Similar to wine, whisky is meant to be enjoyed in sips, not in a shot glass. The savoury nature of this delicious brown drink has made it a popular pairing with dinner. However, like a good glass of Cabernet, there are some food pairing that works well, and others that should be completely avoided. Read on to discover the foods that pair perfectly with whisky.
The first pairing most whisky lovers will turn to is always whisky and dark chocolate. These juxtaposing flavours complement each other very well. If you have a strong whisky, you should look for chocolates with more cocoa. However, milk chocolates tend to work better with rye whiskies. If you are feeling adventurous, you should invest in orange-flavoured chocolates. The strong citrus notes in some whiskies enhance the orange-chocolate flavour.
The comforting, sweet dessert pairs very well with light, fragrant whiskies. When finding the perfect bottle to pair with your pie, you should look for drinks with a dark caramel flavour. That sweetness complements the rich, cinnamon filling.
If apple pie has too much crust for your taste, you can enjoy a whisky with an apple crumble instead. Add a sweet side of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate dessert. Many people create their own bourbon-caramel sauce on the side, which amplifies the whisky pairing.
Smoked salmon is typically enjoyed on a bagel with cream cheese. If you want the perfect robust brunch combination, smoked salmon and whisky are one dynamic duo. The dark, bitter smokey flavour of the salmon pairs well with whiskies that have a high rye content. The smoke gives the whisky a spicy fruity taste that cuts through the fattiness of the salmon.
Dried Fruit and Nuts
Fruit and nuts: it's a bar-side classic. If you are hosting a cards night at your house, or just want a snack during your nightly drink, dried fruits and nuts are the perfect grabbable pairing. When mixing so many different foods, you have to walk a delicate flavour balance. If you have a lot of salty nuts, you should complement your mixture with light, sweet fruit.
Then, when adding your whisky pairing, look for something that is robust. Similarly, if you have a lot of sweeter nuts, like pistachios, you should look for a strong peaty whisky.
Cheese and alcohol are a pair made in heaven. Many people enjoy a mild cheese plate with red wine. If those flavours tickle your palate, you can take it up a notch by offering strong cheese and whisky. When picking the best bottle, you should lean toward smoky or spiced whiskies. These dark, bitter flavours bring out the salty flavours in strong cheeses.
If your stomach curdles at the thought of strong cheese, you can enjoy a whisky with a more mild cheese as well. Brie pairs beautifully with a sweet whisky. Floral notes in some whisky bottles make mild cheese stand out. Play around with different whisky-cheese combinations to find the best taste for your palate.
If you are having a summer barbecue, you will be the neighbourhood favourite after pulling out a sweet, smokey bottle of whisky. Grilled steaks and whisky are a classic combination. If you are in the mood for a rich, fatty steak, you should look for a deep smoky whisky. For leaner cuts, bourbon is typically the go-to drink.
Steaks aren’t the only red meat that pairs well with whisky. Meatloaf is surprisingly delicious when paired with a full-bodied whisky. The high alcohol content in the spiced drink cuts through the fat in meatloaf. To complement a smoky whisky, lather up your meatloaf with a sweet, spicy barbeque sauce.
While we’re on the topic of barbecue, pull out the whisky the next time you are grilling pork ribs. The sweet, hot flavour of your favourite spice rub will be amplified with the addition of whisky. Realistically, any meat that hits the grill will be enhanced by a whisky pairing. Grilled steaks are the prefered pairing because any steak and whisky combination will taste great. However, if you have a sweet whisky you need to start drinking, pull out the pork ribs for a mind-blowing combination.
Create Your Own Pairing
Your favourite food-whisky pairing will depend on your prefered flavour profiles. However, when creating your own pairing there are a few key ingredients to keep in mind.
Just like any great dish, you should always strive to hit the four main tastes: salt, fat, acid, and heat. If you have a salty, fatty dinner, it will best pair with a spicy, fruity whisky. Similarly, if you are having a sweet dessert or fruit filled dinner, you should pair it with a dark, rich drink.
For delicious whiskies worth pairing with your favourite foods, visit Whisky Loot and explore our range of curated tasting packs.