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Like that spirit? Try this wine.

On any given evening, I have no trouble deciding between a peaty Scotch or a bitter-edged Negroni cocktail. But when it comes to the wine list, sometimes I freeze like a deer caught in the headlights.

Thank goodness for the kindness of sommeliers. Often, the best ones will respond to my plea for a recommendation with this question:  “what do you like?”

Instead of answering with one of my usual go-to wines, sometimes I’ll just describe what I like to drink with descriptors like light or crisp. But what if I provided a description of the spirits I enjoy?

As an experiment, I jotted down general descriptions of four spirits (but didn’t identify them), and asked two of my Lot18 wine-expert colleagues to recommend wines for someone who likes each of these profiles. The results were fascinatingly diverse, but all made some innate sense.

My “sommeliers”:

Eric Arnold: Fearless leader of the Lot18 editorial team, author of “First Big Crush

Stephanie McDade: Editrix extraordinaire, WSET educator

Gin:  “Light, botanical, herbal, crisp”

Wine Recommendations:

Eric – Sauvignon Blanc

Stephanie - Albarino (more herbal than botanical), or Marsanne-Roussanne (a White Rhone blend)

Reposado tequila:  “Peppery, floral, lightly honeyed base, with a touch of caramel butteriness”

Wine Recommendations:

Eric - Gewurztraminer

Stephanie - Oaked Sauvignon Blanc/ Chenin Blanc from the Loire (for the honey and floral add over-ripe apple)/ Traditional style Rioja/Gravner’s Anfora!

Bourbon or Cognac:  “Medium body, mellow caramel and vanilla tones, hint of burnt orange peel”

Wine Recommendations:

Eric - Chardonnay

Stephanie - Chardonnay of course! 

Scotch:  Though this whisky has a wide range of flavors, I went with “Bold, smoky, peaty, briny”

Wine Recommendations:

Eric - Syrah

Stephanie - Fino Sherry or Manzanilla - a lighter, brinier style of Fino Sherry made closer to the coast. These lack the smoky character though. Go for a darker sherry for this element - Amontillado, Oloroso, Palo Cortado.