Whisky Pairing – a guide to complement whisky and food

whisky pairing

Whisky Pairing – a guide to complement whisky and food

Certainly, the idea of pairing whisky with food it is uncommon for the most of us, and even can sound a little bit strange and weird. In the western cultures it is usual to pair your meal with a glass of wine. But in Asia, actually, has been common for many years to pair your evening dish with a strong ardent beverage.


We believe Whisky must be consumed in the way that it is most pleasurable to you, but think about it – pairing whisky with food is essentially a new opportunity to explore new flavours that can only be open to your palate when you pair the right food.


Although some people are not keen on trying strong beverages with food, since it can hide the dish’s flavours, there are some harmonies that can bring to life the flavour of food or, most important, the flavour and aroma of your whisky.

Pairing Whisky and Food

Whisky have historically arisen in Scotland but is not a habit of Scottish folks to consume this spirit with a meal. There are some exceptions, such as the combination of Haggis, the traditional Scottish dish made of sheep meat, oatmeal, onions, salt and spices.

whisky paired with haggis
Haggis with Whisky (image credits from Visit Scotland)


Pairing whisky with food it’s not as straight as pairing wine with food, so here are a few tips to help you find the balance.


  1. Dishes cooked with a lot of fat go well with whisky, since the fat helps create a coat in your mouth when you sip your whisky those flavours will be released more quickly;
  1. Dishes with a lot of herbs like mint, tarragon, thyme or basil specially when it has some oil (like olive oil) usually combine well with some specific malts and when you combine your whisky with these aromas there will be an explosion of flavour in your mouth;
  1. The same thing happens when pairing whisky with food flavored with spices, such as black pepper kingdom, ginger or cinnamon;
  1. Seafood also can marry exceptionally well with whisky, especially with those who have a sweeter and light malt with notes of vanilla received on aging in barrels of bourbon;
  1. Citrus fruits, more acidic, pair in a very interesting way with smoky whiskies, for example of Islay region;
  1. Any food very very spicy or garlicky are a big no no – the alcohol enhances the heat of the spice, so you need to be very careful, and in general these condiments affect your palate and therefor the aromas and flavours of your whisky
whisky pairing with food
image credits from Luxury Insider

In general, remember to complement the flavours of your dish with the notes and aromas of your whisky, and not necessarily match the flavours, for example, if you are eating a dessert with vanilla, may not be wise to pair it with a whisky with the same aroma, since the whisky will always be stronger and therefor will overlap the vanilla dessert.


whisky pairing with dessert
image credits from Fine Dining Lovers


Since whisky has a high alcohol content always drink in moderation.


Have you ever tried whisky with your evening meal?  Are you open to try it? Tell us everything.



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