The active ingredient in spicy food is a small but pesky molecule that activates your pain nerves. The wrong wine can make the effect bigger.
It has been my experience (validated by many experiments with my chemistry pal Dr. Carl – NO hes not the Walter White type!) that a robust dry red will set off the smoke alarm if you’re eating something spicy.
Now I do like my wine but hot and spicy food generally calls for a decent dark beer.
I found that fruity wines or frothy belgian-style beers will work fine and I lean towards whites over reds, because even slightly dry wine can amplify the heat.
Here’s another fun fact Courtesy of Chemical Carl: Tannin and fish oil represent one of the strongest chemical reactions in the food and wine pairing kingdom. Tannin is a bitter, astringent compound found in all red wines and in white wines that have spent time “ageing” in wood. When tannin and fish oil come together, the wine ends up tasting like copper or aluminum foil and the fish tastes fishy. Ever have that happen to you? Well now you know why. When you’re not eatin’ cheese and salami, you gotta change the script.
“Naturally, the oilier the fish and the more tannic the wine, the worse the reaction. It has nothing to do with the color of the wine. A chardonnay that soaks up oak tannins from the barrel, when paired with seafood, can give you a bad case of metal mouth. Conversely, a not so dry red, can work perfectly well with sea fare.
Bring on the Champs Carl! Im cookin’ those Fiery Prawns!