This guide strictly pertains to appetizers for whiskey tasting, not scotch or whisky, as it is spelled in the United Kingdom with the exception of Ireland. If you are interested in food pairings for scotch, then you should read our guide, ‘Appetizers for Scotch Tasting’.
Whiskey in the United States is made from corn, as against malted barley that is the primary composition of scotch whisky in Scotland. American whiskey is also made of rye and wheat. The composition varies from one brand to another. The favorite bourbon must contain more than fifty percent corn for itself to be classified as such. The rest can be malted barley, rye, wheat or a mash of all three. There are other specifics pertaining to proofing, distillation and filtration that define bourbon and also draw the distinction between the popular Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky whiskey. Like scotch whisky, whiskey in America must also be aged and marked appropriately. Obviously then there is a difference in taste, not just from one brand to another but also one year to another.
Unlike scotch, whiskey has a stronger taste and the flavor too is less subtle. Nevertheless, the choice of appetizers for whiskey tasting will have to be largely neutral. The foods or snacks must be able to cleanse the palate and it should not interfere with the taste or flavor of the whiskey. More importantly, it should not unnecessarily make one feel heavy or bloated.
- You can always go with some of the simplest options: peanuts, cashews and almonds. Salted peanuts are a really simple but appropriate snack. Cashews are great as an appetizer but the size of the serving should be limited. Almonds must be served sparsely. You can go for a nuts platter. It looks interesting and is inviting enough.
- You can go for dry fruits. Apricot is the best option, followed by common fig, prune, blueberry and cherry. Papaya is healthy choice, so is persimmon. You should go for date palm if your whiskey has a bold and smoky flavor. Date palm is sweet and it pairs really well with whiskeys that are a tad bitter when you have a neat peg.
- None of the two aforementioned sets of appetizers for whiskey tasting require any extensive preparation or cooking and you are not resorting to processed foods or snacks. Should you be interested in processed snacks, then you may go for cream cheese, nachos and other crisps. Try to avoid potato chips. Instead, go for veggie sticks.
- You can bake if you want. Cookies and brownies are complementing appetizers for whiskey tasting. Bagels are a nice option too. Buy cheese and crackers if you don’t have time to bake. If you have time to cook, then smoked salmon goes really well with bourbons and even rye whiskeys made in America.
- If you are interested in fruits, then slice some apples. Many people like grapes but limit the serving as they tend have an aftertaste that can alter the experience of whiskey tasting. You may safely opt for some green and black olives. Carrots, especially smoked carrots, are a great choice. Celery is a suitable option. Dark chocolate is a perennial favorite.
Fried foods are not suitable appetizers for whiskey tasting. Do not prepare any food that is too spicy or rich in flavor. It will adversely affect the taste of whiskey. Any recipe that is too rich in cheese should also be avoided. Try to avoid dishes that include curb or yogurt, milk or butter. Honey coated munchies are a better alternative. If you must serve protein, choose fish over pork, lamb and beef.