At restaurants that offer a tasting menu or prix-fixe selection, beverage pairings are almost always available as well. In theory, it’s a fun and liberating way to experience drinks that you might otherwise not sample, thoughtfully paired with each dish. Yet many diners have a sneaky suspicion that the beverage director might be using pairings to get rid of inventory that no one was buying, or to boost their own profit margin at the expense of the unwary diner.

That’s the topic of this week’s VinePair podcast, where Adam and Zach use a question from a podcast listener to explore whether you should opt for those pairings, or take your chances with the cocktail, beer, and wine list.

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