Go beyond the obvious when it comes to pairing bison with booze.
When it comes to pairing bison with alcohol, red wine is a natural choice.
But some red wines go better than others. Unlike, say, roast beef, bison is low in fat, so it won’t be its best with tannic reds such as inexpensive young Cabernet Sauvignon. (The fat softens the tannins.)
Try, instead, a Tuscan Sangiovese or fruit-driven Tempranillo from Spain. Either should pair beautifully with your bison striploin. Or seek out an Italian Nebbiolo or a fine French Syrah—maybe even one that’s been aging for a few years. The Syrah’s savoury, spicy notes will add plenty of depth to your dish, while the delicate Nebbiolo aromas will complement the bison’s delicious flavours.
Making ribs? A California Zinfandel is always a fine pairing, or try a value-priced Primitivo from Italy. As for a burger, consider a juicy, crowd-pleasing Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina or Cahors, France.
Of course, wine isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for an alternative, consider whisky. The intense, smoky notes of your favourite scotch whisky will bring out the natural sweetness of the meat, while the delicacy of a pot-stilled Irish whisky can also work with the meat’s lower fat content. Or pour an American bourbon, straight up or on the rocks; the sweetness of this corn-based whisky will also be an excellent match with a range of bison dishes.
Whatever you opt to drink, don’t forget to think about the spices you’re using with your meat. If you’re cooking a bison curry, consider a lighter style of red—perhaps a Gamay (Beaujolais, if you’re in the French section of your favourite wine shop), which won’t be overpowered by the intense seasoning. And chilis? Go back to that Malbec again. If it works for a timeless Argentine chimichurri, it just may work for your dish, too.