Appetizers for Scotch Tasting
All scotch is whisky but not all whisky is scotch. It is similar to the distinction between champagne and sparkling wine. Scotch is whisky made in Scotland. Everything from distillation to ageing, filtering, if any, to bottling, is to be done in Scotland.
Scotch is made from malted barley. Whiskey, as it is spelled in the United States, is made from corn. Rye and wheat are also used in many whiskeys. These are not scotch, neither is Bourbon nor Tennessee whiskey. Irish whiskey isn’t scotch either. Indian whisky is mostly made from molasses and it doesn’t qualify as whiskey or whisky according to the globally accepted standards. When you ask for whisky in London or elsewhere in England, you will be served scotch. The same goes for all of Scotland. But if you ask for whiskey in Ireland, you will be served Irish whiskey and not scotch. The scenario is much simpler in the United States. You ask for whiskey, you get whiskey, which could be bourbon. If you want scotch, you ask for it specifically.
The reason why we discussed the variants of scotch and whisky is because they have a bearing on the choice of appetizers. Fortunately, there are plenty of appetizers for scotch tasting. Unfortunately, not every appetizer goes with every type of scotch. Let us delve into these variances for a while.
Laphroaig is smoky and has a bold flavor. Glenmorangie is sweet. Glenlivet is woody, almost chocolaty and musty. Glenfiddich is oaky and has a strong flavor. Macallan has a wide range of taste, especially as you switch from ten year to twelve year and beyond. It is needless to point out that the same appetizers will not go well with all these fine brands of scotch whiskies. You don’t want to overwhelm the flavor of the scotch, you don’t want to have a bitter aftertaste as all these scotches must be drank neat, maybe with ice if it is hot outside, and you certainly don’t want to have a mishmash that leaves you neither elated nor disappointed.
- Cheese is one of the safest appetizers for scotch tasting. Go for a strong cheese, perhaps Roquefort, if you have a smoky scotch. Go for softer cheeses, perhaps brie, if you have a sweet scotch. You can throw in some cheddar, havarti, Gouda and Swiss cheese on a platter so your guests can pick what they like.
- Chocolate goes well with most scotch whiskies. Avoid milk chocolates and candies. Go for dark chocolate. You want to savor the taste of the whisky, which will be ruined if you go for chocolates that are unnecessarily sweet.
- Fruits are healthy appetizers for scotch tasting but stay confined to pears and apples. Do not go for oranges or grapes and any other citrus fruit. These fruits will ruin the scotch in your mouth and will cause havoc inside.
- You can always have some munchies to get the party started. Do not go for the calorie rich potato chips or other snacks that will weigh you down. Choose rye chips, sesame chips and rice crackers. A bowl of humble salted peanuts will also be perfect.
You may be tempted to go for pork ribs or lamb chops, barbecue chicken or grilled fish. None of these are appetizers for scotch tasting. You can serve them later or avoid them altogether. The dominating flavors and spices in each of these recipes will completely run over the fine taste of scotch. Even if you are not indulging in some rare single malt, you would want to relish the scotch more than you want to treasure the appetizers.