Some things are better together

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Grab a glass but hold the milk; there are plenty of alternatives for washing down all those holiday cookies. Douglass Miller, an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., offers some unexpected cookie and drink pairings.

RUM BALLS WITH A DARK AND STORMY COCKTAIL: "Rum in the drink and rum in the candies, what else do you need?" says Mr. Miller. To make a Dark and Stormy, mix 2 ounces of dark rum with 3 ounces of ginger beer. Serve over ice.

SNICKERDOODLES WITH CREAM SODA: The cinnamon sugar sprinkled on the cookies pairs well with the vanilla in the soda, especially when the cookies are dunked.

SHORTBREAD AND SPARKLING WINE: A dry Champagne cuts through the rich, buttery flavor of the cookie.

MOLASSES COOKIES WITH HOT SPICED APPLE CIDER: In this combination, the spices in the cider stand up to the rich molasses in the cookie.

LACE COOKIES WITH A LATE-HARVEST RIESLING: Like lace cookies, a late-harvest riesling is light and delicate. The wine's peach and apricot flavors also work well here.

MAPLE OATMEAL COOKIES WITH AN OATMEAL STOUT BEER: The oatmeal adds a touch of sweetness to the beer, a nice match for the sweetness of the cookies, says Mr. Miller. The cookies themselves have a chewy texture, which also pairs well with the rich texture of the beer.

GINGERBREAD WITH VOYANT CHAI CREAM LIQUEUR: This liqueur stands up nicely to the dark molasses and ginger in the cookies. Serve the liqueur over ice or in coffee.

SUGAR COOKIES WITH DEMI-SEC CHAMPAGNE: The bubbles in this sweet sparkling wine go wonderfully with the crunchy sugar coating on the cookies.

LINZER COOKIES WITH CLEAR CREEK LOGANBERRY LIQUEUR: The fruity flavor of the liqueur goes well with the nutty flavor of the cookie dough and the berry filling. Serve the liqueur chilled.

POPCORN BALLS WITH A FARMHOUSE BELGIUM ALE: This is a play on the baseball classic, popcorn and beer, Mr. Miller says. A farmhouse Belgium ale, which has a fruity flavor and aroma, would cut the sweetness of the popcorn ball without over powering it.


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