6 wine pairings for when your restaurant just won’t behave itself

In a recent blog about her life, Life As A Rambling Red Head revealed her favorite wines to pair with the various disasters that toddlers can wreck upon an otherwise lovely day. It got me to thinking that our restaurants sometimes behave like toddlers. So, I decided to give my favorite pairings for the various disasters visited upon our otherwise lovely days.

Anyone who has ever built a wine list from scratch knows that it’s a highly technical process, but in the end, it has to be about what feels right. The same is true of our list today and I can’t promise it will be limited to wine.

(Edit’s note: These pairings are for entertainment only and we are NOT encouraging you to drink while you are working. That would be dumb and we don’t think you are dumb!)

Get your corkscrews ready.

1. A Rhone Red pairs well with a check that was never wrung in to the POS

This is a multi-front problem. First you have to interrupt the line to expedite the food and second you have to visit the table and beg forgiveness for someone else’s mistake. 

Of course, it’s not directly your fault — even though you are to blame — but that won’t change the look of resigned disgust you get from the guest who waited all week for a meal out and then has to wait a little bit longer. 

The complex flavor created by blending grapes like Grenache and Syrah will whisk you away to the Rhone Valley as you get lit up by the guest and booed by the guys on the line.

2. Riesling is perfect for a poop stained bathroom

We’ve all been there, staring down the barrel of someone else’s low colonic disaster in your bathroom. Between the smell and the fact that you are a real leader and wouldn’t ask your team to manage that alone, the challenge is great. 

Riesling is both fragrant and can be sweet. You will need the residual sugar to hold down your lunch, while you are donning your Hazmat outfit for the job at hand. Sip slowly; this might take a while.

3. Ice Wine will come in handy when your walk-in cooler hits the fritz

After moving everything you can from the offending cooler to alternate refrigeration, begging the HVAC guy to come on a Sunday morning to fix it and worrying that you will lose all that food, you will definitely need a drink. 

Since you wouldn’t want the Ice Wine to go bad — and it’s the coldest wine you can sell — bottoms up. You can also lay it on top of the filet cryopacks to try to keep them cold for a little longer, in case you aren’t really thirsty.

4. A Cabernet with its complex tannins and hints of coffee are the perfect pairing for a close/open

Eight in the morning comes harshly when you just crawled into bed six hours earlier after closing. A little boost of tannic deliciousness coupled with some earthy scents of ground coffee beans and you’ll forget the abuse your body is enduring in the interest of making happy guests.

5. An aged Añejo Tequila is the perfect pairing for the no call, no show

There is perhaps no worse feeling than a staff arrival time coming and going with no word from the missing team member. 

You are faced with some choices. You can dial 911 and file a missing person report. You can grill their known associates on your team answers. Or you can buck up and manage it, just like you do everything else you are faced with daily. You’re a professional manager and you’re proud of it. A little taste of oak barrel aged ambrosia with its hint of caramel and strong nose will give you the strength to go on even in the face of adversity.

6. Champagne, because sometimes we have the perfect shift

What better way to celebrate the triumphs that make the adversity worth enduring than champagne? Effervescent with an undertone of toasted hazel nuts, no beverage pairs better with a perfect inventory week or a fully staffed/trained operation. 

So, go ahead, tip a glass, but remember not until your shift is over!

You may not have any of these suggested beverages available on your list. If you get desperate, you could drink the leftovers from guest drinks, a la Spaulding in Caddyshack, but that’s probably not your best option. Grab that bottle of sample wine that has been sitting on the desk for six months… oh wait, you did that last time it got this bad.

What are your favorite pairings? Tell us and we’ll post the best of them and maybe there will be champagne for the ones that are outstanding. Until then, #BottomsUp!