You heard about snacks when tasting whisky. Now is the time to know more about the best food to go with whisky. Discover everything in the paragraphs below!
When we think of the whiskies of popular ken, we imagine it drunk slowly at the low light of a dwindling wedding celebration, a fresh bottle of Macallan opened to celebrate the closing of an expensive deal, or the cradled sip of a cold Scotsman overlooking his neighboring loch. We do not really think of it going with food.
This is partly due to the strong, often overwhelming, flavour profile offered by the spirit. Beers and wines often background themselves, making for easy drinking alongside most meals (sometimes so much so that they become popular ingredients in the meal itself!).
On the contrary, you never really hear of whisky being used in the same way other drinks are to create white wine sauces, red wine reductions, beer chili or a lager-based fish fry batter.
When whisky presents itself to your palate, it has a punjent character. Strong peats, smokiness and malted barleys do not tend to meld with a lot of flavours and it can, indeed, overpower them.
What about snacks that work better in a whisky tasting? Discover them all, in this article: https://www.whiskyflavour.com/blog/snacks-with-whiskey/
Similarly, drinking whisky alongside the wrong flavours can often ruin how your tastebuds receive this beautiful golden-brown nectar. Certain citrus and/ or vinegary flavours can really pierce and muddy the smoke and peat of whiskies.
Perhaps one reason behind this is Scotland’s history regarding whisky and food. Before this spirit became a global signifier of class sophistication, whisky was often enjoyed as warming food accompaniment bythe working class in the Lowlands areas. This juxtaposed the ruling financial classes of Scotland, who would typically tuck into fine dinners with glasses of rum or claret.
This is proof that there is specific food to go with whisky. In fact, the distinctive flavours and powerful tasting notes can merge with certain flavours on a plate and produce some incredible combinations. If you want to avoid any of those potentially scary eventualities and find out how exactly to enjoy your whisky with food, then read on as we break it down comprehensively in this article.
How to pair food with whisky?
Whisky contains a multitude of differences! In order to know what’s the best food to go with whisky, you have to know what is the proper way to pair them.
A light Chivas Regal blend matured in bourbon casks is going to have a totally set of tasting notes than the smokey, peaty envelop of a Talisker.
You would not pair some ingredients together when composing a dish and its garnishes. For example, as a squeeze of lemon would NEVER grace the top of a carbonara, it is quite the same with a good whisky.
In the next section, we will break down the key differences in classic whisky tastes, and what types of flavours in different foodstuffs that might match with well.
Before we do this, one key aspect to note first is exactly what you are meant to be matching.
It cannot be stressed enough that you are not trying to match flavour profiles directly to one another. While it might seem that a beautiful, smoky Lagavulin might be a perfect companion to a smoked Loch Loman salmon, nothing could be further from the truth! As we have established: whisky is powerful. A deep, smoky whisky will easily overpower the nuanced, delicate smoke of the smoke-cured salmon.
So, what you need to find the best food to go with whisky with dishes that associate well with certain flavours. For example, a whisky with fruitier, apple notes will pair fantastically with a piece of beautifully soft Char Siu pork.
These following lists are the kinds of flavours we recommend pairing with tasting notes of whisky.
The best food to go with whisky
With lighter, bourbon cask aged whiskies like Chivas Regal, Glenfiddich and Aberlour you could serve:
- Rich and decadent salads;
- Shellfish and other fish products;
- Lightly prepared poultry – the same sort of dishes you would serve white wine together.
A more balanced whisky with a medium flavour profile, like Balvenie, Glenmorangie and Laphroaig will have a distinct, tannic flavor profile. For drams like this you should consider the following for pairing:
- Red meats like beef and venison;
- Fatty cuts of steak with creamy, buttery sauces;
- Rich sauces;
- Matured (possibly smoked) cheeses;
- Raisins and dates;
For peaty, smoky drams like Bowmore or Highland Park, we recommend:
- Rich, fatty, soft slow cooked meats;
- The distinctive and devilishly fishy taste of oysters,
- Blue cheese and some (lighter) citrus fruits;
- NEVER with smoked foods.
What did you thought about our suggestions of food to go with whisky? If you have any other idea, tell us in the comments!