I’m not one of those people who pays a lot of attention to pairing the right food with the appropriate drink. Call me uncommon (ha-ha), but to me, rum often goes well with anything… including spaghetti.
It’s like my food cravings operate separate and apart from what I feel like drinking, an iron stomach much stronger in essence than it is in outward appearance, supporting the whole misguided mélange.
My strange, some say disgusting flexibility in this area extends across most everything I ever feel like eating with one very notable exception… roti.
BY FAR, THE GREATEST DISH KNOWN TO MANKIND (at least to me), roti is so supremely special that it deserves just the right drink. My criteria:
- It has to be cold and ultra-refreshing to balance the roti’s spicy-hot flavor.
- It has to be sweet for the very same reasons.
- It has to have roots in Trinidad & Tobago, just like roti itself.
- It has to be red, you know, because the best sugary-sweet drinks always are.
For these reasons, I humbly submit Sorrel Shandy Carib as the ideal drink pairing for roti. Why? Let’s work our way back up the checklist…
As you can plainly see in the photo above, Sorrel Shandy Carib is red. In fact, it’s an extreme, almost impossible red that I find intoxicating upon sight! (Check). It’s also made by the Carib Brewery, Ltd., which as you may recall from this post, is 100% Trini. (Check). Sweetness? This stuff is so sugarific that my wife always calls it Shandy Candy. This super-sweetness also means that it’s best enjoyed ice-cold, a condition that allows the drink’s truly refreshing character to shine. (Check and check).
A shandy, of course, is not a drink that’s unique to the Caribbean. Different names are often used in different parts of the world, but essentially a shandy is almost always a combo of beer and carbonated juice, in this case, my Christmas favorite, sorrel.
Yes, I said beer, and no, this isn’t the Friday Happy Hour. That’s ‘cuz there’s generally such scant levels of beer in shandy that in some parts of the world it’s not even considered an alcoholic beverage. I’m not sure how it’s classified in the Caribbean, but at only 1.2% alcohol by volume, we’re calling Sorrel Shandy Carib a soft drink, albeit one that’s just for grown-ups.
Paired with a steaming hot roti, Sorrel Shandy Carib is pure heaven. The two just balance each other so perfectly, each spicy sting of curry on your tongue cooled sweetly. Yeah, it’s infectious, to say the least!
They have a saying in the twin-island nation that spawned my favorite food + drink combo: Trinidad, nice. Tobago sweet. It’s a simple notion that drives at the heart of what makes my parents’ home country so worth your visit. They’re very different islands in terms of size, topography, available experiences and more, but they complement each other so extremely well that a stop in one surely begets a visit to the other.
Just like Trinidad and Tobago, roti (nice) and Sorrel Shandy Carib (sweet) are simply perfect together.