What to drink at the barbecue: tips from Hertog Jan-sommelier Joachim Boudens

Barbecue, that means a smorgasbord of meats, fish, salads, sauces and side dishes. How to get an appropriate drink to can serve? Follow the advice of topsommelier Joachim Boudens and keep it simple!


© Getty Images/iStockphoto

What will we drink? A lot of people find it a difficult question, writes Joachim Boudens. Therefore, the sommelier of Hertog Jan now has a book out in which he is a practical manual that gives the complex foodpairen easier to understand. You don’t expect to complex of technical jargon, clear descriptions and practical applications. The book explains what drink is appropriate for any occasion, inspires you to be yourself, to invite friends to join and gives the occasional recipe that is midway between refined and easy.

What Will We Drink contains an introduction about the matching of beverages and food, also eight chapters that focus on different types of dinners. A vriendenetentje, a mediterranean night, an Asian dinner, a tasting platter… Every occasion has its drinks. So also a barbecue night!


A summer barbecue evening around our course started with a fresh aperitif. Joachim suggests a fresh sparkling wine, a punch or cocktail. Don’t be too stingy with the ice cubes and make sure that your appetizer is not too sweet, because that reduces the appetite.


During a barbecue, there are so many different dishes, flavours and textures to offer by the foodpairingbos sometimes the trees are not see. Because with fish, you drink still white and flesh red? Or how was that now again? Joachim gives in his book a number of very useful guidelines for the choice of your wine.

Standard combinations

Fish: The general rule is that you don’t drink red wine with fish. That has to do with the tannins in red wine, which ensure that dry feeling on your teeth – a feeling that quickly unpleasant is if you at the same time, fish are eating. At a barbecue evening around our you can, however, slightly looser way of dealing with that rule, because fish that on the roster prepared, can have some more. Choose in that case, however, for a soft, fruity wine and combine, preferably with a hearty side dish such as ratatouille or grilled vegetables.

Meat: If there are rougher meat on the grill is laid, you can opt for more substantial wines. Choose a full, powerful red wine with a hearty meat and choose a hearty white wine with chicken.

With salads and vinagrettes: A fresh white wine with lots of acidity combines the best.

For grilled vegetables: Go for a white wine with a lot of minerals and maturation, so that he a somewhat smoky taste. White wines fit very well with grilled meat or fish.

In greasy sauces and marinades: This can be a fuller, spicy wine is well tolerated.

© Piet De Kersgieter

A of Joachims basic rules if you have wine to choose for your barbecue: whether you’re red, white or both, choose a warm, spicy wine. “A good starting point is to wines to choose from warmer regions. The ripe fruit that is typical for this kind of wines go very well together with the sweet taste of the different marinades and barbecuesauzen.” In practice, this means that: wines from the South of Europe, Latin America, South Africa, Australia,… You can also get to the type of grape: white flavours, grenache, viognier, chardonnay and semmillon more spicily than other types, for red is that, among other things, syrah, shiraz and tempranillo.

If you want no hassle and serve you prefer but one wine? Then you would be able to opt for a rosé. As a fresh and fruity taste, but still quite some tannins contains, he can both light fish dishes such as the lighter meats – such as chicken – guide.

Further, Joachim barbecueplezier take precedence over complicated wines. “A barbecue is not the time to offer guests a complex of discoveries in store – just choose the one suitable white and one appropriate red wine. (…) I can’t say this enough: keep it simple. The weather is beautiful, the atmosphere is loose and exuberant… Fun is paramount and the wine may be a nice way to drink it.”


  • Choose young red wines.
  • Choose a wine with exuberant fruity aromas.
  • Choose a wine with little or no tannins.
  • Cool your wines enough (light red wines), and keep in mind the warm weather.
  • Let your guests just have a whole evening out of the same glass to drink. Fast-forward when they want to change kind of do they do with the water in carafes provides!


The coals smolder after, the belts are a hole opened further and the most entertaining part of the evening has come: the after-dinner conversation. Joachim Boudens is the ideal time to have a nice bottle of beer open to pull. Ideally, choose a bottle of 75 cl, who you socialize together with your friends or family soldier. As a suggestion he gives Rodenbach Vintage, Maredsous or Cornet blond.

What will we drink, Joachim Boudens (Luster, € 29,95) appears on 6 september, along with Unplugged, of Duke Jan-chef Gert De Mangeleer.


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