A GUIDE TO FOOD & WHISKY PAIRING
As whisky makes its way into more and more people’s regular roster of spirits and as interest in it grows, we team up Walid Merhi, co-owner of Ferdinand Bar, to create a short, comprehensive guide on how to pair this versatile drink with the appropriate foods.
Is whisky pairing a thing?
Yes, it is. It’s a normal practice that is becoming more and more commercial. “I would argue that it has even more depth than wine,” says Merhi, “nowadays, whisky is becoming more popular than wine; and alcohol in general is very complementary to food.”
How did it come to be?
Pairing food with whisky adds a unique level to both the food and the whisky. It gives the spirit a unique flavor and highlights a specific note in it.
When pairing whisky with food, here are some cardinal rules to always keep in mind:
- Never pair whisky with sour or tart foods.
- Anything with some fat works best.
- Dry fruits with a pungent food (such as caviar or blue cheese) are a good combination work well.
- The stronger the whisky, the weaker the food should be. That being said, when drinking a lower-intensity whisky, one should make sure not to eat foods that will overpower the spirit.
- The food and the whisky should always complement each other.
Here are some of the many ways to pair whisky with food:
- Single malts with weaker-intensity foods.
- Blended whisky works best with sweet fruits (apples, jujube, quince, etc) or salty nuts. “I once went to a tasting and discovered cherries are actually a very good pairing option with whisky.”
- Peated whisky with raw seafood. The smokiness of the peated whisky compliments the seafood very well.
- Whisky aged in white wine casks with fruit
- Whisky aged in red wine casks (ex. cherry wood casks) with dark chocolate (high concentration of cocoa)