Whisky may be a great stand-alone beverage, but it also makes a great companion to meals that are rich in flavor. The combination of the grain flavors in whisky with the taste of certain savory and sweet foods can make a flavor explosion. So, what to eat with whisky? That’s what you’ll find out in this article.
Meats, cheeses, seafood, and chocolate/desserts are some of the best food choices to pair with a whisky. But which kinds of meat, cheese, seafood, and chocolate pair best with, say, light versus full bodied whiskies?
In this article, we’re suggesting some great food choices when it comes to medium, light, and full-bodied whisky. Keep reading to get insight into the specifics.
Table of Contents – Sip this article!
- What to Eat with Whisky?
- Final Thoughts
When talking about what to eat with whisky, one does not immediatly think about a whole meal. However, whisky is, in truth, meat’s best friend. If you’re going to pair a savory dish with your drink, then you might consider a flavorful steak, cut of pork, cured meat, lamb chop, or even the national dish of Scotland known as haggis.
Most of the time, you won’t be pairing white meat, such as chicken, or even a turkey breast with whisky, as fattier meats compliment the drink better.
However, if you prefer white meat for its relative health factor, then you might consider seasoning it in order to compliment the flavor notes in your whisky.
Light Whisky and Meat Pairing
Let’s start with the milder, lighter blends of whisky. If you prefer a scotch with lighter flavor notes, then you might be drinking a Bladnoch from the Lowlands or a fruity, spicier light whisky from the Scottish Highlands.
In terms of light bodied whiskies, you’re better off choosing a more flavorful mean – even better if it is extra spicy or rich in seasonings. Some people opt to eat roasted game meat with their light whiskies, such as a roasted duck breast, which pairs well with fruity flavors.
Medium Whisky and Meat Pairing
If you prefer a medium bodied whisky, on the other hand, then you may opt for a meat that’s seasoned to compliment the malty, sweet, fruity, and nutty flavors of the drink.
For example, medium bodied whiskies like Aberlour and Glenlivet pair well with lamb meat, in true Scotch fashion. Whether you try lamb chops or a savory mutton dish, medium bodied whiskies compliment the robust, grassy, and fatty flavor of this type of meat.
Other meat options that go well with medium bodied whiskies include cured pork, such as prosciutto. You might even pair a Scotch Whisky such as Glenlivet with a seasoned roast pork dish for the ultimate flavor fusion.
Full Bodied Whisky and Meat Pairing
Full bodied whisky is known for its rich flavors and intensity. Single-malt Scotch whisky of this distinction, such as Laphroaig, is best paired with some kind of grilled or smoked savory meat dish.
A popular choice is the ribeye steak cut or the New York Strip steak cut, although those on a budget might also pair this kind of whisky with meatloaf for its fatty content.
Or, if you opt for a Sherry-matured whisky such as Macallan, then you might choose an elk meat dish or a deer steak (venison steak). The flavors of red meat work well in combination with the rich flavor profile of heavier whiskies.
Discover the best way to pair Macallan Whisky specifically, here: https://www.whiskyflavour.com/blog/powerful-the-macallan-and-food-pairings/
We love to pair cheese with wine, but, regarding what to eat with whisky, this treat is also a great option. The smoky flavors of certain cheeses really compliment the notes in certain Scotch blends.
But depending on the intensity of your whisky choice, we have different recommendations for cheese. The flavor of your whisky choice also affects what kind of cheese you’d ideally want to pair with it.
Light Whisky and Cheese Pairing
Cheeses such as Isle of Mull Cheddar may be a good choice to pair with a light whiskey like Tobermory since the cheese has a sharp and savory, fruity tang to it. In fact, this cheese gets some of its flavors from its cow’s consuming grain that is also used in the Tobermory whisky distillery nearby. Talk about a match made in heaven!
If you prefer a smokier, spicier light bodied whisky (such as Bowmore Scotch), you might instead pair it with blue cheese or a rich, gorgonzola-styled cheese.
And the sweeter blends of light whisky pair well with cheeses such as an English-produced Wensleydale crumbly cheese.
Medium Whisky and Cheese Pairing
Medium bodied whiskies are a bit more versatile when it comes to the kinds of cheese that suit them. With medium bodied whisky blends, such as the classic Glenrothes single malt Scotch whisky, you might choose a French cow’s milk cheese like Comté cheese.
This Jura Massif regional cheese comes from unpasteurized dairy and is usually hard, firm, or crystalline in texture. An older Comté cheese is especially good with whisky since it will be nutty, smoky, and fruity in taste.
Another popular medium bodied whisky – the nutty Glen Spey – is a good choice if you prefer milder or softer cheeses like Brie or Brie with honey.
Camembert-style cheeses would also pair well with medium bodied whiskies.
Cheese to Eat With Full Bodied Whisky
If it’s a full bodied whisky you want to pair with a cheese plate, then you might consider a hard blue cheese. Smoky blends of Scotch go particularly well with blue cheeses.
Further, certain full bodied whiskies, such as rye whiskey, make ideal companion drinks for hard and rich cheeses, like Gouda and Camembert (respectively).
Because full bodied whiskies tend to have denser flavors and an earthy taste, you want a cheese that’s somewhat sweet or nutty (like Gouda, for example). Gouda especially goes well when paired with Laphroaig single malt whisky since both have a smoky taste to them.
Seafood is another delicious option regarding what to eat with whisky. This is mainly due to their light and savory flavors paired with unique textures.
Whether you prefer light, full bodied, or medium style whisky, there is a shellfish or fish out there that’s perfect for you.
Light Whisky and Seafood Pairing
What’s great about light whiskies is that they are the kind of whisky that naturally goes great with seafood, almost like it happens with lighter wines, such as white or green. Add in some spice and flavor to your fish, and you’ll have an amazing combo of flavors.
Light whiskies tend to be slightly sweeter and fruitier than the full bodied whiskies, and because of that, you want to pair them with a milder fish. You could even choose a smoked white fish, or opt for some seared scallops or lightly seasoned prawns.
You could even marry your favorite sushi, such as a California Roll, or even some sashimi slices, with a light bodied whisky. And the pairing will be even better if you can get your hands on a light Japanese whisky like Toki Blended Whisky.
Seafood to Eat With Medium Whisky
For the medium bodied whiskies, you are at a sort of middle ground where different flavor and texture combinations can work. For example, the slightly sweet and fruity, yet still smoky and nutty flavors of Balblair and Tamnavulin whiskies are versatile.
You could go for steamed mussels or sauteed scallops. On the other hand, you might want a stronger flavor with your seafood to compliment the whisky, such as grilled freshwater fish (bass or trout, for example).
The main thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to go too salty or too sweet with your medium bodied whisky pairing.
Seafood to Eat With Full Bodied Whisky
On the other hand, full bodied whiskies like rye whisky are a great match for dishes like smoked salmon. The denser, more intense flavors of the blends in full bodied whisky require a smokier flavor combination.
You might consider grilling or blackening some salmon or mackerel, or even selecting sardines, to go with a full bodied whisky like Lagavulin or Talisker whisky. Or, you could pair them with a well-seasoned seafood bake or pasta dish with a rich and savory seafood sauce.
Lobster, or even a surf ‘n’ turf meal of steak and lobster, would also be a good choice to pair with full bodied whiskies if you aren’t restricted by a budget.
Last but not least, it’s important to know which sweets go best with different kinds of whisky, just as much as it is to know about the entrees. Some desserts and sweets even include different types of whisky in their recipes, whether cooked down or left in their alcoholic form.
Certain desserts and chocolates are especially complimentary to whisky, but which ones are best suited to the different intensities of the alcohol? Let’s explore below.
Chocolate/Desserts to Eat With Light Whisky
First off, lighter bodied whiskies, with their fruitier and milder flavors, make a great marriage with lighter chocolates.
If you pair a dark chocolate or even a flavored dark chocolate with light bodied whisky, you might notice that the whisky’s flavor gets overpowered by the strong chocolate flavor and bitterness. Instead, opt for milk chocolates to go with whiskies such as Tobermory and Glenkinchie.
As for desserts, light whiskies pair well with fruity desserts or those with unique flavors, like apple crumble, apple turnover, or apple pie. These flavors work especially well together if your whisky has some notes of caramel or fruit.
Chocolate/Desserts to Eat With Medium Whisky
If you’re going to have a more medium bodied whisky, such as Glenrothes or Old Fettercairn, your chocolate choices are vast. Some people prefer a blend of milk chocolate or plain milk chocolate, while others like the bitterness of dark chocolates. Either way, chocolate is a good pair for whisky in general, so you can’t go too wrong here.
Ice cream is another nice dessert option to have with medium bodied whisky, especially if you want a cold dessert. Depending on the ice cream flavor, it could be milder or bolder in comparison to your whisky.
You might also try pairing your medium whisky with chocolate mousse or cinnamon-flavored desserts.
Chocolate/Desserts to Eat With Full Bodied Whisky
With the more intense, full bodied whiskies, you want to instead turn to the dark chocolate varieties. And if you can get a spiced chocolate, such as chili-flavored chocolate, this will also pair well with a full bodied, spicy whisky.
In terms of dessert foods, you’d want to drink a full bodied whisky with a sweet pie or cobbler. Desserts containing the following flavors are also ideal to have with a glass of full whisky:
- Toffee nut
- Salted caramel
This is why many people serve full bodied whiskies with creme brulee and cheesecakes, as they carry those buttery flavor notes.
Have you ever wanted to order the perfect meal to go with your favorite whisky at a restaurant? Or perhaps you want to entertain guests and don’t know which whisky to bring out with dessert. Whatever the scenario is, you’ve probably wondered at some point in time what to eat with whisky.
As it turns out, seafood, meat, cheese, and chocolates/desserts tend to be some of the best foods to pair with Scotch and other whiskies. From light bodied to full bodied drams, our above recommendations are sure to take your meal with whisky to the next level. Try out these combinations today to see how well they go together!