The Best Foods to Eat With Whiskey
The latest statistics show sales of distilled spirits rose for nine straight years through 2018. Spirits now own a little over 37% of the total alcohol market.
Asians and Europeans never thought twice about pairing food with whiskey. Americans, until recently, drank their whiskey sans food. If you think beer and wine are the only beverages of choice when it comes to apps and dinner, think again. Whiskey pairs well with all kinds of foods.
Are you wondering what foods pair well with whiskey? Keep reading for a list of what to eat with whiskey for a taste sensation:
Different whiskeys have different styles. Most whiskeys fall into one of four categories:
- Strong and peaty
- Rich and full-bodied whiskey, aged in European oak or sherry casks
- Medium-bodied whiskey with a hint of peat
- Light and fragrant with a hint of sweetness
Understanding the different styles helps when deciding what to eat with whiskey.
What to eat with whiskey
When determining what to eat with whiskey, start with the type of whiskey you prefer. Think about either complementing or contrasting flavors.
Don’t forget to serve your whiskey in the perfect glass! You can find a good serving glass among these products.
The food part is simple. Fruity, nutty, smoky and more. Bourbon is complex with one bourbon hosting an array of flavors. When pairing foods with bourbon, keep to one or two factors.
For instance, complementing foods and whiskey meld into each other. Your tastebuds won’t know where the whiskey leaves off and the food begins. Contrasting flavors create new and unexpected experiences in your mouth.
Do you have a sweet bourbon boasting flavors of chocolate, honey, cherries and blackberries? Try complementing it with a bar of chocolate or bowl of mixed berries. You could also pair it with a more complex fruit tart or a chocolate mousse or torte.
What would a contrasting pairing look like for a sweet bourbon? Try an aged cheese or southern fried chicken.
What is the proof?
The proof is the percentage of alcohol in the whiskey. Is the whiskey 40%-46% alcohol by volume (ABV)? That is a lower proof whiskey. Lower proof whiskeys pair well with foods that are delicate such as vegetables and seafood. They also pair well with cheese, desserts and other lightly cooked foods.
If you love a higher proof whiskey in the 47%-55% ABV range, go with bolder foods. You need flavorful, robust foods that stand up to the higher alcohol content.
Great food and whiskey pairings
Here are some good starting points for pairing whiskey and food:
Do you have the best apple pie recipe ever? You should know that a light fragrant whiskey with a hint of sweetness pairs well with apple pie. It also pairs well with other apple flavors, such as apple crumble. An American bourbon or whiskey with a high rye content and hints of caramel are the perfect accompaniment to apple desserts.
The perfect meatloaf
You make an amazing meatloaf and you need the perfect complimentary beverage to go with it. A full-bodied, peaty whiskey is your answer. A full-bodied whiskey has a high alcohol content and spicy flavor that complements a rich dish like meatloaf.
Rich smoked salmon
You can’t go wrong pairing smoked salmon with a whiskey that has a high rye content. The whiskey has a fruity taste that complements the salmon well. These whiskeys fall into the light fragrant category.
Who doesn’t love cheese? There are so many different types. Cheese and whiskey have many commonalities. Cheese, like whiskey, is aged with so many types and styles from which to choose. Do you love strong blue cheese? Try it with a spicy whiskey. What about the classic aged cheddar? It pairs well with a strong, smoky whiskey. Do you love goat cheese or a soft brie or camembert? Bring out the light fragrant whiskey with a hint of sweetness. If you love cheese and whiskey, you will love them together.
Is your mouth watering yet? Who doesn’t enjoy a steak grilled to perfection? Try a medium-body rich whiskey alongside your steak. The deep smoky, peaty flavor pairs well with grilled steak. Beware of adding too many flavors to the steak and keep it simple.
For the fruit and nut lover
Are you serving a dried fruit and nut platter? Dried fruit and nuts pair well with whiskey. Do pay attention to the type of fruit and nuts when pairing with whiskey. Are you serving sweet nuts? Go with a strong peaty whiskey. Heavy roasted nuts pair best with a smoky whiskey. Use a sweet fragrant whiskey if your nuts trend toward bitterness.
Dark chocolate goodness
Are you a dark chocolate lover? You aren’t alone! The good news is dark chocolate is a great complement to whiskey. Avoid sugary milk chocolate and opt for a high-quality dark variety. Plain dark chocolate pairs well with a strong whiskey. Do you like a hint of ginger or chili in your chocolate? Try it with a rye whiskey. How about a single-malt scotch whiskey with a bar of salted-hazelnut dark chocolate? Scotch has citrus notes that pair well with dark orange-flavored chocolate. Experiment and have fun. You are sure to find some unexpected pairings you will love.
Have fun pairing food and whiskey
Now you know the basics of what to eat with whiskey. Experiment on your own and have fun. Remember the four basic characteristics of whiskey and you can’t go wrong. From the light fragrant whiskeys to the strong and peaty, there are endless flavor combinations.
Make sure you complement or contrast. Heavy whiskeys pair well with bold food. Desserts are great with light fragrant whiskeys.
Once you get the hang of pairing food with whiskey, you will wonder why you weren’t drinking your favorite spirit with food before.