintery spices.
3. Nutty Cookies: Cherry Almond
Cookies like pecan sandies, walnut snowballs and peanut butter cookies pair amazingly well with one of our favorite dessert wines: Madeira, especially the Malmsey variety. It’s sweet. It’s strong. And, best of all, it’s nutty. Madeira is made on a small Portuguese island of the same name off the coast of Morocco and is deliberately oxidized as it ages. This gives it almond flavors similar to sherry, and it retains a great acidity that makes it a perfect pairing for rich, nutty desserts like Thrive Tribe’s Cherry Almond cookies. I once served this with pecan pie and it was out of this world (but let’s face it; a glass of Madeira would probably make cardboard taste good).
4. Chocolate Cookies: Chocolate Brownie
Many will have you believe that wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel are the best pairings for chocolate like Thrive Tribe’s Chocolate Brownie cookies, but pairing these dry wines with sweets can sometimes be unpleasant. Instead, try the Grenache-based Banyuls from the South of France. It’s a vin doux naturel, or “naturally sweet wine,” meaning its sweetness comes from halting fermentation by fortifying it with neutral grape spirit. Banyuls can have notes of strawberry, cherry, plum, orange peel and even espresso—a.k.a. everything that goes well with chocolate cookies.
Taste is subjective, of course, but these pairings are all more delicious than any of their parts alone. So next girls night or date night, instead of bringing a bottle of Chardonnay, maybe try a Madeira. Or a Muscat. In any case, it’s a chance to enjoy wine and eat cookies