The Four Best Wine & Popcorn Pairings for Your Next Girls' Night

Four Wine & Popcorn Pairings for Your Next Girls’ Night

You need to try these four delicious, easy-to-make popcorn & wine pairings.

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us – and by that, I don’t quite mean Christmas (just yet)… The return of winter television!

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Whether it’s a friend’s apartment or my own humble abode, one of my favorite cool climate activities is curling up in sweats and catching up on my favorite TV shows. And with sub-zero temperatures blanketing Chicago this week, that’s likely the only social activity I’ll be planning…

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If you’re anything like me (slash human in general), snacking and prime time television go hand-in-hand.

For me, the go-to is always popcorn… And wine, obvs.

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As a result — and in relevant, true Olivia Pope fashion — I’m partnering up with my friends at Cupcake Vineyards to ensure you’re ready to host (or contribute to) your next wine and Pope-corn (lol) pairing.

First off, let me just say: I had to do a lot of research (and taste-testing!) for today’s post, as wine pairings haven’t always been my flavorful forte. I drink a lot of it, sure; but appropriately balancing it with a sweet-or-salty side-dish? Who knew there was such a science behind this? As a winter weekday homebody, though, I decided to add it to my culinary bucket list.

chicago fashion blogger shares cute-ideas-for-hosting-a-wine-night-or-girls-night-in

For each of these recipes, I’d recommend using an air-popper (versus store-bought, pre-packaged popcorn) as it’s a lot healthier.

Another trick is to pop your popcorn kernels in the microwave — put a few tablespoons (4-5) in a brown paper bag and add a teaspoon of oil. Then fold it up, shake gently and keep it upright, microwaving until you hear 2-3 seconds between popping sounds (usually around 2.5 minutes).

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Now, twist off the cork, pop some, err, corn, and let’s get set to savor the lip-smacking possibilities… Consider it handled.

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Four Easy to make, Must-Try Wine & Popcorn Pairings

1. Classic Butter
Pair with: Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon

For some of us, it’s the more butter the better. (Movie theater-style, anyone?) A full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with lots of juicy red fruit is your best bet here. The one I’ve featured below from Cupcake Vineyards has fruity notes of blackberry and dark cherry — it’s really easy to drink and has a smooth, silky finish.

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2. S’mores Popcorn
Pair With: Cupcake Prosecco

The name says it all… And honestly, how didn’t we think of this sweet combo sooner? It’s so freakin’ easy — and delicious. The addition of melted marshmallows, graham cracker crust, and chocolate chips is ah-mazing.

food blogger shares how-to-make-homemade-smores-popcorn healthy food blogger on how-to-make-healthy-smores-popcorn-snacks cupcake-wine-mini-champagne-bottles

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Pop your popcorn kernels in an air popper (or using my brown paper bag in the microwave trick) and spread them in an even layer onto a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper.
  2. Sprinkle semi-sweet chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and crushed graham cracker.
  3. Place in the oven under the broiler for two or three minutes — until the chocolate melts and the marshmallows begin to brown.
  4. Remove, let cool and serve immediately with a crisp-tasting Prosecco.

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3. Parmesan Herb Popcorn
Pair with: Cupcake Pinot Noir

Surprisingly, this was one of my favorite flavor pairings — and maybe it’s because this Pinot Noir is my favorite from the Cupcake Vineyards family. (When it comes to red wine, I love a hint of spice.)  Herb-infused popcorn seasoned with fresh parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme tastes ah-mazing when served alongside a sweet red, though a crisp white or sparkling wine would work too. Pick up some Marcona almonds to add a little extra crunch to the mix.

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4. Cinnamon & Sea Salt Popcorn
Pair with: Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc

Cinnamon is delicious, but it’s also great to combine with carbohydrate or starchy snacks (like popcorn) because of its natural ability to balance your body’s blood sugar.

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I love the combination of sweet and salty, and this easy recipe definitely doesn’t disappoint. It’s simple, easy to make and delicious. Just air-pop your popcorn, toss with a little olive oil and each spice (adding more according to your taste).

I should add: I’m not normally a white wine drinker, but this one’s natural zest and acidity makes it very drinkable — regardless of the season.

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And if the aforementioned popcorn styles aren’t your forte, here’s two more options to consider:

  • Craving a fist-full of fluffy white cheddar-flavored popcorn? Cheese-flavored popcorn pairs well with anything — in my opinion — but best, accordingly, to a flavorful Pinot Noir.
  • If you’d prefer a healthier air-popped version, this pairs well with lightly chilled sparkling wines, such as Cupcake’s crisp-tasting Prosecco. Drizzle your kernels with a dash of sea or truffle salt (if you’d like) hot off the stove and serve immediately. Warm, crunchy and a bit ‘o bubbly.

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*Shop similar sweaters:

Lastly, here are a few ideas and general rules of thumb to help you further create the ideal (i.e. Instagram’able, duh) Girls’ Night environment:

  • Use placeholders to inform guests of what’s what. Mine are from Crate & Barrel, but these copper styles from CB2 are adorable.
  • If your living space could use an upgrade, up the ambiance with texture — think furry throw pillows, textured blankets and candles. Cozy!
  • Rather than paper towels, use cute linen napkins like these — the last thing you want is white cheddar fingerprints on those brand new silk throw pillows. Linen napkins are easy to wash, create less of a carbon footprint and will feel a little bit fancier in your guests’ hands. (Go with a festive set like these for the holidays. Sur La Table has a ton of options, but I like this style that’s on sale.)
  • If you’re gonna freeball the pairings, it’s all good: Just make sure your wine is sweeter than your food.
  • If you’re planning to do more than one pairing, it’s recommended to start from lightest to the darkest. So start with a crisp prosecco before you get into a heartier cab, for example.

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Shop | Essentials:

Brass coaster set, $28
Monogrammed cocktail napkins, $68
Holiday paper napkins (set of 20), $18

Plaid table runner (rectangle), $18 (on sale!)
Copper placeholders (set of four), $9.95
Stainless steel placeholder (set of four), $7.95
Holiday appetizer plates (set of four), $28

Mr & Mrs stemless wine glasses, $26
Brass coaster set, $28

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Iron & Honey Photography

Thanks to Cupcake Vineyards for partnering on this post. All opinions are, of course, my own.

©2016 Cupcake Vineyards, Livermore, CA

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