French Enlightenment writer Voltaire once said, “Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” And never has a truer word been spoken!
While drinking Whisky may not be especially essential to survival, it is definitely a great pleasure, and enjoying food with it makes that pleasure all the better.
There are many different courses out there that allow you to experience Whisky with different food pairings.
This is also an option at many distilleries where certain tours offer the chance to sample a selection of drams alongside some tasty treats!
Here we look at some common and not so common food and Whisky pairings so next time you sit down to eat you can enjoy a nice dram with it!
This is a common pairing that a lot of distilleries centre tours around and can really help to bring out some of the bolder flavours of a dram. If you’re going to do this choose your Whisky first, then try and find a chocolate with flavour that complement the profile of that Whisky. For example, if you’re going for a rich and peated Whisky than a sweet slightly aromatic chocolate can help to coax out some of the subtler flavours. The key is to not go for every day chocolate, go for something a bit out of the box and see where the flavours take you! You might just discover something new about an old favourite!
Cheese is an incredibly versatile food and goes with so many different things already it makes sense that it goes with Whisky. And like Whisky, cheese is matured as well, so they at least have that in common! Like when choosing chocolate and Whisky pairings, the key here is to find a cheese that is going to bring out the flavours of the dram. Try to go by food that your cheese of choice is already paired with. For example, creamy Feta is often paired with things like olives or honey, so go for a Whisky that has hints of these, with an oily mouth feel. Another great example is a simple Chedder. This is usually paired with spicy chutneys or sweet grapes, so this would go well with a sherried dram that is rich with spice and fruity sweetness.
Bacon. Everyone loves bacon. Actually I don’t really but that’s a story for another time! bacon is another extremely versatile food and goes with many different things. The best Whisky to pair with bacon is a something where the wisps of smoke can be felt and tasted and smelt all at once. This is especially good when the bacon is smoked as well, and the flavours just combine so wonderfully. A smoky seaside dram with a hint of salt would be great too, with the tang of the salt complementing the meat in perfect harmony.
While I may not be keen on bacon I definitely love salmon. This delicate fish is rich in flavour, especially when bought fresh. It has a slightly aromatic taste to it and goes well with citrus and creamy flavours. This is perhaps best paired with floral Whiskies, where the slightly earthy notes go hand in hand with the fragrant and subtler notes of the salmon. Peppery Whiskies are also great with salmon, with the delicate spice making a mouth-watering combination with the fish.
Haggis had to be included simply for the fact that it is 100% Scottish and goes down beautifully with a hearty dram. Haggis and Scotch is nothing new either, this is a pretty common combination, but no Whisky and foodpairing list would be complete without it. Haggis is a Scottish national treasure so it only makes sense that it be paired with another Scottish national treasure. While any Whisky really goes with haggis, it is peated and slightly salty drams that really do it justice. The smoke of the peat with the tang of salt work together they bring out a richness in the meat. It really is no wonder these things are so highly thought of in Scotland, considering just how impressive they are alone and together!