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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Join the Convo:

  • All four pairings sound delicious! I would go with s’mores and prosecco!

    Have a great week, Hallie!

    • I’m with you! Although I’ll drink Cupcake’s Pinot Noir with pretty much any food pairing… x

  • Grace

    S’mores and cinnamon, where have these popcorn ideas been all my life!? I’m such a sweet popcorn fan, especially since I found out earlier in the year I have coeliac and it’s one of my few favourites I’m still able to eat, and these two sound to die for!

    Diary of a Would-Be Gallerist

    • The s’mores one, right?! It’s so easy — can’t wait to hear what you think! x

  • Sueforfood

    Who among us has had popcorn & wine for dinner? I raise my hand ~ and a glass~ to you Hallie. You’re a blast!

    • Girl, always. Nothing like a good Olivia Pope type of night… Cheers back to you, Sue!

  • This is so great! Definitely bookmarking for chilly nights this winter.

    xo, Laura
    brightandbeautifulblog.com

  • Whoa – such a cool idea. I sometimes used to eat popcorn with nutella or Old Bay seasoning when I interned in college. Not my proudest moments, per se, but ones I look back fondly to. Maybe I’ll have to retry it soon with wine and some fancier flavors – I like the sounds of the parmesan and herb.
    -E

    amie-eo.blogspot.com

    • Oh Old Bay seasoning sounds BOMB. Thanks for sharing!

  • I have a bottle of Cupcake Prosecco in my fridge. Popcorn night sounds like the perfect occasion to pop the bottle open! Maybe with some Scandal episodes on Netflix…

  • YUM! I am a popcorn fanatic and almost always pair it with a glass (or two) of wine. These suggestions are wonderful, can’t wait to try the ‘smore recipe out this week!

    • Me too! Sometimes I’ll get lazy and pick up Smart Food from the grocery store (too easy), but these are really simple and so much healthier. Lemme know what you think of the S’mores one!

  • Kelli Brunson

    This post is actual perfection, especially because when my husband is deployed, popcorn and wine is my dinner more often than I’d like to admit. I can’t wait to have some friends over and try the different flavor combos!

    • Nothing to be ashamed of there. I hope he’s here for the holidays! Wishing you a happy season. x

  • Wine and popcorn? Two of my favorite things!! Love this post 🙂

    http://www.maggiealamode.com

    • Thanks, girl! Me too… Carbs and wine, really. Can’t go wrong. x

  • Alexandra Bellerose

    Such a fabulous post! My best friend and I always end up lounging in front of the TV and inevitably make some popcorn for optimal snacking. Definitely going to try these combos!

    • Best BFF activity there is. What shows are you girls into now? I’m going back through The O.C. on Hulu (lol), so I could use a reco… x

      • Alexandra Bellerose

        Ha! We did some damage with Gilmore Girls in time for the revival and are taking full advantage of all the holiday movies on TV! I never got into The O.C. – maybe a new show for me to binge!

  • Anna Dvorak

    Oh this is so fun! I love their prosecco, it’s one of my go-to’s for a tasty (and budget friendly!) glass of bubbly.

    Picked up a few of their reds last night…a popcorn and wine night might be in store this weekend!

    • Sounds perfect! We’ve got single-digit degrees in Chicago this week/end, so I’ll be doing this exact same. Enjoy your week, Anna!

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