By Stephanie Mitchell

We can’t stop the inevitable. Days are longer. Temps are higher. For better or worse, the summer scorch is at our door. Ice melts. Humidity thickens the air. Hurricanes demand attention. Air-conditioners hum. Outdoor dining sounds absurd. As the heat drives away anyone with a cooler alternative location, the hearty full-time locals stick it out together — in air-conditioned spaces.

But this is no time for formality. Summertime in the Florida Keys is even more casual than usual. So the next time you have a few friends over for drinks, skip the fancy cheese plate and try some different and decidedly casual wine pairings. (Yes, apparently, people got paid to figure out the following combinations of wine and junk food.)

Here are some of our favorites.  Take a bite followed by a nice sip and let us know what you think. Cheers and enjoy…

French Fries & Champagne

Could anything feel more overindulgent? 

Chilled champagne and fresh, hot, salty fries play perfectly together. 

The sparkling bubbles and acidity in the champs cut through even the greasiest fast food fries.

Popcorn & Chardonnay

If popcorn is your go-to snack, pair it with a Chardonnay.

The butter on the popcorn helps draw out the smooth, buttery undertones of a nice Chard and adds a perfect complement to the popcorn.

Skittles & Sauvignon Blanc

Sounds crazy, but Skittles and wine have a lot in common.

Notes of berry? Check. 

Wide variety of flavors? Check. 

Cure for a rough day? Check.

Guilty pleasure? Oh, yeah.

Pairing the candy rainbow with a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc will highlight the sweet and sour without being overpowering.

Jalapeno Poppers & Riesling

Poppers aren’t just for game day (and they’re readily available to-go at Dion’s and local restaurants if you don’t want to make your own.) 

The sweet finish of a Mosel Riesling is the perfect complement to the spice and cream cheese filling in the popper.

Sour Patch Kids & Rosé

Rosé all day? Why not? We live in the Keys, and if Sour Patch Kids are your sweet-and-sour treat of choice, you’ll find the two go hand in hand. 

Rosé is sweet and dry, yet a bit feisty, and when a sip follows a sour/sugary bite the two meld together in harmony.

For best results, we recommend a dry rosé for this combo.

BBQ Chips & Pinot Noir

Who would have thought to pair barbecue flavoring with a Pinot Noir? We went there, tried it and loved everything about it.

The light-bodied and earthy wine mellows the tangy flavor of the chip, producing a surprisingly savory balance that should not be missed.

Nachos & Malbec

This particular pairing is the author’s favorite. The salty tortilla chips, beans, cheese, guacamole and salsa need a wine that can take on all the textures and flavors without getting lost in the lineup. Enter the Argentinian Malbec. 

The wine’s pure flavor and vibrancy are perfectly equipped to handle even the spiciest kick from a jalapeno.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth, rich, salty and sweet. There just aren’t enough adjectives to explain why this duo is ideal. Peanut butter, chocolate and wine. This trio will win time and time again.