Fruit and whisky? Yes, but… Not all fruits. There’s a delicate balance between fruit and whisky parings that work and the ones that will ruin both the whisky and the fruit. So, what fruits pair well with whisky? Keep reading this article to know which ones are a perfect match!
Depending on the type of whisky, it can have different kinds of flavours. Bourbon is sweeter, Scotch Whisky can be peaty, sweet and fruity and Irish whiskey has endless floral notes. This is why it can be difficult to present just one answer to the question that names this article. One thing is for sure: there are fruits more versatile than others and those will be a safe choice for you when in doubt of what to choose.
When pairing fruit with whisky, you can (almost) never go wrong with nuts, dried fruit and tangy fruits!
If you choose to pair whisky with nuts, mix a bunch of hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts and cashews in a bowl with no salt and find the ones who pair perfectly with the dram you are having.
Another type of fruit that will work well with practically any kind of whisky is dried fruit. Although these are sweeter types of fruit, they will balance spices and bring up a little bit of saltiness to the party. Taste dates, prunes, apricots, peaches and raisins and check out what kind works best for you.
Tangy fruits are the other option to-go when having a fruit and whisky tasting. Go for apples and pears they sure will work!
Next in this article, we will tell you what fruits pair well with whisky, depending on the type of whisky, and how’s the general golden rules when trying to experiment new pairings.
Table of Contents – Sip this article!
- Fruit and Alcohol – How Does it Work?
- What Fruits Pair Well With Whisky? – The Guide Lines
- Fruit and Whisky Pairing – The Best Matches
- Peat’s Beast Batch Strenght Sherry Casks + Pistachios / Dried Apricots
- Glendronach 15 Years Old Revival + Dried Fruit
- Four Roses + Walnuts
- Tullibardine 228 Burgundy Cask + Hazelnuts
- Royal Salute 21 Years Old + Strawberries
- Sazerac Straight Rye + Salted Peanuts
- Midleton Very Rare Barry Crockett Legacy + Mango
- Tenjaku Blended Whisky + Apple / Pear
- Final Thoughts
Fruit and alcohol – How does it work?
The relationship between fruit and alcohol is long-lasting and stays healthy no matter the years that go by.
They are a great couple when mixed in a cocktail, and most fruits even turn into amazing after dinner liquors! They are such a great match; some fruits even help reduce the effects of alcohol. Apples, for instance, help clean your digestive trait and will even reduce the intestine’s inflammation caused by alcohol.
Besides all this, fruit can even enhance an alcohol beverage tasting, such as whisky!
What Fruits Pair Well with Whisky? – The Golden Rules
When it comes to pairing fruit and whisky, there are a few golden rules one should follow to get the most out of this pairing.
No extra flavours
Let the flavours speak for themselves and you’ll be amazed by how fruit and whisky can be a powerful match. By adding “no extra flavours” we actually mean to cut the salt, sugar and other additives on the fruits you choose. At least for the first taste.
Following this golden rule means that you won’t be overpowering your tastebuds with too much flavours for them to handle as well as no changing the whisky flavours.
Start with plain nuts instead of those mixes that are already seasoned with salt, spice, honey or other flavours. We will explain you better in the next section.
About Nuts and Dried Fruit
Regarding what fruits pair well with whisky, nuts and dried fruit are among the best food and whisky pairings one can ever get. Both of them will bring out some of the whisky’s hidden flavours, but the dried fruit will add much more complexity to the mix.
The nuts and whisky pairing allow you to have a no fail whisky tasting. These types of fruit won’t overpower the whisky flavours and, if you play them correctly, they will make you taste a lot more than expected in your dram.
For instance, you might want to pair bitter nuts with sweeter whiskeys and sweeter nuts with more strong and complex whiskies. Put together some pistachios and a strong, peaty scotch whisky and you will see what is a fire up pairing this is. If you are a fan of smoky, but not peated whisky, you might want to put this kind of dram together with roasted peanuts or roasted almonds.
When pairing dried fruit with whisky, know that they will add more complexity to your dram. Since they have almost no water and much more sugar, the most hidden flavours in a whisky, such as licorice, pineapple or even the lighter floral flavour notes.
Avoid Citric Fruit
When answering the question “what fruits pair well with whisky?”, it is easier to say what fruits not to pair with this spirit. And the whole Citric class is to avoid.
This kind of fruit has a lot of juice with a strong flavour that will mix with the whisky and overpower it. When mixing these two, neither you will taste the hidden flavours of whisky, neither the citric fruit will taste better. And, the more acidic it is, the longer it will take for you to be able to taste the whisky again.
Strawberries are a game changer
Yes, you read it: strawberries – especially when pairing with a light and floral whisky, such as any Speyside Scotch Whisky expression. Strawberries are not too juicy and neither are they too sour. The sweeter and fresher the strawberry, the better it will play with vanilla and balance any spice notes, such as clove.
How Flavours Change
When tasting whisky, you should know how flavours change in order to be on the right track to find the most perfect combination.
Having something sweet while sipping a dram will bring up the salt in the whisky and balance any spice the spirit might have.
The bitter flavours (like in dark chocolate), however, will balance the sweet and salty notes.
If you feel like enhancing the saltiness and balance the sweetness and spice, taste your whisky with something sourer, like some berries and apricots.
Salty foods, like some cheeses, will bring all the other flavours of the whisky up, especially, the sweeter ones.
Combining Fruit Flavours
One of the many things we know about whisky is that most of the expressions will have at least on fruit flavour. Some have nutty flavours, others have hints of apples, some are more citric, and some are full of berries in their character. It all depends on the types of casks where a whisky is matured in, since they get most of the flavours from the barrels.
There are a lot of whisky expressions (especially in terms of Scotch Whisky), that are aged in ex-bourbon and / or ex-sherry casks. Knowing that ex-bourbon casks whiskies have more fresh-fruits and nutty flavours, one should play with more exotic kinds of fruit, such as mango, coconut, papaya, pineapple and almonds.
On the other hand, ex-sherry casks whisky gives it a berry and almond take. With this in mind, dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots, will be a great match to this type of whisky.
Fruit and Whisky Pairings – The Best Matches
Peat’s Beast Batch Strength Sherry Cask Single Malt Scotch + Pistachios / Dried Apricots
The name of this Scotch whisky brand says it all. Rooted with the Scottish tradition to dry the barley using peat, Peat’s Beast has heavily peated and smoky range of whiskies.
This expression – the Peat’s Beast Batch Strength Sherry Cask is one of the most complex expressions in the range, since it embodies the aromatic peat smoke with a little bit of saltiness and the sweet flavour notes that come from 9 months of maturation in Pedro Ximenez Sherry Casks.
As for what fruits pair well with whisky, such a complex dram will pair perfectly with pistachios. As this nut is pretty sweet, it will bring up the salty seaweed flavour and balance the spiciness present in the peat smoke. Also, as it has a subtle flavour, it won’t overpower your whisky.
Glendronach 15 Years Old Revival + Dried Fruit
Being a master in Sherry Cask maturation, Glendronach’s single malts are rich in sweet flavour notes with dark berries and chocolate in the mix. The Glendronach 15 Years Old Revival is not different from the others in the range and it is one of the most looked for dram of this Highland brand.
Sweeter flavour notes in a whisky ask for a fruit pairing that can live up to that sweetness. Dried fruit will be the perfect match for this scotch whisky expression, since it will bring up hidden flavour notes in the dram, such as the herbal hints and make the manuka honey flavour shine.
Four Roses + Walnuts
Filled with passion, the Four Roses Bourbon is a smooth dram that will make you mellow. It the right fruit combination, it will make you want more and more. We’ve putted Four Roses and walnuts together for an unlikely duo, but we are sure you will love it.
Four Roses is gentle Bourbon Whiskey with a long and smooth finish. In the palate, one can taste the sweet notes such as honey and a lot of fresh fruit flavour notes. With the bitterness of the walnuts, the sweeter flavours will be brought to a balance as it will bring up the apples and pears’ flavours.
Tullibardine 228 Burgundy Cask Finish + Hazelnuts
Going from Summer to Autumn with just one pairing. Tullibardine is as fresh as a scotch whisky can get and the hazelnuts will take you to the first days of autumn.
The Tullibardine 228 Burgundy cask is matured in Pinot Noir Chateau de Chasssagne-Montrecht which gives it the summer flavours such as berries, while continuing to be a nuttier whisky – as a brand signature.
Regarding what fruits pair well with whisky, pairing this spirit with hazelnuts will bring up the nut flavour present on the whisky and highlight its spicy finish.
Royal Salute 21 Years Old + Strawberries
Developed to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, The Royal salute is truly an exquisite whisky brand with remarkable blended scotch whisky expressions.
The Royal Salute 21 Years Old is connected to the traditions around the coronation, being one of them the 21-gun-salute. With a royal character, this is a warm and round dram, with orange and pears flavours, but also hints of hazelnuts, spices and light smoke in the finish.
Pairing this dram with strawberries is a bold statement and an amazing choice. When it comes to what fruits pair well with whisky, strawberries will work most of the times. With the Royal Salute, they will balance the spice flavour notes, as they will bring up the sweeter and fruitier notes present on the whisky.
Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey + Salted Peanuts
With the history of New Orleans on its back, Sazerac carries the flavour and tradition of the Big Easy like no other spirit. The Straight Rye is the one and only and has quite a few unique flavours that distinguish it from other Rye whiskeys.
The Sazerac Straight Rye has a smooth body and one can find sweet and fresh flavour notes, as well as citrus and spices. Regarding what fruit pairs well with whisky like Sazerac rye, we thought salted peanuts could make magic with this dram.
The nutty flavours from the peanuts will bring up some of the clove and anise notes and, being them salty, the whisky will get even sweeter.
Midleton Very Rare Barry Crockett Legacy + Mango
Looking for a premium Irish Whiskey? Midleton Very Rare is the name. The Barry Crockett Legacy was named after the master distiller of this brand, who worked with pot stills and created delicate and elegant whiskey expressions.
The Midleton Very Rare Barry Crockett Legacy is a light and fresh Irish whiskey, with citrus flavour notes such as mandarin oranges and limes. It also has hints sweet vanilla and cinnamon, as well as light oak and pepper notes.
With mango as a match for this whiskey, the fruitier notes will be highlighted and, as it is a sweet fruit, it will balance the pepper and cinnamon flavours.
Tenjaku Blended Whisky + Apple and Pear
As Japanese as a Japanese whisky can be. The Tenjaku Blended Whisky is a dram with a mellow and balanced character that will match perfectly with apples of pears, the tangy couple that answers to the question “what fruits pair well with whisky”.
Tenjaku Blended Whisky has a round body with a particular grain taste. One can also feel aromas of pears and dried fruit and there is some spiciness and sweeter flavour notes.
For this balanced dram, we suggest pairing it with apples or pears. These fruits will not overpower the whisky, as they wrap together all the flavours and aromas of the spirit.
Pairing fruit and whisky is, definitely, not a usual match when in a whisky tasting. However, they can work together pretty well. The big question is: what fruits pair well with whisky. And, for that we gave you some good options.
The most common fruit pairing are apples and pears. Tangy fruit, in general, will match any whisky you choose, given that these fruits are not too sour neither they have a lot of juice to sabotage your whisky tasting. Strawberries are also a safe bet, knowing that a whisky is more floral and fruitier.
Another safe bet in terms of pairing fruit with whisky is nuts and dried fruit. As the nuts won’t overpower your whisky, the dried fruit with bring some complexity to the pairings, as they balance the sweeter and enlighten some hidden flavour notes.