Five Drinks That Pair Perfectly With Doner Kebabs

If you’ve read my post on how to make delicious doner kebabs at home that everyone will love, you’ll probably already be planning a great night in for your friends and family. Here I want to share with you five drinks that pair perfectly with your homemade doner kebab feast.

I’m going to offer the actual drinks that I favour but, of course, you are free to choose your own brands that better suit your palette. Feel free to experiment based on the tasting notes provided.

Without any pretensions of being an expert, I’d like to share my approach to drinks pairing. This isn’t something greatly new or novel that I can claim to have invented or come up with myself; it’s just a slightly different way of looking at existing and established wisdom. We all know, I’m sure, that the general advice when it comes to choosing drinks is to aim for those that won’t overpower the flavours in the meal. Thinking the other way around, we are also told not to pick a drink with flavours so light and delicate that any strong flavours in the meal will be overpowered. All this is sage advice, but it’s looking at drinks pairing in a negative way, defensively so to speak. It is more of a caution than advice. So what’s my way of doing things?

Simply, instead of trying to avoid a drinks disaster, I look at what extra flavours I want to add to a particular dish to make it even more delicious. A strong curry, for example, is complemented by ginger and citrus flavours, according I’ll pair this with Fentimans Ginger Beer, or if I’m having alcohol, Juniper IPA. There isn’t a danger in overpowering the dish because I am thinking about flavours I want in the meal. If I wouldn’t add a flavour during the cooking process, I won’t add it via the drink pairing. It’s as simple as that.

At the end of the day, the ‘perfect’ drink to pair with any dish is the one that tastes the best for you. Below, I have given the actual products that I buy, but as I said previously, any other brands that follow the taste profile can easily be substituted.

My top 5 drinks to pair with kebabs of all kinds

For many people, the only drink they think of when it comes to kebabs is beer. It’s true that beer does go exceptionally well with doner kebabs but that doesn’t mean any beer will do. Some pair better than others. In my list below, I have included three beers that pair particularly well with doner kebabs. So, I begin with the beers, then offer a wine choice and end with a non-alcoholic option.

Efes Draught Lager 5.0%

Turkey’s best-selling beer. My local Turkish restaurant must serve thousands of these distinctive beer-barrel shaped bottles a week (and not just to me, before you ask). The carbonation is not too strong, so there’s no problem filling yourself up with gas and spoiling your appetite. The predominant flavour is honey although this isn’t too strong, more of a hint of sweetness.

Fourpure Citrus Session IPA 4.0%

Citrus flavours pair really well with kebabs of all sorts. This offering from the Fourpure Brewing Co. has a distinctive tangerine flavour that adds a novel but delicious dimension to the meal. The company also offers a stronger, 5.9%, citrus IPA with more of an orangey flavour. If you enjoy what the session IPA brings to the table then you can ‘level up’ to the stronger version.

St. Austell Proper Black 6.0%

At first glance the jet black colour of this IPA makes it look like a stout. However, this beer is black, very back. As you may know, Guinness, although it appears dark, is actually more like red in colour. Hold a glass up to the light if you don’t believe me. Back to black: Proper Black provides an almost chocolatey-coffee flavour but real coffee that has a fruity aftertaste, not a cup of instant!

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet 14.5%

This is my go-to red if I’m serving wine with my kebabs. At around £9.00 a bottle, it’s nothing fancy but it always goes down well with my guests and pairs exceptionally well with my homemade doner kebabs. What you’re looking for in a wine to pair with kebabs is a full-bodied red with dark fruit flavours and Penfolds delivers.

Bundaberg Ginger Beer

If you’ve already read my posts on ginger beers then you’ll know how much I like this ginger beer. On alcohol-free nights, ginger beer is a refreshing and satisfying alternative to beer. Unlike Coke or other soft drinks, ginger beer provides additional flavours that add to the overall taste profile of the meal. Ginger pairs really well with kebabs and, if you haven’t tried ginger beer with a meal, I really do urge you to try it.